Cumberland School

We believe all pupils can achieve their potential academic and social development through sustained quality care, the right environment to learn, nurturing guidance and specialised support.

“Every parent worries when having to choose a new school for their child, especially when they have been unhappy and struggled at other schools. However, when I visited Cumberland School all this worry was taken away from me. My son has achieved so much in his time here and it is so lovely to see him smile and enjoy school. The staff are brilliant and care so much.”



Cumberland School is an independent, specialist day school in Lancashire providing high quality education for girls and boys aged 11 to 18. The school meets the needs of a diverse group of students with a range of complex learning needs, social and emotional difficulties and challenging behaviours. 

Cumberland has a history of achieving where other schools have failed and realising positive outcomes for some of the most challenging young people.   The basis for our formula of success is the school’s ethos – ‘we will enable each young person to find the courage to rise to every challenge and make a positive change’.  Outstanding teaching, support and a vocational offer that is envied by many schools allow Cumberland to help guide young people to a path of success and the future they deserve.

We believe all pupils can achieve their potential academic and social development through sustained quality care, the right environment to learn, nurturing guidance and specialised support.

Our Awards

Our Aims & Ethos

We are committed to giving our students a creative, caring and innovative learning environment for them to achieve their full potential in their education and developing their social communication.

Cumberland is dedicated to:

  • Providing opportunities for pupils to learn and achieve;
  • Promoting pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development;
  • Preparing young people to progress to their next stage of development, be it education, employment or training, with enthusiasm, motivation and optimism for the future; and
  • Encouraging the development of independent young people equipped with the skills and qualities to make a positive contribution to society.

Cumberland School at a Glance

  1. ADHD, ASC, Asp, SEMH
  2. 11 - 18
  3. Day, 52 Week
  4. Boys & Girls

" 'This school helps you get back on track' is a typical comment from one student."


Below are just some of the key features that pupils can experience at Cumberland School:

  • Small class groups (maximum 8 pupils).
  • Designated School/Home Liaison Officer to enable consistent communication with parents and carers and to support induction for new pupils.
  • In-house Speech and Language Therapist, Person Centred Therapist and Educational Psychologist, supported by the wider Witherslack Group Therapy team, led by Dr Madeleine Portwood.
  • All pupils have a named Tutor Team which establishes a truly supportive team around each child.
  • A purpose built Vocational Centre offering accreditation in Motor Vehicle Engineering and a range of construction qualifications, accredited to run City and Guilds and AQA Unit Award Scheme qualifications.

Our Local Offer

As a parent or carer we understand you will have plenty of questions when considering the best school for your child.

Our local offer attempts to answer many of these, but you can visit the rest of our website to find out more. We will also be happy to answer any questions over the phone or arrange for you and your child to visit the school, so please just get in touch.

View Local Offer

Message from the Head Teacher

Cumberland School provides highly specialised, integrated education and therapeutic support for pupils in the North West of England.

I believe we have an outstanding track record in meeting the needs of young people with complex social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Many of our pupils present with additional co-existing conditions, such as ADHD, ASC, Attachment Disorder, speech and language difficulties and specific learning difficulties. 

We very much adopt a ‘can do’ philosophy. This means that all staff in our school have a passion and conviction that our pupils are able to achieve what their potential suggests, and endeavour to do all in our power, and beyond, to ensure this happens.

We are always optimistic about our pupils’ continual success, progress and achievement. We encourage all pupils to have high aspirations and accept no restriction on what is possible for them. We formulate highly individualised timetables at Key Stage 4 which are designed to help them develop and achieve within their chosen pathway and also to offer them the best opportunities in further education and/or employment in the future.

John Gilfillan

Head Teacher

What we’ve been up to at Cumberland School

Dancing on Ice Star visits Cumberland School

Staff and pupils at Cumberland School recently welcomed Dancing on Ice star Daniel Whiston. The three times winner of the ITV show popped in to deliver a Zumba session as part of National Sports Week. At first there were more than a few pupils ...

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Pupil’s make generous gesture to neighbours

Every year pupils from Cumberland School roll up their sleeves to grow a range of flowers and plants to produce hanging baskets for the school’s neighbours. This year was no different, but to add more colour and texture to the baskets the pupils ...

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