Archive centreWhitehaven
ReferenceYDS 28
Alternative ref.DS 5939, DS 2011116
TitleIngwell School, Moor Row
Date1953-1987
ContextIngwell School opened in September 1953 as a residential school for boys aged 10-16 with learning difficulties. From January 1975 girls were also admitted. The school was closed in July 1987, in accordance with a policy of integrating children with special educational needs into mainstream local schools. Ingwell opened with 16 pupils, rising to 42 by the time of its official opening ceremony on 26 June 1954. Its original capacity was 41 boys but it was subsequently extended to accommodate 57 boys.

Ingwell School was a country mansion house (built prior to 1826) in 39 acres of wooded grounds (formerly part of a more extensive estate belonging to the Ballantine Dykes family and from about 1866 the Lindow family) purchased by Cumberland County Council in February 1948 for £5000, for conversion into this residential school. Pending this work, the building was used 1948-9 as temporary premises for children from Moor Row School and Montreal School, Cleator Moor, which had been damaged by mine subsidence.

The creation of the school (according to the official opening brochure) from the belief "that there is a very definite place in our educational system for special schools which will both relieve the ordinary school of the drag of the backward child and provide the child with a concentrate of individual teaching and teaching in small groups which is impossible as a regular thing in the ordinary school". The purpose was optimistic: "Emphatically it is not an institution for children who are more or less ineducable or a place to which troublesome children are relegated. It is an extension of the progress class, found in a number of schools in Cumberland where … a child of this kind may complete the learning process to the fullness of his abilities and be able to leave school with a good chance of holding down a job of work".

By the mid-1980s the educational policy of Cumbria County Council had changed to one of integrating children with special educational needs into ordinary local schools, and consequently Ingwell was closed in July 1987.
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