St Mary's is a Voluntary Aided school in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lancaster.
It is situated on the West side of Whitehaven, overlooking the Irish Sea, with views to the Isle of Man and the Scottish Galloway coastline to the North and West, and views to Ennerdale in the Western Lake District National Park to the East.
The area served by the school, which coincides with the Roman Catholic Parish of St Mary's Kells, comprises the areas of Kells, Woodhouse, Greenbank and Sandwith.
The essential character of the school is Catholic and the emphasis is firmly placed upon providing a Catholic atmosphere in which the child can grow in the knowledge of his /her faith. The saying of prayers is part and parcel of school life.
The school provision is for a one form entry Primary, catering for the 4 to 11 age range with a separate Nursery class which offers part-time education from the age of 3 years. Children are admitted to the Nursery in the year in which they are 4. The present number on roll is 179, excluding the Nursery, which at present has 25 part-time pupils who come to morning sessions. Afternoon sessions are provided from January to July each year (intakes after Christmas and Easter) for those children who reach their third birthday during the school year. Classes are organised as follows Yr 6, Yr 5, Yr 4, Yr 3, Yr 2, Yr 1 and Foundation Stage (Reception & Nursery).
All Religious Education, is taught through either 'The Way, the Truth and the Life' or other schemes of work which are approved by the Diocese of Lancaster. Rites and assemblies are in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church.