Cambian Dilston College


Zahida Hammond

Telephone: 01434 632692

I was raised in the northeast of England and am proud of my local roots. I graduated from the University of the Wolverhampton with a degree in Modern Languages and European Political and Economic History and undertook post graduate studies at Newcastle University to qualify as a Teacher of Spanish/German/French.


I have worked for 24 years in education in a range of settings and have spent most of the last decade successfully serving schools facing a range of improvement challenges after being recruited by the Department for Education funded ‘Talented Leaders’ programme in 2012. I have since had the pleasure of visiting and working with nationally and internationally recognised educational provisions.


I am a mother of three teenagers, an elder son and boy/girl twins. Both of my sons are autistic, my eldest son being in special education, and it is these personal experiences as a mother, combined with my professional experiences, that lead me to apply for the role of Principal at Dilston College. I have significant experience of, and a passion for, improving the life chances of our most vulnerable young people.


I believe that every young person, regardless of background or ability, deserves an outstanding educational experience and a compassionate care provision. It is by feeling valued and being empowered to make choices, have their voices heard and making an active contribution to our community, that young people are supported to lead happy and fulfilling lives.


The vision for Dilston College is one which will be evolved together with staff, students and the community. As a leader I have high expectations, as much for myself as for my teams. I take great personal satisfaction from helping staff in my care to realise and achieve their fullest potential. I provide opportunities for staff to grow professionally and to develop as leaders. I ground all strategic and professional development plans in research and as such believe in the importance of growing together as a learning community in which we observe, develop and share best practice in every aspect of our organisation.


Outside of work, I enjoy a range of interests. I am fortunate to have travelled extensively all over the world and in the last two years have adventured much closer to home in my caravan -  which my children enjoy a bit less than I do! I am passionate about Rugby Union which I played for over 20 years, including representing the North East and North of England. I still enjoy watching local and international games when I can. I have always loved living near the sea and more recently have discovered open water swimming, which is now my go to remedy for just about everything.


I very much look forward to meeting and joining the team at Dilston College and working with Cambian regional staff to shape the next stage of it’s exciting journey to create a joyful home full of enriching life experiences for our young people.



Vice Principal

Elise Young

Telephone: 07711 765756


Head of Education

Clare Murphy

Telephone: 01434 632 692


Head of Care

Carol Brown


Commissioning Manager

Gillian Linfoot

Telephone: 07720 497795


Estates Director / Regional Facilities Manager

Glen Sowerby

Telephone: 07825 108012


Care Lead

Dave Phipps


Education Lead

Naseem Akhtar


Home Manager

Kirsty Davison

Telephone: 07525 632251


Parent Liason Officer

Sheila O'Neill

Telephone: 01425 673222


HR Business Partner

Iwona Rogalska

Telephone: 07513 623259


General Enquiries


Telephone: 0161 507 3723


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Governance Board

Termly Governance Board meetings are held at Cambian Dilston College to ensure that the management of the school is closely scrutinised and held to account in all areas of responsibility.


The agenda comprises of:


✓ Voice of the Child - student feedback


✓ Head Teachers Highlight Report outlining achievements, challenges and progress against school improvement report


✓ Outcomes for Children and Young People - Care


✓ Outcomes for Children and Young People - Education


✓ Outcomes for Children and Young People - Therapy


✓ Commercial Performance


✓ Staffing and Personnel


✓ Estates Report


✓ IT report


The Governance Board contain key individuals from outside and within the school who attend this meeting each term and parental and staff feedback is always welcomed.


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 Testimonial Image

Tansy, our support dog, acts as a form of therapy for students either as part of walks or to fulfil sensory needs.

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