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Ferndene - Stephenson Medium Secure Unit (MSU)

'Members of the education team are highly skilled at adapting to particular needs' - Ofsted  

 'Pupils behave exceptionally well' - Ofsted

Ferndene Stephenson Medium Secutre Unit (MSU) is a national adolescent medium secure psychiatric unit which provides inpatient services to young people aged 12-18. All patients are detained under the Mental Health Act. However, some of the young people are transferred for assessment and treatment from the criminal justice system, with the rest detained under the ‘civil section’ of the Mental Health Act.  

There are two operational wards in the clinic: Lennox and Ashby, with the Lennox ward accommodating for young people with a diagnosed learning disability.  


The young people have a wide range of mental health issues which may include psychosis, paranoid schizophrenia, psychopathic disorder, personality disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. They may also have been involved in the judicial system. 

Many young people have significant gaps in their learning due to poor school attendance. The pupil’s age, ability, aptitude, educational history, motivation, and mental state all combine to form a wide spectrum of educational needs and requirements. 

Most of the young people who are in Ferndene Stephenson MSU have a Statement of Educational Needs or an EHCP. All young people have regular Care, Treatment, and Education Reviews from NHS England. 


Ferndene Stephenson MSU provide the highest level of security for adolescent mental health patients in the country. Security and the safety of staff and young people is the highest priority. Each teacher is responsible for the security within their teaching room.  

Pupils can be taught individually, in small groups on the ward, or in specially resourced classrooms according to their need. Curriculum areas such as Horticulture, Design & Technology, and Food Technology are risk assessed and not all students will have access to them. Pupils will normally begin to gain access after their initial assessment period. In these high risk environments, there are extra security protocols that must be adhered to. These protocols are communicated by the Department Education Coordinator as part of the site induction. 

The Team 

The teaching team at Ferndene Stephenson MSU are part of a multi-disciplinary team who contribute to and receive shared information which includes psychology assessments, speech and language assessments/reports, and the communication passports which inform how we can best work with the young people to help them to achieve educational outcomes.  

From the information gathered at the weekly Clinical Team Meeting (CTM), we collate a weekly patient risk status sheet. This highlights for each pupil the subjects and areas they have access to and what their nursing staff ratios and observations are. 


  • Marie Robson, Department Education Co-ordinator
  • Helen McGowan, Deputy Headteacher
  • Kevin Stafford, Headteacher

01661 838443

Ferndene, Moor Road, Prudhoe, Northumberland NE42 5PB