The Alnwood Clinic 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. Lennox ward caters for young people with a Learning Disability.  


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

Many young people have significant gaps in their learning due to poor school attendanceThe pupils 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 Alnwood, have a Statement of Educational Needs or an EHCP. Lennox ward accommodates young people who have a diagnosed Learning Disability. All young people have regular Care, Treatment and Education Reviews from NHS England. 


The Alnwood Clinic along with five sister units 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 of priorities. Each teacher is responsible for the security within their teaching room.  

Pupil’s can be taught individually or in small groups on the ward or in specially resourced classrooms according to 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 Alnwood 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. 


  • Nichola Edmiston, Department Education Coordinator  
  • Helen McGowan, Assistant Head Teacher
  • Kevin Stafford, Head of School  

Tel: 0191 2466897 


St Nicholas Hospital
Jubilee Road
Newcastle upon Tyne

Prosper Learning Trust