Phoenix School

The Phoenix Learning Centre caters for the educational needs of the students currently living as inpatients at the Phoenix Centre.

We work under the umbrella organisation called the Pilgrim Pathways School which includes the schools at the Darwin Centre, the Croft and Addenbrooke’s Hospital. For more information about the Pilgrim Pathways School, please visit their website here

Family day

Family day (every other Wednesday)

Every other Wednesday we hold a ‘Family Day’ at the unit. The family day consists of three parts.

It starts with parents/carers psychological education, which aims to increase parents’ understanding of the illness and how it is treated at the Phoenix.

Following Psycho-education group, all the parents/carers meet for an hour. It is a chance for your parents/carers to share where they feel they are in the admission process and discuss concerns and worries that they may have with other parents/carers in the group. We always try to have a parent of a past patient attend the group, as they are often able to give a realistic and useful insight into the process of supporting a child through admission and beyond.

A young person’s group runs simultaneously alongside the parents’ group. In this group all the young people meet together to discuss similar topics to which your parents/carers discuss. We try to make sure we have a past patient attend the group to offer advice and insight into the struggles of coping with an eating disorder. This is a great opportunity to hear from someone who has ‘been there’, learn about their journey and ask them questions. Finally, there is a joint group, where everyone meets together to discuss the topics and themes that arose in their separate groups. The senior therapists facilitate this group, and the experienced parent/s and ex-patient also come into this group to share their perspectives.

Family therapy

Family therapy is an important part of the assessment and treatment at The Phoenix. Family therapy is a meeting with you, your family and the family therapist.

The aim is to have an opportunity to discuss how they can best support you in learning to manage your illness, and to find ways of making sure that it does not "take over" all other aspects of your life.

You also learn more about the impact of the illness on your family’s life. In family therapy there are also discussions about how you can move forwards and use the skills you learn on the Phoenix at home and how we can support your parents to support you.

Family meals

An important part of our programme is the supported family meals. These happen approximately once a week prior to home leave.

Psychological interventions

We are able to offer the range of therapies that are recommended in the NICE guidelines for eating disorders, including some innovative psychological interventions especially designed for eating disorders and for associated difficulties.

Occupational therapy

You will be assessed by an occupational therapist during the first few weeks of your admission. Occupational therapy focuses on enabling people to participate in meaningful and purposeful activities of daily life. It considers how your current difficulties and health may impact on the things you want to do. 

Patient groups

We offer a number of patient groups throughout the week and these may differ depending on the patient group and the needs at a particular time. Some of these groups involve; relaxation group, community meeting, have your say group. All the groups are part of the treatment programme and everyone is expected to attend. 


During your say, you will have the opportunity to attend a series of meeting, where the team will discuss your care and treatment with you and plans for supporting you to continue recovery in the community. Some of these meetings are:

Care Programme Approach Review Meetings (CPA)
We will hold a CPA or therapeutic assessment in the week after your admission inviting your parents/carers, community team and you to think with us about the admission goals and how we should all go about achieving them. Every 4-6 weeks we hold a Care Programme Approach Review meeting, which you, your parents/carers and the referrers attend.  At these meetings we discuss your progress and plan your treatment for the next month.

Doctors meeting
This is a weekly meeting with one of the doctors to discuss how your week has been and to see if anything medically needs to be changed. You can discuss medication and other health concerns in this meeting.

Clinical team meeting (CTM)
This is a weekly meeting with members of your multidisciplinary team (consultant, psychologist, family therapist, occupational therapist, dietician, nurses, HCAs, school). The purpose is to discuss how the past week has been on the unit and make plans for the week ahead

Key working sessions and the workbook

Key working is time with a member of your care team, during this time you can discuss how things are going on the unit and work through modules from the workbook. The workbook is set out into different modules covering core eating disorder topics, co-morbidities and self-care. Everyone will be expected to complete the core eating disorder modules and then pick other modules which will be helpful for them. The aim of the workbook is to support you to make informed choices about your care and help you to manage your eating disorder and start regaining some of your normal life back.

The Phoenix School

Here at the Phoenix Centre we understand the important role school plays in ensuring that all our young people are able to achieve their potential and keep a future ahead of them.

We want you to be able to keep up with school work and to help you feel that you are continuing to move forward with your education. The Phoenix School is a well-equipped, dedicated resource, with specialist teachers and an experienced teaching assistant on hand to help you re-engage or keep up to date with your studies.

During the week there is school between 10am and 12pm in the morning and between 2pm and 3.15pm in the afternoon (except for Friday afternoons, when there is no school). However, outside these hours, the school room is left unlocked and young people are welcome to use it at anytime for private study. There is no school at the weekend, although you can still use the school room then if you wish to.

The teacher-in-charge of the Phoenix School is responsible for liaising with your home school and ensuring that you have everything you need to keep up with your work. If you have not been to school for a long period or if you do not have a home school, the teacher-in-charge will help you think about your education priorities and support you onto alternative pathways, as appropriate to your situation. The Teacher-In-Charge teaches English and MFL (French, German and Spanish).

In school you will also meet our other specialist teachers – they teach maths, science, English and art. Our teaching team can all offer small-group or one-to-one support and are very experienced in helping students through a range of qualifications, including GCSEs. They also have links with specialist tutors who come into school to help out with A-levels and other subjects if there is a need. 

The team also includes a teaching assistant (TA) who supports the teachers and helps students with individual study and with keeping focused.  We also include regular SMSC and PHSE sessions, which include group discussion on a range of issues or sometimes an invited guest-speaker will join us. Occasional educational trips and visits are also offered, depending on the interests of the students.  In addition, we aim to provide some careers education and offer access to independent advice and guidance through a third-party organization.

Returning to school at the end of an admission can be very daunting for some young people. However, the team will help you manage. They will arrange a school meeting to discuss your individual school needs and help you integrate back into school full time.

Although the school is within the unit and teaching staff liaise regularly with medical staff, we do try to make our school a nurturing and supportive space which is focused on learning and moving forward. We like to keep ourselves as ‘school-like’ as possible – a step aside from hospital each day.

The Phoenix School is part of the Pilgrim PRU, which is a Local Authority (Cambridgeshire County Council) provision. The Pilgrim PRU has been rated ‘outstanding’ by OfSTED in its last two inspection visits (2016 and 2011). Further information about the school and the Pilgrim PRU, (including our school policies), is available at

As a patient

As a patient, relative or carer using our services, sometimes you may need to turn to someone for help, advice, and support. 

Patient Advice and Liaison service  Contact the Trust