Every child and young person has the right to an effective education. Every local authority has a legal duty to ensure that each child fulfils his or her educational potential and the authority must be a champion for the best interests of the pupil.

They need to listen to the concerns and interests of parents and carers and the  local authorities must monitor the performance of maintained schools in its area and ensure that where improvements are necessary, these are carried out efficiently.

The information in this section is around other aspects of education that you may have to deal with at some point of your child or young persons educational journey such as; transport, admissions, exclusions and Education, Health and Care plans, along with many more things.

To see more information about how Devon are responding to these duties, take a look at the local offer.

SEN Support

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

If you have a child with SEND, you may find that it affects their ability to learn and may have an impact on their:

  • Behaviour or their ability to socialise, meaning they might struggle to make friends
  • Reading and writing, in some cases meaning dyslexia
  • Ability to understand things clearly
  • Concentration levels, in some cases your child may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Physical needs or impairments and are entitled to support within school

Children with SEND are entitled to support within their school to help meet their individual needs. All schools provide planning, teaching and assessment which takes into account the wide range of abilities and interests of their children.

Most children’s needs will be met by the support from their school, whilst other children may need more specific support.

To find out how your child’s school supports pupils with SEND, look at the school website or contact the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) at the school.

In September 2014, changes were made to the Children and Families Act. A single category called “SEN Support” replaced School Action and School Action Plus in mainstream schools.

The Code of Practice is statutory guidance for organisations that work with and support children and young people with SEND. By law, a SEND Code of Practice: 0 – 25 must be issued and this guidance must not be ignored.  There is also a Special Educational Needs and Disability Guide for Parents/Carers Code of Practice available.

For more information please look at our leaflet: Special educational needs support in school


The ‘basic’ school curriculum includes the ‘national curriculum’, as well as religious education and sex education. The national curriculum is a set of subjects and standards used by primary and secondary schools so that all children learn the same things. It covers what subjects are taught and the attainment targets that children should reach in each subject at each age. Other types of school like academies and private schools don’t have to follow the national curriculum. Academies must teach a broad and balanced curriculum including English, maths and science as well as religious education. The national curriculum is organised into blocks of years called ‘key stages’ (KS). At the end of each key stage, your child’s teacher will formally assess their performance to measure your child’s progress.

Age Year group Key stage (KS)
3 to 4 Early Years (EY)
4 to 5 reception EY
5 to 6 Yr1 KS1
6 to 7 Yr 2 KS1
7 to 8 Yr 3 KS2
8 to 9 Yr 4 KS2
9 to 10 Yr 5 KS2
10 to 11 Yr 6 KS2
11 to 12 Yr 7 KS3
12 to 13 Yr 8 KS3
13 to 14 Yr 9 KS3
14 to 15 Yr 10 KS 4
15 to 16 Yr 11 KS4



Pupils of compulsory school age are entitled to free school transport if they live beyond the statutory walking distance and attend the school designated by the County Council to serve the child’s home address. Free school transport is not an automatic entitlement for children who attend special schools or have SEND. The normal entitlement criteria would still apply. In some cases, where transport is provided for children with special needs, the type of transport will be in line with the recommendations made by the professionals involved in placing the child. Transport will also be provided (where requested) if pupils are registered at a school that is not the designated school but which is the nearest to their home. In this case, the school must be beyond the walking distance and suited to the age, ability and aptitude of the child. Parents must arrange for their children to travel in safety between their home and the transport picking-up and setting-down points. Parents are also responsible for their children while they are waiting for transport and when they leave the transport at the end of the day.

For more information, take a look at the brief guide to Devon’s school transport system for children with SEND


Exclusion from school means that a pupil is not allowed in school for disciplinary reasons. The exclusion can be either a temporary fixed period exclusion or a permanent exclusion. Either way, a child being excluded from school can be both stressful and emotional for the parents, as well as for the child. Only a head teacher (or deputy head if the head teacher is off site) can exclude a child. If your child is excluded, it is important that you have the right information and support and that you ask the right questions about options for the future.   Exclusions can take the form of;

  • Fixed term (an exclusion for a set number of days)
  • Permanent (your child is asked not to return to school)
  • Unofficial (an illegal exclusion without an exclusion letter)
  • Lunchtime (an exclusion for a set number of lunchtimes – these should be recorded as half day exclusions)

For more information see our leaflet – excluded or at risk of exclusion from school

A pupil may be excluded from school for one short period of time, several fixed periods (up to a maximum of 45 school days in a single academic year), or permanently. A fixed period exclusion does not have to be for a continuous period. In exceptional cases, usually where further evidence has come to light, a fixed period exclusion may be extended or converted to a permanent exclusion.

You can find out more about exclusion from Devon’s education inclusion service and the Government guidance on exclusion.


Any admission to a mainstream school, whether your child has SEND or not, will go through the normal route via the local authority in which you live. If you live in Devon then you need to contact The Devon Admissions Online service.

If you live outside of Devon or are moving away from Devon you can find the contact details of other local authorities by looking on the Government Find a Local Council site.

. If you are looking at special schools or settings then you may need to seek further advice and support from the school admissions team

For more information around the schools admission code set out by the Government please look at their publication

Performance P Scales

Pscales‘ are used to assess the progress of children aged 5-14 who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and whose abilities do not yet reach Level 1 of the National Curriculum. P scales use eight levels, P1 to P8. They can be used in primary, secondary and special schools for children who may or may not have a statutory plan of SEND. The P scales breakdown the important skills, knowledge and understanding that a child needs before moving onto the national curriculum levels, into small achievable steps. There are statutory P scales in KS1, 2 and 3 for;

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Science

However, there are also P scale descriptors for all areas of the curriculum. In KS 4, P scales can be used as non-statutory guidance P scales and Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) If a child has special educational needs and their EYFS attainment has not reached the desired targets at the end of this stage, the school may wish to continue with an early years curriculum to support the child’s learning and development. In this case, the EYFS profile, rather than P scales, should be used for assessment, as it may be suitable in year 1 for a small number of children. If schools choose to assess children using P scales towards the end of year 1, teachers should base such judgements on a review of evidence gathered from everyday teaching and learning. Professional judgment should be used to decide which P scale descriptor best fits a child’s performance.

EHC plans

An EHC plan is an Education, Health and Care plan, a single action plan that incorporates a child’s education, health and care needs

From September 2014, EHC plans replaced the previous provision plans for children with SEND, known as Statements. Any requests for statutory assessment will now be actioned under the new legal framework.

For information on how Devon is responding to the New Laws visit the local offer page

Transfer from Statement to EHC plan

In September 2014, the Children and Families Act 2014 came into force. 

The Act sets out a new SEND Code of Practice: 0-25 years, in relation to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) from 0 to 25 years.

One of the biggest changes is that Education, Health and Care plans (EHC) will replace Statements of SEND and Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDAs) by 2018.

For more information see our leaflet and fact sheets

Education Health and Care (EHC) Statutory Assessments and Plans 

Transfer Reviews – from Statements to EHCP

Coming to an agreement

When other people are involved in the process of making decisions about the future of your child, there may be times that you might disagree with some of the decisions or be unhappy about some of the choices that have been made on your child’s behalf. The first step to resolving any disagreement is to talk to the other party, explain your concerns and see if you can come to an agreement that suits you better. If after a meeting, your concerns have not been resolved, you may want to consider other ways forward to resolve the situation. Methods include disagreement resolution, mediation, an appeal to the SEND tribunal or a complaint.

For more information see our factsheetWhat if we can’t agree

The SEND Code of Practice 0-25 outlines more details and guidance around all areas of disagreement resolution

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