Moving to Devon with a child with SEND


If you’re about to move to Devon and your child has special educational needs, you’ll need to get to know how services and support works across the county. Some will be similar to those in other counties, and others will differ from what you’ve had before.

Below you can find information about Devon’s main services and support, what you need to do if your child has or doesn’t have an EHC plan and the things it can be helpful to do before you move.

What are the main services and support organisations in Devon?

These are the main places where you can find information about SEND services and support.

School admissions

In Devon, state-funded schools (including academies and free schools) admit students under the same school admission arrangements. You can find out more about school admissions on the Devon County Council website.

Special educational support in nurseries, schools and colleges

You can find information about SEND support, services and processes in Devon on the Local Offer website.

Education Health and Care Plans

Education, Health and Care needs assessments are carried out by the Special Education 0-25 team at Devon County Council (the 0-25 team). This service also maintains existing EHC plans and makes sure they are regularly reviewed.

SEND Information Advice and Support Service

DiAS (Devon Information Advice and Support) provides impartial information, advice and support to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and to their parents and carers.

Health Service

Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is the organisation responsible for commissioning and developing healthcare services for people who live in Devon.

Social care

The Disabled Children’s Service provides assessment, support and advice for all children who have a diagnosed disability. The service consists of social workers and community care workers who work across Devon.

What do I need to do if my child has an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan, or is having an EHC needs assessment?

When a child or young person moves to another local authority, the ‘old’ authority must transfer the EHC plan to Devon County Council. This is usually done on the date that you move, if they have had 15 or more days’ notice. When your child’s EHC plan is transferred, Devon County Council becomes responsible for reviewing it and for making sure the special educational support in it is provided.

Within six weeks of the date when your child’s EHC plan is transferred, the 0-25 team in Devon must tell you (or the young person) when they will review it. They can also suggest that a new EHC needs assessment is done if they think it’s needed.

The 0-25 team must review the plan before one of the following deadlines, whichever is the later:

  • within 12 months of the plan being made or being previously reviewed by the old authority, or
  • within three months of the plan being transferred

When you move, if your child is part way through an EHC needs assessment, but hasn’t yet got an EHC plan, the assessment will stop. The 0-25 team in Devon will decide whether to do an assessment. As a parent or carer, you can ask the 0-25 team directly for an EHC needs assessment. They should consider the fact that the old authority was doing an assessment.

What do I need to do if my child doesn’t have an EHC plan?

If your child has been having special educational support in nursery, school or college, but doesn’t have an EHC plan, any new school or college should continue the support. The following will help to make sure your child is well supported and the new school well prepared:

  • Ask your child’s current school for a copy of their school plan. This has information in it about your child’s needs and the support they get. It may help to meet with staff at school before you leave so that you know exactly how your child is supported in class. The ‘old’ school should share information with the ‘new’ school when you move.
  • Make sure you’re organised and have copies of any reports or assessments, plus any other important paperwork. This might include any letter where a diagnosis is written. Keep these together in one place so you can share them easily if needed.
  • When you find a nursery, school or college that you’re interested in, ask to meet with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) and have a look around. Talk about your child’s needs and ask what sort of support they would put in place. Schools aren’t allowed to consider a child’s special educational needs when they decide whether they can offer a place.
  • When you visit possible new schools, have a prepared list of questions to ask. It can help to take someone with you for support – they can take notes and ask questions too.
  • Once you’ve chosen a school, work with them to make a clear plan for starting. This will give your child the best chance of settling into the new school successfully. The plan should focus on the needs of your child and what’s going to work best for them. So, you may decide that they’ll visit the school a few times, gradually spending more time there as they get to know staff and children. Take things at a pace your child can manage and if possible, make sure their support is well planned and ready before they go to school.
  • Arrange regular meetings with the new school to check how things are going.

What should I do now?

If your child or young person has an EHC plan, contact Devon’s Special Education 0-25 team, to tell them about your move. You should also contact them to ask for an EHC needs assessment if your child was having an assessment with your old local authority. You can contact them on 01392 380434 (select option 3) or at specialeducation0-25-mailbox@devon.gov.uk.

To find out what schools may be near to you, and what the process is for applying for places, you can call the Education Helpline on 0845 155 1019, email admissions@devon.gov.uk, or take a look at the schools section of the Local Offer web site. You could also have a look at Ofsted reports for schools in your new area.

Look at the Devon Local Offer website to see what kind of support and services children and young people with SEND can expect to receive in Devon.

Make sure you have copies of all relevant paperwork, assessments, plans and recommendations from your old Local Authority, school/college and any other professional or services that you have been involved. You’ll need to share these with the 0-25 team and/or others when you move.

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Page last updated: October 2019 Page due for review: October 2020