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For the next four years we will

  • Ensure children and young people have the best possible start in life, good health and emotional wellbeing
  • Promote high standards in all schools and help to address any areas of weakness
  • Continue to close the attainment gap for vulnerable groups and ensure children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities achieve the best possible outcomes
  • Make sure there are more apprenticeships and better access to employment and learning, including digital skills
  • Improve children and young people’s mental health including strengthening support for those at risk of emotional or mental health problems
  • Understand and support children and young people where their mental health is suffering including strengthening support for those at risk of emotional or mental health problems

Are you in?

We want to hear your thoughts on how we can work together to make Devon the best place to grow up, live well and prosper

See what our focus will be for the next year
View our annual plan for 2022 – 2023

The best outcomes for children in Devon

We want every child in Devon to have the best outcomes, to live an independent and healthy life and to achieve their full potential.

High-quality education leading to good educational attainment is important for every child and young person but some children experience poverty, deprivation or other disadvantages that hinder their life chances.

We want to narrow the gaps in educational attainment by supporting every disadvantaged or vulnerable child as fully as possible.

We have, and always will, prioritised the needs of those who need us most. Our work is delivered through a partnership approach that has supporting children, young people and their families at the heart of what we do as a multi-agency partnership. This is led by the Devon Children’s and Families Partnership. The Partnership’s aim is to make sure that children and families get the right support, in the right place at the right time.

We will relentlessly focus on getting the best outcomes for our most vulnerable children, including those with additional needs, special educational needs, and those living in the most challenging circumstances.

We will do this by supporting families to care well for their children, with local, place-based support and inclusive education.

We adopt a restorative practice approach to families with firm foundations in our shared vision and values. This means that as a service, we support families to find their own solutions, building on their strengths and finding solutions to whatever difficulties they are confronting to be resilient, improve family life and increase opportunities for their children’s life chances.

Our children are the future, and we must invest in that future. That means that all children have access to positive life chances and are supported to fulfil their potential into adulthood, as contributing, committed citizens.

High aspirations and good attainment will also contribute to Devon’s economic future, helping the county to be a place where everyone can share the benefits of greater prosperity.

Why is this a priority?

Around one in eight children live in poverty in Devon, with a large gap between the highest (33.3% in the Forches area, Barnstaple) and lowest (1.1% in Teignmouth Road, Dawlish) rates.

Devon is one of the least socially mobile counties in the United Kingdom, with areas that have seen lower economic growth such as Torridge and North Devon having particularly low levels of social mobility.

Children living in more deprived communities, boys, and pupils with English as a second language are still at risk of achieving poorer educational outcomes.

Research evidence shows that education and health are closely linked. While measures of health are generally good for Devon’s young people, hospital admissions for children and young people are relatively higher for mental health conditions, self-harm and injuries, compared to other areas.

This gap is even wider for vulnerable groups such as disadvantaged and looked after children. Pupils with better health and wellbeing are likely to achieve better academically.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected children and young people?

  • Research by the Prince’s Trust has indicated that more than a third of young people (39%) had abandoned their aspirations during the pandemic and that 41% believed their future goals now seem impossible to achieve, with this rising to half (50%) of those from poorer backgrounds.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a higher prevalence of mental health disorders amongst children and young people.
  • COVID-19 intensified pressures on children’s services – continuing risks and challenges include higher rates of child protection plans and higher rates of children in care.
  • COVID-19 prompted a very significant rise in demand for free school meals, reflecting an increase in poverty for families.
Andrew Leadbetter

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter

Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools

“I know that some families face new or increasing pressures and challenges and that the pandemic has exacerbated this in many cases. This Council is embracing a multi-agency approach through the Devon Children’s and Families Partnership to make sure that families get the right support, in the right place, at the right time.

“I am determined to do all I can to ensure that children in Devon have the best possible start in life and as they grow into young adults have choices and can find routes within their communities to go into training, education, employment and apprenticeships and have fulfilling lives.”


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