Visas and Policies

Our Educational Policy

At the Devon School of English, we believe that language is best acquired when it is used meaningfully in situations that you can relate to and enjoy. Our courses aim to respond to your interests, needs and professional or academic contexts and are based on the belief that fluency comes from confidence and pleasure in the language and language learning.

Emphasis is on the practical use of modern English - including its vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. Lessons help you improve and adapt your learning habits along with the skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing.

We believe that your English learning extends beyond the classroom into your time outside of the school which is why we take great care to ensure that the social programme and your stay with local families form an important part of our curriculum and perform a significant role in your language learning.


Educational Policy (information for teachers)

Although our classes generally adhere to a Communicative Approach to learning, teachers have the freedom to adapt the delivery of lessons to suit learners' needs and preferences. In a Communicative Approach, the meaningful exchange and use of English is the primary route to learning, and this is why spoken and written production are the key expressions of a learner's level.

A distinction is made between learning and acquisition of language. For learners, acquisition is the goal and we believe that language and communicative skills are best acquired through use and practice. Acquisition leads to procedural knowledge - that is knowing how to do something. In contrast, declarative knowledge, a knowledge of what something is (for example knowing the name of a tense and aspect), is, in itself, of secondary import but may serve as a step to procedural knowledge. So, for example, the conscious application of rule-governed compositon by learners is a stage in learning and not an end. This point is emphasised to tutors and learners who may equate familiarity with language items or structures as acquisition. So whilst attention is paid to form and grammar, it is the practical use of language which is emphasised in lessons.

The ways to achieve and promote acquisition are reinforced in staff and learner literature (teacher induction, counselling, online information, material in the school, etc) and training (observations and workshops). A strong emphasis is placed on promoting learner autonomy and developing learner habits that will endure. Teachers and students are encouraged to reflect on their own practice and approaches to learning.

If you have any questions about these policies or approaches to language learning, please contact Anthony

Our Language Policy

The English We Teach

In most cases, Devon School lessons refer to British English: British English phonology, British English grammar & lexis and British English spelling. However, we also understand that learners sometimes require an appreciation of alternative terms from North American English or from an international English in which non-native speakers use English as a common language.

We feel the model of British English used in the school is descriptive, natural and dynamic. Where necessary, your teachers will make you aware of the register and effect of non-neutral words and phrases, for example whether they are formal or casual and when and where they can usually be used.

If you have any questions about this policy and the view of language expressed in it, please contact Anthony -

Level & Progress Assessment

Assessing your level

Before you arrive at the Devon School, you should take our placement test online: - the test has 100 questions and you have up to 60 minutes to complete it. On your first morning at the school, you will have a short interview and/or have your spoken production monitored closely in class. This will help us to place you in the correct class for your level.

All students have different strengths and weaknesses. For your classroom level, your ability to use English is the most important factor in selecting your level. For more information about particular levels (see the descriptions below or on page 16 in your Welcome Pack).

Assessing your progress

Your progress is monitored by your class teachers. Teachers make assessments based on your all-round classroom performance and relate this to the level descriptions (see descriptions below or page 16 in your Welcome Pack). In addition, your teachers will set weekly tests to see how much language you are retaining. Your teacher will talk to you about your progress and advise you on ways to improve. When a teacher feels you would benefit from a move to a higher class, they will inform the Director of Studies. Longer stay students are encouraged to take progress tests when they have been at a level for 5 weeks. Remember that you can always discuss your progress with Anthony and arrange a counselling meeting at any time.

Helping you to learn

At all levels, you will study and practise the structure of English and work on widening your vocabulary as well as developing your speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. Pronunciation practice will help you with both your speaking and listening and will be an integral part of your lessons. Your teacher will help you to find the best ways to study and help you become a more independent learner. These new habits will help you to progress and stay motivated long after you leave the school.

The amount of time it takes students to progress to the next level varies from student to student. Students with the following skills and habits usually make the quickest progress:

  • Students who like using English.
  • Students with good study habits.
  • Students with good communicative skills.
  • Students who are good at finding patterns.
  • Students who are good at reading intentions.

For more information about ways to practise and learn, look at pages 18-20 in your Welcome Pack.

Here is some information about our student levels:

False Beginner

You know a few words and phrases and can answer some simple questions about yourself.

You know the letters of the English alphabet and can read and write slowly at a basic level.

At the end of this level you should be able to:

Introduce yourself and give basic information about your home country, your job, your family, your likes and dislikes and your daily routine. Use and understand English in some simple everyday situations for example, ordering food in a café, asking for things in a shop. Read basic instructions and information. Write simple messages. Reading vocabulary: about 400 words.

Elementary (Basic User of English)

You can communicate in some simple everyday situations but your pronunciation may cause problems and it is difficult for you to keep talking. You can understand native speakers if they speak simply and clearly. You can read simple texts but need to use a dictionary when you do. You can write simple sentences.

At the end of this level you should be able to:

Talk about yourself, about your family, your job, your hobbies, your plans etc. Ask other people for information. Talk about your recent news and past experiences. Give simple descriptions of people and places. Say what you can and can’t do. Write simple paragraphs, e-mails, postcards, diary entries, etc. Read graded readers and articles for pleasure with less reliance on your dictionary. Reading vocabulary: about 800 words.

Pre-intermediate (Basic User of English)

You can make yourself understood in everyday situations and talk about simple ideas. You can usually understand key information in announcements and clear native speaker speech. You can read simple texts and pick out key information in written notices and instructions. In your writing, you can link simple sentences together and make more complex sentences.

At the end of this level you should be able to:

Talk about experiences and recent events using the present perfect and past simple. Talk about future plans and predictions. Use first and second conditional sentences. Use English to make suggestions, ask for permission and make polite requests. Write simple formal and informal letters or e-mails and short stories. Understand the main points in short newspaper and magazine articles. Reading vocabulary: about 1200 words.

Intermediate (Independent User of English)

You can cope independently in familiar situations. You can often guess what people mean by understanding key words in an unfamiliar phrase. You can write notes and messages and fill out basic forms and applications. You can understand and follow clearly written instructions.

At the end of this level you should be able to:

Express opinions and argue points related to topics such as the environment, education, work. Express permission and obligation. Ask for and give advice and recommendations. Talk about probability. Combine past tenses to make a narrative. Use the passive voice. Read a range of authentic English, for example, websites, short news and magazine articles. Reading vocabulary: about 1,700 words.

Upper-intermediate (Independent User of English)

You can use language independently and effectively in all familiar situations. You still hesitate and have some difficulties keeping a conversation going, but this does not cause problems with basic communication. When someone speaks to you at normal speed, you can understand all the main points, but you might miss some of the details. You know quite a lot of vocabulary, but need practice using it. In your writing, you can express what you mean if it is not too complicated. You read texts of average difficulty with confidence, but you still use a dictionary quite often.

At the end of this level you should be able to:

Make deductions about the past using must have/can’t have etc. Express regrets. Know whether to use the gerund or infinitive after verbs such as ‘enjoy, stop’ etc. Use and understand a number of phrasal verbs. Write a letter of application and short reports. Understand the general meaning of authentic readings and listenings (for example, newspaper articles and some TV programmes). Reading vocabulary: about 2,300 words.

Advanced (Proficient User of English)

You can communicate confidently in a wide range of situations, but you are less fluent and correct at a higher, more demanding level. However, you now have a wide range of language and effective communication is easily restored. You have no problems listening to moderate level English spoken at normal speed, although at a higher level you may lose some of the detail and subtlety and sometimes have to ask the speaker to clarify what they have said. Your reading speed is good, and although higher level texts can still cause problems, you can follow the general ideas easily. With a piece of high level writing you show a good control of grammar, spelling, punctuation and structure and generally express your ideas clearly.

At the end of this level you should be able to:

Use and understand more colloquial and idiomatic language. Cope with rapid connected speech and produce key native-like features of English phonology. Reading and listening skills will be further developed through the use of a wide range of different authentic texts. You should have a reading vocabulary of at least 3,400 words.

Proficiency (Proficient User of English)

You have an excellent command of English and although your speech is occasionally influenced by your mother tongue, this does not affect communication in any way. You are confident in a wide range of listening situations and you rarely need anything repeated or rephrased. You are able to read a wide variety of texts, understanding almost all of the detail and subtlety. Your written work shows a wide use of language. You express yourself clearly, organise and link ideas effectively and adjust the style to suit the task.

At the end of this level you should be able to:

Use and understand a wide range of natural English spoken at normal speed in a variety of registers. Use a wide range of authentic reading and listening material reflecting the diverse nature of contemporary English. Write coherently and cohesively about a range of subjects in varied registers and genres.

Your teachers will monitor your progress carefully and will make recommendations when they believe you should you move up to higher level classes. If you have any questions about the level of your class and your progress, please speak to Anthony.

Level Descriptions

Our Attendance Policy

Our policy on student attendance has been designed to ensure the best possible progress and classroom conditions for learners and learning. It is important that students participate fully in their course and make the best use of their time at the school.

Being on time for lessons is important both as an act of respect for your teacher and fellow students and to ensure you do not miss important stages of the lesson.

Our full policy on attendance and absence can be read below:

1. As part of the induction process, students are asked to inform the School if they are unable to attend and to give a reason. CAS students will be advised individually of the attendance requirements and sanctions for non-compliance.

2. The DoS or another member of staff check every classroom to check all the students have arrived for class by 09.05, 11.05 and 13.35. Students who are more than 5 minutes late for lessons are not allowed to enter the lesson until the next break.

2.1. The names of missing students are sent to key staff in every department. Accommodation and Welfare call the host family of the absent student to check if they are ill or need assistance. Students under the age of 18 must be accounted for and located as soon as possible.

3. Absences are recorded by the teacher on the class register for each session, 09.00–10.30, 11.00–12.30 and 13.30–15.30 and 15.45–17.45 if applicable.

4. Every Friday, registers are checked and attendance is recorded and where necessary reported to sponsors. Chris Hawthorne or in his absence, Anthony Dolphin, collect registers and enter any CAS student absences into the Class system Student Attendance/Absence module.A Class system attendance report is run every week, checked and filed electronically. This report offers a percentage attendance figure for every student for each session and overall for the week.

5. If any student’s attendance is shown to be below 80% for the period of the report, a further report will be generated for the whole period of the student’s stay to date. If the percentage is still below 80%, the reasons will be reviewed and if no valid or acceptable reasons exist, e.g. sickness or family/employment problems, the following process will be initiated: A meeting will be held with the student to warn him/her that their attendance has fallen to an unacceptable level. A first warning letter (copy attached) will be read and explained to the student and a second meeting arranged for 2 weeks later to review the situation. Note: 80% attendance represents 1 full day per week for a 23 hour course and 1 morning per week for a 15 hour course. 10 consecutive absences, whether measured as 1 session or 1 day, would be picked up by the 80% rule.

5.1. If the student’s attendance has improved by the second meeting, he/she will be congratulated and told that their attendance will continue to be monitored and the improvement must be maintained. If the situation has not improved by the second meeting, a second warning letter will be read and explained to the student and their embassy/agent/family will be notified.

5.2. The third and final stage is to report the student to the relevant authority (formerly UKBA, sponsor, embassy, parent/guardian) and the following options will be considered: you may not receive a certificate or report for the period of below 80% attendance; you may not be able to obtain an academic reference from the school; you may be excluded from the school and your course may be cancelled without refund.

If you have any questions about our policy on attendance and absence, please speak to Chris Hawthorne (Director) or Paul Hawthorne (Managing Director).


You will see notices in the school that summarise our policy:

Attendance and Lateness policy for students

Here at the Devon School of English we believe that attending all your classes and being on time is very important for your own and other students’ studies.


We expect you to attend 100% of all your classes, including morning and afternoon lessons.


We expect you to arrive at School before your class starts. If you are 15 or more minutes late, your teacher may ask you to wait until after the next break before joining the class. This will be recorded in the class register and will be treated as an absence for recording purposes.

What happens if your attendance is poor:

An attendance report is run every week. If your attendance falls below 80%

  • You will be called to a meeting with a Director of Studies and a Director of the School to discuss your attendance.
  • A second meeting will be arranged for 2 weeks later to review the situation.
  • If your attendance has not improved, a warning letter will be issued and your family, agent or sponsor will be informed.
  • No certificate or report will be given for the period of below 80% attendance and ultimately your course may be cancelled without refund.

If your absence is down to family, religious or health issues, these will of course be taken into account.

During activities and excursions, registers are kept by all of the activity leaders and regular counts are conducted. When students have free time on excursions, there are hourly muster point registers. All students are given a student card with a 24-hour emergency telephone number on it. The students are reminded of this number at the beginning of each trip. Students can call this number if they are lost or need help. Students are given town maps for all excursions. Staff to student ratios all meet British Council guidelines and will vary according to the activity. If a student is missing, this is reported to Martin Bladon (activities) or Paul Hawthorne (Principal) and efforts to trace them co-ordinated centrally. The school has contact numbers for all of its students. These are checked on arrival when students complete our In Case Of Emergency Form along with contact numbers for parents, guardians and next of kin in the student's home country.

Our Child Protection Policy

At the Devon School of English we believe the following:

  • That the safety and welfare of every student is paramount.
  • That every student, regardless of age, culture, ability, gender, language, racial origin, religious belief and/or sexual identity has the right to participate in a school’s activities in a safe environment.

We undertake to do everything reasonable in order to protect students from any harm, discrimination and degrading treatment and to respect their rights wishes and feelings.

Any allegations of misconduct or abuse are taken very seriously and we will investigate all such allegations quickly and in an appropriate manner.

All staff members working with children are recruited with regard to their suitability for that responsibility, and are provided with guidance and/or training in good practice and child protecting procedures.

This policy is subject to review by the Directors annually, or whenever changes in legislation dictate.


Paul Hawthorne (Principal)


We monitor each student throughout their stay, by talking to them, checking their feedback questionnaires and communicating with their homestay host and school staff. This helps us check they are ok and happy with all aspects all of the most popular brands of today like in our store. of their stay and that they are getting on with their peers and are adapting to life in Paignton.

All Devon School staff are asked to be vigilant and attentive when looking for signs that a student may be unwell or unhappy. We promote a policy in which any concerns, however minor, are reported to management and dealt with immediately. Each staff meeting includes a section on Student Welfare in which teachers or leaders report on any concerns they have about student welfare. The whereabouts of students are known via measures in our attendance policy and the immediate follow up of absences with a call to the homestay family and notification to a group leader. In the case of unaccompanied junior students being absent due to illness, a member of our accommodation and welfare staff visits the student at their home and ensures any medical appointment or consultation is made.

All staff at the school – Directors, Teachers, Accommodation and Welfare staff, Activity/Transport staff all supervise students whether it be during lessons or during break times, monitoring students and identifying any problems to be acted upon or reported to the designated Welfare Officers. If there is a report or suspicion of abuse (physical, sexual, emotional or neglect), a trained Welfare Officer will talk to the student and record findings on a form. Other staff in the school have been trained to recognise the possible symptoms of abuse.

Sady Boswell is the Student Welfare Officer for our junior students (18 years and under). Students can talk to Sady about any issues or areas of concern but we make sure all students know they can talk to any member of staff, we are always available, approachable and always use discretion. Any issues or concerns related to student welfare are reported and an action plan discussed in our weekly staff meetings.

We make sure hosts are aware of their duties of care via the host family information pack. They know they can call us if they have any concerns which they feel need action. Our emergency contact number is provided to all hosts for queries and issues outside office hours.

Hosts also complete and sign a Children Act disclosure form which gives us permission to have each member of the family aged 18+ checked through Social Services. The main host in the family is asked to provide a DBS check and by 2015 this will be a mandatory requirement.

All staff are DBS checked, so all steps are taken to make sure staff are suitable to work with children.

We work closely with Torbay Council, Private Fostering Development Worker, who monitors all under 16’s who are staying for more than 27 days.

Our Attendance Policy ensures that all staff know and immediately respond to students missing from lessons or activities. Homestay hosts are given clear regular updates on expected home times and curfews.

Welfare and safety information for junior students is delivered via a very clear and visual slideshow presentation at the beginning of their stay. Language is graded and understanding is checked with questions and elicited examples. This information is also available in the students’ Welcome Pack.

The section on bullying for juniors reads:


If someone hits you, threatens you or says nasty things to you, this is bullying. Please report it to a member of staff as soon as possible.

Respect for each other is the most important part of our school. Respect people’s beliefs. Respect people’s countries. Respect people’s differences. We have a zero-tolerance policy against bullying of any kind – physical, verbal, indirect or electronic (cyber bullying). We have a clear anti-bullying policy (displayed in the school) and procedures for dealing with abuse.

If you have any problems or concerns, please speak to a member of staff. If you prefer, you can speak to your Group Leader so they can inform a school Director. Remember it is very important that you report problems as soon as you possible so they can be dealt with quickly.

Teachers and activity leaders are given guidance and support on how to maintain discipline for under 18s. Students are made aware of the school rules in their induction and Welcome Packs. These are reinforced by teachers and activity leaders in class and on activities and excursions.

Safeguarding Policy

The Devon School of English provides English language courses for a wide range of students from the ages of 13 years to over 70. We also organise homestay accommodation for these students (or other accommodation upon request). If requested, we also organise transfers to the school within the UK. The Devon School of English takes its responsibilities towards Safeguarding Under 18s and child protection very seriously.

We have tried to write this policy in plain, simple language, so all adults working with under 18s can understand it. Safeguarding in this document includes everything we do to look after children and make sure they stay safe. Child protection is the protecting of children from abuse and direct harmful behaviour and forms a key part of safeguarding. We have several Designated Safeguarding Persons (DSPs) in the school who can always be approached with concerns (concern = worries about about a particular child/situation or member of staff/situation) and pro-actively look after day-to-day matters. We have two senior managers looking at the overall picture and who deal with major decisions to be made. These two people are called Designated Safeguard Leads (DSLs).

While an under 18 student is with us at the Devon School of English, we will do everything possible to make sure that their stay with us is a safe and happy one. All concerns and allegations raised will be dealt with as soon as possible in a sensitive and caring way. The safety of our under 18 students will always be our key concern.

The policy applies to any child of whatever gender, race, sexual orientation or religion. There will be no discrimination.

All adults working with children in the school must be aware, vigilant and know that they must report any concerns or allegations (an allegation = an accusation of wrongdoing by a student against a member of staff or another student or by a member of staff against another member of staff or a student). Concerns can be reported to any of the DSP's (there are posters up around the school and in Welcome Packs showing to ensure all staff know who these people are) who will then talk with the DSL's. Allegations must be treated with strict confidentiality and referred immediately to one of the two DSL's as there are strict protocols to be followed. If members of staff/homestays are not comfortable/happy with the way the School is dealing with a situation, they should report their concern to the Local MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub) on 01803 208100 or out of hours on 0300 4564876, the NSPCC or the Police on 101 (non urgent calls or 999 (urgent calls).

Other School Policies which form part of our Safeguarding Policy are also set out in separate policies - these include our Child Protection Policy, Anti-Bullying Policy, Attendance Policy and Health & Safety Policy.

This policy will be reviewed annually and approved by the DSLs. The review will take into account all feedback from students and adults working with under 18s in the school.

Roles & responsibilities
Under 18s are briefed in Induction about the importance of staying safe and looking out for each other e.g with regard to bullying, E-safety etc. They are told who to speak to if they have a concern. Adults working with under 18s are explained their importance in the safeguarding process at induction; complete a Level 1 Safeguarding certificate and read the booklet Keeping Children Safe in Education. They are reminded to look out for safeguarding issues as a part of regular meetings. DSP's have had level 2 safeguarding training and are aware of their pro-active role in the school.There are enough DSPs to cover all premises used by the school at all times, cover absences and they are specialised in different areas (see safeguarding personnel poster).

From time to time teachers do safeguarding awareness lessons with students. These heighten awareness and students produce posters, powerpoint presentations and videos to get the message across to future students. Issues students identified included road safety, UK laws regarding alcohol and smoking, e Safety, bullying, stranger danger, local areas to avoid,mobile phones advice, seagull danger, emergency service contact numbers etc. Their work is displayed around the school and used in inductions, Welcome Packs, and online on the school website and Facebook.

Our full Safeguarding Policy is available on the school's website at Relevant and key parts of the policy are included in all Staff Handbooks, Homestay host handbooks and Foreign Group Leader handbooks in clear and simple language.

Code of conduct for staff
It is in everyone's interests to create a climate of trust between Under 18s and adults. A safe school culture forms the basis for everything the school does. For this reason, it is very important that we behave correctly and that our behaviour and actions can never be misinterpreted or taken in the wrong way.

Working with Under 18s you are in a very important position with regard to the students you see on a daily basis.They can be easily influenced or upset and will look to you as a role-model in many cases. For this reason,it is essential that at all times your behaviour around them, language towards them and ideas you present to them are all above reproach. This can never be emphasised enough.

We need to protect not only the under 18s but also the adults working with them. For this reason there are clear guidelines that must be kept to and boundaries that must not be crossed. Staff manuals will have more specific examples of this, but, for instance, physical contacts between adults and under 18s is not usually acceptable except in specific cases.There can be no socialising outside school, exchange of mobile numbers, texting, what's app or Facebook befriending. You must not put yourself in a one-on one situation with an under 18, for example, alone in a classroom or a car. You must of course be positive and give praise where it is due and you must be friendly - but you are not their friends.

Remember students will look to you as a role model. You must gain their respect as a teacher and the way you dress will count a lot towards this. Dress smartly and appropriately at all times. If you are in a residential situation, be very careful about how you are dressed at night time - dressing gowns or underwear would not be acceptable.

Very strict guidelines regarding alcohol, drugs and smoking are set out in our handbooks. Make sure you have read and completely understood these, as breaking these rules will lead rapidly to disciplinary procedures. Approach these subjects with students from an educative point of view, highlighting why these rules exist, and the health and safety issues involved. Do not make light of them or joke about them.

IT & social media: The school has a strict policy about anybody downloading or viewing websites of a pornographic, violent, racist/discriminatory or terrorist nature. The use of websites is monitored and there are barring procedures in place. Students and staff are encouraged to report on anyone breaking these rules on their phones, tablets or laptops. Staff guidelines state there must be no befriending of Under 18s on social networks (e.g. Facebook) and are reminded that their Facebook pages should have suitable privacy settings in place so that students cannot have access to their personal photos, details etc. There should be no texting or similar communication between staff and Under 18s.

Our manuals for Residential staff and Homestay hosts contain precise guidelines for those who live in the same accommodation as under 18s. Environments where particular guidelines are needed such as the bathroom and the bedroom/dormitory are also dealt with in these handbooks.

Transport: Taxi and coach companies used by the school give us written confirmation that they will only use drivers who have been properly DBS checked. Our staff handbooks have specific guidelines relating to staff transporting students by car.

Child protection

All staff are trained to Safeguarding levels 1 and some to levels 2 and 3 and so are aware of what warning signs a child may present if abuse is going on. They know that these cases must be dealt with quickly and sensitively.They know that if there is a concern or allegation they must never do nothing.

Designated safeguarding persons (trained to level 2) are Beth Goodyer (Accommodation & Welfare staff); Chris Hawthorne, Anthony Dolphin and Lilian Belli (Academic staff). On the school number - 01803 559718 or the out-of-hours emergency phone number - 07885 221647, there is always a DSP available for you to speak to 24/7. Paul Hawthorne and Bret Hawthorne are the Designated Safeguarding Leads.

An adult must always respond if they notice something of concern themselves, or are told something of concern by another person (adult or under 18). As an under 18 wishing to talk about a problem is a very sensitive issue it is important that the adult follows the procedure and advice in our handbooks if an Under 18 discloses to them.

There are 4 areas of abuse: Physical, Sexual, Emotional or Neglect. These 4 areas and the symptoms associated with them form the basis of the level 1 Safeguarding certificate that all adults have done and form the main content of the booklet: Keeping Children Safe in Education that all adult staff will have read.

A child telling an adult: The right way to respond to Disclosure from a child has a highlighted page in the Homestay, Staff, and Group Leader handbooks.

The written records concerning allegations of abuse are kept in the Principal's lockable office. Only designated persons have access to them with the permission of the DSL's.

If an adult is accused: Allegations are treated in strictest confidence (the allegation may or may not be true) and must be reported directly to one or other of the DSL's as there is a strict protocol to be followed and the relevant local authorities must be contacted immediately.

If a child is accused: Allegations are treated in strictest confidence (the allegation may or may not be true) and must be reported directly to one or other of the DSL's as there is a strict protocol to be followed and the relevant local authorities might need to be contacted.

Awareness of specific areas (for example, FGM (female genital mutilation)) is covered in the booklet read by all adult staff - Keeping Children Safe in Education (available on this page).


Paul Hawthorne and Bret Hawthorne, the DSLs, are responsible for ensuring that all adults coming into contact with Under 18s have at least Level 1 Safeguarding. They are also responsible for there being sufficient staff trained to Level 2- DSPs to cover all geographic areas/premises of the school and ensuring that there is a DSP available to speak to 24/7.

All adults coming into contact with Under 18s receive a copy of our Safeguarding Policy or are directed to where they can find it on the website at All adults coming into contact with Under 18s are directed to the North Yorkshire website to complete their Level 1 Safeguarding Training and to print off their certifcate on completion. Level 2 training is done in face-to-face sessions with an EnglishUK approved trainer. Level 3 is done by the Local Authority in a whole-day session which can be attended only if the online Level 3 certificate has been obtained first.

Safer Recruitment

The School is committed to a safe-as-possible recruitment policy which applies not only to Devon School Staff,but also to Homestay Hosts, Group Leaders and Outside Agencies.

Prospective adults coming into contact with Under 18s are informed of the School's commitment to Safeguarding as well as the School's ethos that adults working with Under 18s are expected to share in the School's commitment in this field and actively engage in looking after Under 18s safely.

Applicants are informed of the absolute importance we place on safeguarding, and how the safeguarding role is a key part of their job description. The interview contains questions to guage their attitude to working with Under 18s and what safeguarding issues do they anticipate they might come across in the job. They will have a DBS check and will complete Level 1 Safeguarding training online. Permanent staff DBS certificates will be renewed every 3 years. Temporary staff DBS certificates shall not be more than two years old.

Teaching Staff: Applicants are informed that we need to see a full CV with no chronological gaps. We need to see their passport to start a DBS check. As safeguarding is so important, they need to go online and do the Safeguarding Level1 training. They will receive if successful a copy of Keeping Children Safe in Education, which they need to read. We need to make copies of all of their relevant documents - degree, teaching certificates . They are also told that we need to get two references from two recent employers. A single central record of employment is held by the School and reviewed by the DSLs on a regular basis.

Applicants without a DBS will not be allowed to start work unless a DBS check has already been started. Applicants still awaiting the result of their DBS check will exceptionally be allowed to start work on condition that they sign a self-declaration form stating that they no of no reason why they shouldn't be allowed to work with Under 18s and they they are aware that a DBS check is currently being run by the School.They will have no significant "holes" in their CV, their documents and qualifications will have been seen, checked and copied and 2 recent and excellent references will have been obtained. They will not be allowed to work alone with Under 18s until the DBS check comes through. Only one of the DSLs can make the final decision as to if the applicant is to be allowed to start work.

Applicants with a criminal record: The applicant will be asked to bring the DBS certificate by one of the DSLs. They will look at the age of the conviction, its gravity and its relevance to the post applied for and will then make a judgement if employment can commence or not.

In some cases - for example, foreign group leaders or work applicants who have been resident for long periods abroad or when foreign nationals are employed - a DBS check is not possible. In these cases, police checks from the relevant countries will be sought.

Recruitment of homestay hosts: When recruiting homestay hosts we only select homes within our advertised 20 minutes walking distance (25 at peak). The hosts we select agree to treat the student as a member of the household, eating together for breakfast and evening meals, they must agree to accept no more than four students at any one time and to not place more than 2 per bedroom (3 upon special arrangement). We recruit hosts that can provide a bedroom with ample space, natural lighting, hanging facilities and storage space. There must be a suitable desk within the house for study, privacy from the opposite gender and sufficient washing facilities. A weekly linen service is to be agreed to with provision of fresh towels and bedding.

Each homestay completes an application form which is followed up by a visit from the accommodation officer. Oral safeguarding training is provided at an initial visit by a member of staff and are later instructed to complete an online Safeguarding Level 1 certificate*; Id is checked; references are requested and followed up**; a GasSafe certificate valid in the last year must be shown; working smoke alarms on each floor; DBS check valid within 3 years from hosting U18s; a declaration form is signed in compliance to the handbook and agreement to have a Torbay Council Child Services check completed on every member of the household. The Host agrees to a revisit every two years and to provide an up to date Gas Safe annually. *This has only been introduced since June 2015 and we are working towards every family to have completed this by next year. **References have only been introduced since July 2015 for new hosts; existing hosts have extensive feedback for our reference.When recruiting homestay hosts we only select homes within our advertised 20 minutes walking distance (25 at peak). The hosts we select agree to treat the student as a member of the household, eating together for breakfast and evening meals, they must agree to accept no more than four students at any one time and to not place more than 2 per bedroom (3 upon special arrangement). We recruit hosts that can provide a bedroom with ample space, natural lighting, hanging facilities and storage space. There must be a suitable desk within the house for study, privacy from the opposite gender and sufficient washing facilities. A weekly linen service is to be agreed to with provision of fresh towels and bedding.

Whistleblowing policy: There is a separate policy which should be viewed alongside this policy. We recognise that raising concerns about the actions or practcie of a colleague is difficult. However, all staff have a duty of care to raise concerns about the attitude or actions others and need to be aware of how to raise concerns and who to share these with.

Welfare & Implementing safeguarding

Risk assessments are made for throughout the school. Each member of staff who supervise students must read through all the risk assessments and then sign to say they have fully understood. Risk assessments are produced using Cititrainer online by Paul Hawthorne, Martin Bladon, and are anually reviewed. A weekly meeting with activity staff is used to review and provide feedback on the assessments and to make sure no new risks have arisen. Annually, Cititrainer send a representative to meet with Paul Hawthorne to update all aspects of health and safety at the school. Building and fire risk assessments are available to view in the Health & Safety management system folder in the Directors office.

Supervision ratios are decided on according to the Risk Assessment for the specific activity. Generally we follow the guidelines of the DfEE 1998 publication: Health and Safety of Pupils on Educational Visits and then guidelines from English UK, that is, for the 11+ age-group, 1 adult:15 students. This might be lowered to 1:20 if the risk involved is low or raised to 1:10 or 1: 5 if the risk is higher. There will always be enough supervisors on hand to deal with an emergency.

Missing students: All Under 18 Students not in class AM or PM 5 minutes after the start of lessons are reported to the Front Office who follow up the absence immediately. The same happens for the start of activities or departures on excursions. If a student is missing the Activity Manager or assistant Manager is contacted by the DSE activity leader to work with The Foreign group leaders or Reception staff to locate the student. Each students mobile number is on file if provided. A student missing the morning activites would be missing between the homestay and school. Missing afternoon activities would mean missing during lunch or absent from class. Homestay hosts have curfew times for their students and call the Emergency Number if the students fails to come home.

Welfare provision

Homestay Selection and Recruitment - We only use homestays who can fulfil the requirements of the British Council's guidelines. Please see Recruitment of homestays section above.

Enrolment Process and Pre-Arrival Information - Our enrolment form allows students to disclose to us of any medical condition / dietary requirement or special requests for suitable placing in homestay and to notify the relevant staff members, caterers/teachers. An In Case of Emergency form is sent out to the student and they are required to return this before they travel. Pre arrival information provides students of all ages the option of assistance in booking their transfer and support about getting to Paignton. We also send off via email a link to our website where the students can read the school's policies in full and have online access to the Welcome Pack. The Welcome Pack provides vital information regarding the student's welfare and safety whilst studying here along with emergency contact numbers and useful information about homestays and the local amenities.

Arrivals and Departures - Every student regardless of age is met upon their arrival to Paignton by a responsible adult as set out by British Council and is escorted to their departure in the same way.

Post Arrival Welfare Support - On the student's first morning they receive an induction explaining the Welcome Pack in depth and the juniors are provided with a police talk. An orientation walk is also provided on their first day and local ameneties are pointed out. The students receive the Welcome Pack in hard copy and a student card with their homestays and school contact numbers on. Members of the Accommodation and Welfare department are personally introduced and students are encouraged to speak with these staff members should the have any welfare issues. During the student's stay a member of the welfare team visits both buildings every am break and at lunch time to be present for any concerns they may have. In addition to being present an organised meeting takes place once a week for the under 18s enrolled on an adult course.

Absence Checking - Reported twice daily in am and pm and where appropriate in between those times. please see Absence section above. Feedback - Students are asked to complete an initial feedback form which is actioned immediately should any welfare concerns arise , along with a final feedback at the end fo their stay.

Daily Safeguarding Traffic-Light System - As safeguarding issues arise a report is raised for that individual student and filed in either a Red, Amber or Green category. The reports are re-addressed throughout the student's stay and actioned as appropriate. The DSL signs of each report before being filed in the incident folder. Meetings - daily departmental meetings, weekly inter-departmental meetings, group leader and student meetings are all an opportunity for communication of any concerns and welfare issues.

Fire safety

Each building has dedicated fire wardens which is signed on the notice boards. Each week the fire bells are checked in each building for routine checks as well as allowing the student to hear and familiarise themselves with the sound of the bell. Full fire drills are done quarterly. Fire extinguishers are annually serviced and selected staff members have been trained on the use of the extinguishers.

First aid & medical

First aid boxes are at key points in the school buildings and designated first aiders are displayed on signs around the school. Staff have First aid in the work place training, as well as emergency first aid. A first aider will always be present on the activity shift and in each bulding during lesson times.

Behaviour & discipline

All misbehaviour, while on an activity or in class, is brought to the attention of the Directors. The Director concerned will then issue a verbal warning. If the misbehaviour continues a written warning will be sent to the student's parents. Should the student's misbehaviour continue despite the warnings , the student concerned will be sent back to his or her country.

Airport transfers

Full information prior to arrival is sent to individuals and groups informing them of the procedures in the airport as well as all emergency numbers. Designated staff will organise transfers each week, having individual meetings with unaccompanied students about their departure. Unaccompanied status is given to reception on enrolment who will pass this information on to the transfer department. Unaccompanied minors will then be assigned to a member of staff who will be responsible for the student checking in or meeting for their arrival. This name is then passed back to their family / agent to inform the airline. If a student under 18 wishes to travel independently we will always wait for written confirmation from either the family or agent to confirm this at which point we will look at the safest way of transferring them.

Staying safe in England

On arrival, students receive during their induction advice on staying safe in England. They also receive a talk by a Police Officer.This is followed up in Staying Safe in England awareness lessons where students are invited to think about their own experiences living in England and produce posters, videos etc to help future students to the school.


Information and communication technology bring great benefits but also risk. We recognise the need to ensure appropriate, effective and safe use of electronic communications. Access to sites with inappropriate content, on the school computers or via the school's if-fi provision, are blocked and staff and students are warned in their induction about safe online safety and standards of conduct.

Radicalisation & extremism

The School has adopted the guidelines and follows the recommendations of the Home Office's initiative called PREVENT (see separate PREVENT radicalisation policy). PREVENT's aim is to raise awareness of possible radicalisation of students and how best to deal with students with extremist views. More information on PREVENT is available at:

Provision for those more vulnerable: We are usually informed, and we always try to find out, if any Under 18s arriving have any personal/family/behaviour/medical/special (educational) needs issues so staff can be aware of, be sympathetic to and deal effectively with any situations that may arise. One of the School Directors (Bret Hawthorne) is Governor of a Special Needs School and has access to and knowledge of information and advice regarding SEN issues.

Our Health & Safety Policy

We are totally committed to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of all our students and staff at all times. The company is committed to ensuring that it complies with all relevant Health and Safety legislation. Where it is reasonably practicable to do so, the company will strive to go beyond the requirements of legislation.

The company is committed to ongoing monitoring and review processes, so that continual improvement in the management of Health and Safety can be achieved. If you have any concerns about health and safety in the school, please report it to Paul Hawthorne or another member of staff.

Our general intentions are:-

  • To prevent accidents and cases of work-related ill health;
  • To maintain safe and healthy working and learning conditions; and
  • To review and revise this policy at regular intervals.

First aid boxes are kept in both school buildings (see maps in your welcome pack) and in the school minibuses.

The appointed first aiders in the Devon School are: Martin Bladon, Beth Goodyer, Anthony Dolphin, Ruth Maragh and Sabrina Hendry.

All accidents & work related ill-health are recorded in an accident book which is kept at: the Vicarage Reception. Matters pertaining to Health & Safety in the school are discussed each week in all staff meetings and the findings actioned and minuted.

Responsibility for reporting accidents, diseases and dangerous occurrences to the enforcing authority is held by the Managing Director, Paul Hawthorne.

Our Anti-Bullying Policy


What is bullying? – a definition: “Behaviour by an individual or group, usually repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally”.

At the Devon School of English, we firmly believe that the most important basis for a harmonious and enjoyable working or studying relationship is respect – respect for people’s beliefs, respect for the way they choose to live their lives, respect for people’s differences.

We have a zero-tolerance policy against bullying of any kind – physical, verbal, indirect or electronic (cyber bullying). We undertake to:

  • Discuss, monitor and review our anti-bullying policy on a regular basis.
  • Support our staff and hosts to identify and tackle bullying appropriately.
  • Ensure students know that any concerns about bullying will be dealt with sensitively and effectively; that all students feel safe to learn; and that all students abide by our anti-bullying policy.
  • Report back to parents and hosts regarding their concerns about bullying, and to deal promptly with complaints.
  • Learn from anti-bullying good practice elsewhere and use the support of relevant organisations where appropriate.

If you have any concerns or questions please speak to any member of staff in the school.

Procedure for dealing with alleged abuse (including bullying)

  • If any of our students reports an incident of alleged abuse or bullying, the following procedure would apply:
  • Make sure the student knows they did the right thing in telling us about their situation.
  • Investigate where the alleged incident happened and who was involved.
  • Inform the Managing Director of the incident and confirm which members of staff will be dealing with the incident.
  • Talk to the student with two members of staff being present. Listen carefully to what the student has to stay and take them seriously.
  • Let the student know we will treat our discussion with confidentiality but will need to talk to parties concerned in the allegation to stop the problem.
  • All incidents are reported, stating the student name and details, staff members involved, date of report, details of the incident, names of people involved and what action was taken to resolve the situation.
  • Inform the Managing Director of the outcome. In the event of the Managing Director being unavailable another Director will be nominated to take his place.

You will see this notice in the school and in your Welcome Packs:

Everyone has the right to feel safe and enjoy their time at The Devon School of English free from intimidation.

Our school will not tolerate any unkind acts whether they are physical, verbal or emotional. Such behaviour will be regarded as bullying. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the school or out of the school or even online, it is still bullying.

Bullying should always be reported. By reporting all incidents of bullying, we can support each other.

All reports of bullying will be taken seriously. Please tell someone about the problem. You can talk to any member of staff at any time.

Our Complaints Policy

If you have a problem with any part of your stay, the first step is always to discuss the problem with the right person in the school and they will be happy to help you.

  • If you have any problems with your lessons, please speak to your teacher.
  • If you are unhappy with your teacher for any reason, you can talk to Anthony Dolphin in the Office in The Vicarage.
  • If you have any problems with your accommodation or your homestay family, please speak to Beth or Helen in Reception.
  • If you have any problems with the activities, please speak to Gill Knight in the office in The Vicarage.

If you prefer, or the above are not available, you can speak to one of the Directors (Paul, Bret or Chris Hawthorne) in the Directors’ Office in The Vicarage. If you want, a friend or classmate can come with you for support or to help you with your English.

If you have spoken to the right person and you are still unhappy, you are welcome to use our formal complaints procedure. The process is as follows:

1) Ask for a complaints form & envelope from the Reception desk in The Vicarage.

2) Please complete the form as well as you can, and return this to Reception. The form will be given to Paul Hawthorne, the Managing Director of the School, or another Director appointed by him if he is not in the school at that time.

3) The Director will consider your complaint, and contact you as soon as possible to arrange a convenient time for you to talk about your complaint in private to him. Whenever practical, this meeting will be arranged and conducted on the same day as the complaint and always within 48 hours of the complaint.

4) After your meeting, your complaint will be investigated and then discussed with the other School Directors & Principal, and a decision will be made about what action will be taken within 24 hours.

5) A further meeting will be arranged with you in private. In this meeting the decision of the Directors will be presented and explained to you. If you are still unhappy, the way to register the complaint with ENGLISH UK will also be explained. All complaints and decisions are recorded and filed and a written record of formal complaint decsions will be issued to those bringing a formal complaint. If you decide to pursue the complaint with English UK, the school's written description and decision will be available for use in this process.


English UK is the world's leading language teaching association and your guarantee of high quality and good service. Students can appeal to English UK if they are dissatisfied with the way a centre deals with a complaint. See

Our Cancellation Policy

Fees, once paid, are not refundable in part or wholly. Students who are obliged to leave the School for
personal reasons may arrange to transfer the balance of their fees (after deduction for tuition already
received) to another or similar course starting at a later date, subject to the discretion of the Principal.

Cancellation before arrival must be made in writing, either by acknowledged email, fax or express registered letter.
The deposit is not returnable. The balance of the fees will be returned only if written cancellation is received four weeks before the beginning of the course.

Our Discipline & Exclusion Policy

Student behaviour judged by the Directors to be detrimental or harmful to other students, staff or the reputation of the School, will result in the following procedure described below being put into place.

Examples of such behaviour include bullying and intimidation, disruption of classes, acts of verbal or physical aggression, homophobic acts, committing criminal offences or actions resulting in a police caution, racist offences, and illegal involvement with drugs or alcohol.

The procedure is as follows:

1) In the first instance, any misconduct will result in a warning from your teacher or Director of Studies.

2) A second act of misconduct in a warning and interview with the Principal or a Director, and the issuing of a written warning.

3) In the event of any further occurrences, the student will receive a final letter of notice and will be excluded from the School with immediate effect without refund of unused course fees.

In the case of a student under the 18, the parents or guardian will be entirely liable for all costs relating to the early curtailment of the course.

Parents or guardians will be informed by the Principal or a Director automatically at stage 1) above, or at stage 2) at the discretion of the Principal or Director, or accompanying group leader if applicable.

The Principal or Director reserves the right to apply stage 3) immediately according to the severity of the offence.

Our Equal Opportunities Policy

Wheelchair access: Unfortunately, because of the layout and stairs in the school buildings, there is no wheelchair access to the Devon School of English.

Problems with Hearing & Vision: Students with minor hearing loss and mild vision impairment can usually be accommodated but our courses are not suitable for the totally blind or very deaf. If you are unsure about your own suitability for our courses, please contact us and we will advise you as best we can.

Dyslexia: Please let us know if you are dyslexic prior to your arrival. We can then advise your class teachers and make any necessary adjustments to the course materials and provision.

Other Issues: The Devon School is a small, family-run school and we would like to think that we have friendly and supportive staff who can help students with a range of conditions. If you have any condition that may affect your experience in the school or require some extra assistance, please include it in the enrolment form or send an email to We will be happy to advise you on the suitability of our courses and discuss any extra provision you may require. We will assess all requirements on a case by case basis.


The Devon School of English is happy to welcome students from all over the world. Some students will need to apply for visas to be able to study in the UK.

If you are a European Union citizen (EU) or from the European Economic Area you do not need a visa to study in the UK or Ireland. The EEA and EU Members include: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. While Switzerland is not in the EEA, Swiss nationals have the same rights as EEA nationals when entering the UK.

If you are not from one of these countries, we are not permitted to advise you about what visa to apply for so you should contact the British embassies for the very latest information on studying in the UK. Established agents in your area may also be able to give you practical advice.

Visa applications can take a long time, so please make sure you allow time for the process in your region.