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Find out about our Portage educational home visiting service for children with special educational needs.

About the Portage service

Our Portage service is an educational home visiting service for pre-school children with developmental needs. We aim to improve outcomes for children and families in the borough.

We support the development of young children's play, communication and relationships. We also help their participation in day-to-day life and inclusion in the wider community.

Portage support is based on the principle that parents are the key figures in the development of their child. We aim to help parents to be confident in this role, whatever their child's needs may be.

Who can get Portage support

Portage is given to families who have:

  • a child under three years with a disability or additional needs
  • a child over three years with a disability or additional needs, if they are not in full receipt of 15 hours a week government funded early years’ placement (GFP). This is regardless of status, such as immigration status, living in temporary housing, or in foster care.

How Portage works

While your child is on the waiting list, you will receive a monitoring visit every eight weeks. We will then make a decision on whether our service is relevant for your family.

If Portage is agreed for your child, you will receive a home visit either:

  • weekly: for a block of five sessions, if deemed best supported in this way (for example, your child has been referred at an older age and will be receiving GFP in the next term)
  • fortnightly: if your child does not attend an early years’ provision (EYP)
  • monthly: if your child is under three years and attending an EYP for 15 hours a week

Working with parents and carers, we offer practical help and ideas to support your child's development through play, using a small steps approach.

We embrace the National Portage Association principles.

Targets will be set for your child based on assessment and observations by you and your portage worker. Your child’s progress will be monitored and checklists will be used to record evidence of your child’s development.

Your Portage worker will write a report where necessary. When your service stops, a full portage developmental report will be provided. We may also take a lead role in supporting families who are undergoing an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

Portage offers you:

  • visits to your home
  • twice weekly groups (priority is given to families on the monitoring list, or those who are not in nursery provision but are too old to receive our service)
  • monitoring visits until a Portage home visitor becomes available
  • finding relevant services and support groups
  • help with applications for funding specifically designed to support children with SEND, such as DLA, family fund and food banks
  • multi-agency working
  • supporting the transition from home to an early years setting
  • key working
  • supporting and enabling families
  • record keeping
  • target setting
  • safeguarding for your child
  • holistic assessment of your family and child’s needs
  • support and information for EHC plans

Find out more about Portage

To find out more about our portage service, call Corinne Challener, Portage manager, on 07557 860822 or email corinne.challener@lewisham.gov.uk.

We are based at: Kaleidoscope, 32 Rushey Green, Catford SE6 4JF

For general information on portage, visit the National Portage Association website.