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Description

Portage Practitioners work with families and their young children individually in their homes, or in small groups, to support the child’s development through play. Our aim is to provide bespoke teaching and learning opportunities to develop skills, confidence, and enable families to feel included in their community.

The team are part of the Early Years SEND Support Service.  Somerset Portage is a member of the National Portage Association (NPA) which provides a quality framework and training for Portage services across England and Wales. We follow the core Portage principal of working in partnership with families, placing the needs of the child at the centre of any decision making.

The Portage team offer the following interventions:

Home Visiting Intervention – Children with the most complex needs are prioritised for a home visiting intervention.  An initial home visit is carried out by an Educational Psychologist (EP) to understand the child’s areas of strength and needs to inform the intervention.  We will then arrange weekly visits of one hour to the home from a named Portage Practitioner for a maximum of 24 weekly sessions*.  The Portage Practitioner will work with the family and other professionals to create a personalised Portage plan with identified outcomes and activities to support development.

There is high demand for Portage home visiting interventions.  Children are added to a waiting list and interventions are started as soon as possible.  We aim for families to wait a maximum of six months for intervention to begin, however, waiting times can be longer in periods of high demand.

* Intervention may be extended in exceptional circumstances to a maximum of an additional eight sessions with agreement from service manager.

Stay and Play Group Intervention – weekly small group sessions held in each local area (Taunton, Yeovil, Frome, Glastonbury, Chard, Bridgwater) with opportunities to share ideas, resources, and questions with a Portage Practitioner, and with other families.

Focussed Group Intervention – weekly small group sessions run over 10 weeks which focus on specific areas of development (e.g. communication, sensory processing etc).  This intervention will depend on the needs in local areas to enable it to be run.

Starting School Intervention – this small group intervention is run over five sessions in the summer term each year.  It is available to all children who have previously received a Portage home visiting or group intervention.  The aim is to provide information and resources to families of children who are starting school in the coming September to support a successful transition.  There are also opportunities to ask questions, share worries, and hear from parents whose children have been through this transition before.

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Eligibility

Referrals to the Portage Service are made by a professional working with a family (e.g., Health Visitor, GP, etc) using an Early Help Assessment (EHA). Further information about EHAs for Portage can be found on Portage – Professional Choices.

New referrals are discussed during a regular Portage triage meeting and are subject to the eligibility criteria below.

  1. A child will be between birth and up to 3.0 years of age at the time of referral.
  2. A child will have significant developmental delays of at least half their chronological age in at least 2 areas of their development. Information/evidence from appropriate assessments (e.g., SOGS or referrers equivalent ie; care plan, Paediatricians letter) must be included in the referral. Referrals without this information will not be accepted.
  3. A child will not be receiving other targeted intervention (e.g., speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, etc) which amounts to provision for more than 50% of the week. We will also consider the amount of time spent in a nursery or other setting when reviewing the referral.
  4. Parents/carers must agree to the referral and understand the aims of Portage please see portage home visiting agreement for details). Parents/carers must be available for weekly home visits from a portage practitioner.

Where the eligibility criteria are met, families will be offered an initial assessment with a Senior Portage Practitioner. The Senior Portage Practitioner will confirm whether Portage intervention is appropriate and, if so, will identify the appropriate level of support offered to the family.

Referrals are made using an Early Help Assessment (EHA). Please go to Early Help Services included in the EHA – Professional Choices for more information.

Jo from the Portage team introduces their service which helps develop skills, confidence and enable pre-school children with SEND and their families to feel included in the community, as part of our Local Offer Live October 2022.

Type of provision

Specialist - This is for a small group of people with significant special educational needs and disabilities and their families

Contact details

Email InclusionSENRequests@somerset.gov.uk
Website https://www.supportservicesforeducation.co.uk/Services/6203

Centre information

Accessibility and adjustments

Wheelchair access Yes

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