Portage - Home Visiting Educational Service

About us

Portage is a free educational service for North Lincolnshire pre-school children who have additional needs, and their families. Portage Outreach Practitioners work closely with parents/carers and early years settings (where relevant).

Portage Practitioners work with pre-school children (0-4 years) who have a recognised development delay in at least two areas of development; a delay of 6 months or more for a child under 2yrs, and a delay of 12 months or more for children over 2yrs. Children do not need a diagnosis to access Portage.

The Portage approach involves supporting you to build on your child’s strengths using a positive approach. We aim to build confidence and skills to meet your child’s needs as they grow and develop.

We offer home visits, review sessions at a Children’s Centre, and visits to see your child in their early years setting (if applicable). We also work closely with other professionals involved.

The North Lincolnshire Portage Service is registered with the National Portage Association.

Referrals can be made by any professional working with your child. Parents/carers can also self-refer.

Before making a request for involvement from Portage, it is expected that children will have first accessed support and intervention provided by universal services, such as by a Community Nursery Nurse or Play and Development Groups, or through an early years setting as part of a graduated response.

Referrals for Portage involvement should be accompanied with relevant information about the child’s development, the names of other professionals involved, and an overview of previous support that has been accessed. If the child attends an early years setting then evidence from the setting should also be provided.

The completed referral form [DOC, 185Kb] must be signed by the referrer and by the parent or person with parental responsibility.

Referrals are discussed fortnightly (during term time) at an Early Years Multi-Agency Meeting. The referrer will be informed of the outcome of the request within 10 working days following the meeting.

If you are unsure whether to make a referral you can contact the Portage Team to discuss on 01724 296679.

Please send the completed Request for Early Years Support Form and supporting information to: EYMAT@northlincs.gov.uk (via secure email)

Or via post to:

Virtual School and Inclusion – Early Years
Church Square House
30-40 High Street
North Lincolnshire
DN15 6NL

Once it has been agreed that Portage will work with your child, you will be contacted by letter to inform you that the referral has been accepted. A Portage Practitioner will then be in touch with you to arrange an initial home visit. Sometimes there can be a little wait for this first contact depending on the time of year and capacity of the team.

During the first home visit, the Portage Practitioner will explain to you how they work with families and find out more information about your child. They will then plan further involvement based on the individual needs and circumstances of your child and family.

This can involve further home visits, invitations to individual sessions at a Children’s Centre, attendance at Early Help meetings (if applicable), and visits to see your child in a nursery or preschool (if they attend a setting).

It is the role of Portage Practitioners to:

  • Assess your child’s development
  • Identify strengths
  • Identify areas of development to work on
  • Support transition into a nursery, pre-school or a school-based nursery (if they are not already attending an early years education setting).

Our team is skilled in breaking down learning into small achievable steps. We will work with parents/carers and early years settings to demonstrate how this can be achieved with your child to enable them to reach their own individual potential.

If you are either looking for a suitable nursery or pre-school placement, or your child already attends one, we will provide support to ensure they are settled and have supportive access to learning – also supporting any transition.

We work together with other professionals involved with your child. We are also able to support you in further appropriate referrals to additional agencies if required.

Portage Practitioners aim to enhance the understanding, confidence and skills of the parents/carers and adults working with your child.

Portage involvement comes to an end when your child is due to start school (Reception Class), or if their educational needs are being met successfully within an early years setting and there is no longer a role for a Portage Practitioner.

Little girl tickling toddler under the chin

Contact Us

Email: nlportage@northlincs.gov.uk

Tel: 01724 296679

Virtual School and Inclusion – Early Years
Church Square House
30-40 High Street
North Lincolnshire
DN15 6NL

Last modified: February 28, 2024