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Development support for young children with SEND (Portage Service)

If you suspect a child between 0 to 3 years old is significantly delayed in at least two areas of their development, parents and professionals can apply for Portage. Generally we cannot offer funding support to children above 3 years old, unless they are not currently attending Pre-school/Nursery.

Portage is an Early Intervention programme that supports children within their own home, working in partnership with parents and carers.

What the Portage service does

The Portage service:

  • provides ongoing developmental assessments of current and emerging skills.
  • is a bespoke intervention programme based on the child's needs, to support the closing of gaps in a child's development, using different strategies.
  • offer play activities to support their learning and identified development goals, using a small step approach.
  • empower parents/carers to engage fully in their child's learning and support their development.

How to receive Portage

We offer an open referral service. Parents and professionals will need to initially contact us to discuss any concerns about a child's development before a referral can be accepted.

You can contact us by:

If your child meets the criteria you will then be sent a Request for Involvement form.

What to expect from the Portage Service

Children who meet the service criteria will:

  • receive regular Portage sessions within the family home, for a set period of time depending on the offered package.
  • regular development assessments, with regular monitoring and updating of portage goals.
    • have a portage worker assigned to them. They will attend professional meetings and complete reports as appropriate.

Parents/carers are expected to fully participate in the sessions. You must be able to commit to following up and practising the agreed play techniques and strategies between appointments.

Other support we can offer

In addition to supporting families at home, we also help our Portage families with:

  • parental requests for Disability Living Allowances and Educational Healthcare Plans (EHC plans).
  • joint working and visits with other agencies and therapists.
  • the transition into an early years provision.
  • observational visits to early years provisions to demonstrate Portage techniques and strategies and share current goals with the key worker or SENDco.
  • signposting parents and carers to other agencies or appropriate groups to support their children.

Further information on the Buckinghamshire Portage Service can be found on our directory.