Southampton Portage is a home teaching service for young children with special educational needs aged 0-3 years who are delayed in at least two areas of development.
What does your service do? SHOW
Portage is an internationally recognised home teaching programme which offers support, help and advice to families in identifying learning strategies for their child with special needs.
Southampton Portage service consists of:
After an initial home visit the family are contacted by a Portage Teacher who will offer a monthly contact either in the home or via a telephone call.
The Portage Teacher provides advice on teaching strategies, benefits and grants and links families to other services.
Families receive a weekly home teaching session from their Portage teacher, usually 6-8 visits.
This may include:
- Assessment of the child’s strengths and the areas that they find difficult
- An individualised learning programme.
- Learning through play in partnership with a parent/carer
- Advice on pre-schools/early years settings and on the support that the child may need when they start at a setting
- A loan of toys and equipment
- Signposting to other services
Where is it located and what areas does it cover? SHOW
We cover all areas within the Southampton City Council boundaries. Our offices are based in Southampton Civic Centre but we carry out all of our work in the home or at early year’s settings.
Who does your service provide for? SHOW
We support children and families in Southampton who meet the following eligibility criteria:
- The family live in the Southampton local authority area
- The child is aged 0-3 years
- The child’s development is delayed by at least 6 months in two or more areas of development
- Parental consent has been obtained
- The child’s parent/carer must be available to meet the Portage teacher on a regular basis
Note: If a child attends an early years setting for more than15 hours a week, this may affect the type of support Portage is able to offer.
How can I start using the service? SHOW
Requests for Portage involvement can be made for children aged from birth to 3 years who have/are expected to have a delay of at least 6 months in two or more areas of development.
The Portage service has an open referral system; therefore anyone can refer to the service so long as they have the parent’s permission, including the family themselves.
Download the referral form.
See also the additional early years referral form.
How are decisions made about who can use your service? SHOW
Upon receipt of a referral a Portage Home Teacher will contact the family to arrange an initial home visit.
If a Portage service is felt to be appropriate then this information will be communicated to the family during the initial home visit and followed up with a letter to the referrer.
How do you communicate with service users and how are they involved in decision making/planning? SHOW
Parents/carers and children are partners in all aspects of the Portage service delivery.
Each home teaching session includes both adult and child-led activities so that parents/carers and children have the opportunity to lead and influence the play and learning that takes place.
Portage teachers take into consideration the child’s likes and dislikes, the family’s day to day lives and their aspirations for their child are included in the planning of each play session.
If the service is working with a family where by English is not their first language, they may ask if there’s a family member or friend who could act as a translator. If there isn’t anyone or the family don’t feel comfortable with this, employing a translator would be considered.
Is your service fully accessible? SHOW
All of our work takes place in the home or early years setting.
What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had or are having? SHOW
All Portage teachers have:
- Foundation degree level qualifications in child development
- Significant experience of working within Early Years
- Significant experience of Special Educational Needs
- Significant experience of working with families
- Completed Portage Workshop
Staff receive on-going training through the National Portage Development training program, as well as through Southampton City Council’s workforce development program.
When necessary, we seek and provide additional training based on needs identified by Portage teachers, relating to working with children with specific special educational needs and disabilities.
How will I know my child will be safe using this service? SHOW
Portage teachers are never left in sole charge of the children we are working with, and all work is carried out in the presence of families or the staff at early year’s settings.
All Portage staff undergo advanced DBS checks (Disclosure and Barring Service).
How do I give feedback, make comments or raise concerns? SHOW
Each family are asked to complete a questionnaire at the end of Portage Teaching.
During the initial home visit families are advised that they can call the Portage manager and discuss any concerns or comments.
You can also go to the compliments, comments and complaints page.
Or write to:
Who can I contact for further information? SHOW
If you would like more information about our service please call 023 8083 4375.
You can find out more about the portage home teaching program by going to the national Portage website.