Portage service

This page provides information about Northumberland portage service.

Portage is a home teaching service for pre-school children with Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), helping parents and carers to support their child's learning.

For further information, please contact:

Carol MacDonald
portage lead Information for Service Users and /or Adults with Parental Responsibility for the Service User in accordance with GDPR. Here is the link to the documentation - How we handle your data
Our portage service works with parents and carers who have children aged nought to five years with significant delays in at least two areas of their development.
Portage home visitors:
  • are widely experienced in working with families and children with SEND
  • make learning easier by breaking skills down into small steps
  • devise individual teaching programmes, including activities which encourage and promote, participation, play, communication, independence and learning
Parents and carers agree a time for a weekly or fortnightly visit with their portage home visitor. Each visit takes place at home for approximately one hour.

Together activities and goals are planned to encourage and promote your child’s development.

During each visit, the home visitor will demonstrate and teach a play-based activity, which develops your child's skills. You and your child will do the agreed activities between visits and record successes.

Long-term goals will be reviewed, celebrated and revised every three months.

If, at any time, you or your home visitor feels portage is no longer appropriate, the home visitor will summarise the child's progress and help you plan the next steps.

Your home visitor will liaise with your child's pre-school setting/school to share information and help with transition.
If other services are already working with your child, then your portage home visitor will:
  • make regular joint visits
  • plan targets which can be combined with other professional targets
  • update other services on your child’s progress and activities
  • attend multi-agency meetings
Parents, carers or professionals can refer to the portage service.

Referral criteria
  • the child is aged from birth to five years
  • parents/carers and professionals have observed a significant delay in at least two areas of development or the child has been diagnosed as having a medical condition, which is generally recognised as likely to lead to future significant developmental delay
  • the child has at least two terms prior to full-time education
  • please complete the above online referral form
Withdrawal criteria
  • the child is settled into a pre-school/school setting with their educational needs being met confidently by the establishment
  • agreement is reached between the portage service and parent/carer on an appropriate gradual withdrawal process
  • parents/carers frequently failing to keep appointments without notification to the service
The portage team run a three-day portage training workshop. 
For further details, contact:

Carol MacDonald 
portage lead