Torbay Portage Service
What is Portage?
Portage is a home teaching service for families with pre-school children who have Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND). The success and popularity of Portage is based on the premise that it promotes parents/carers as the key figures in the development of their child.
Portage aims to enable parents/carers to become effective teachers of their own children using evidence based interventions and teaching strategies. All Portage Home Visitors (PHV) are key workers, co-ordinating family-focused services.
The Torbay Portage Service is a registered service with the National Portage Association (NPA). The team consists of 4 practitioners, a Team Lead and 3 home visitors. All Portage Home Visitors are qualified in special educational needs and have undertaken specific Portage training associated with the NPA.
Portage is a home visiting service for pre-school children with special educational needs and their families. We offer a framework of support which includes regular home visits by a Portage Home Visitor, care-coordination with all others involved with the child and family and signposting to local and national support and information.
Home visits may include face to face visits, virtual communication such as Zoom or telephone calls. All interaction will aim to cover the following:
- A holistic assessment of the child’s development using Early Years assessment tools, child observation, parent views and current health assessments
- Identification of parental key priorities in terms of their child’s learning and/or any care-coordination or signposting needs
- Modelling of play activities and strategies with parents to support their key priorities in their child’s learning and development
Portage Home Visitors will also liaise with the child’s current Early Years setting to establish shared Individual Learning and Development Plan targets using a small steps approach.
To be eligible for this service, you must live in Torbay and have a child with significant additional needs or a disability. Referral to the service can be made by using the service referral form on Portage - Torbay Council
How will Portage Home Visitors work with me?
The PHV arranges to visit the parent/carer and the child at home on a regular basis. At first the PHV works closely with the parent/carer assessing the child’s strengths and needs and the priorities of the family.
Time will be spent getting to know the child, what interests them and how best they learn new skills.
The PHV will liaise with other people involved with the child and prepare a shared plan of support. The plan will be broken down into small steps with an appropriate set of activities. These will include the child’s known interests to ensure the teaching and learning is fun and enjoyable. The staff at the child’s early years provision will be included in practising the activities in the plan.
The support plan is reviewed regularly together.
Your PHV can be your first point of contact when you do not know who else to get in touch with. They will keep in regular contact and offer support through home visits and/or telephone/video calls.
Who to contact
Where to go
- 2nd floor, Electric House
c/o Torbay Council
- TQ1 3DR
SEN InformationA printable version of this form is available in the downloads section.
What special education provision is available at our setting?
Portage is a home visiting service for pre-school children with additional support needs and their families. We offer a framework of support which includes regular home visits by a Portage Home Visitor, care-coordination with all others involved with the child and family and signposting to local and national support and information.
What criteria must be satisfied before children and young people can access this provision/service?
Children referred to our service should be aged 0-5 years and live in the Torbay area. Children will have a significant delay in two or more areas of their development or a disability which is known to lead to significant developmental delay.
How do we identify the particular special educational needs of a child or young person?
Identification of each child’s needs is undertaken through consultation with parents, professionals from health, education and social care that are involved with the child, and through observation of the child during play. This may also include a request for an Educational Psychology assessment and subsequently an Education Health and Care Plan Assessment.
How do we consult with parents and/or children and young people about their needs?
We consult with parents in a face to face discussion during home visits, and gather information from children through observation of their play and communication.
What is our approach to teaching children and young people with special educational needs?
All our teaching activities are play based and include resources that are motivating for the child. The activities are broken down into small achievable steps, building on what the child can already do. Activities are modelled for Parents so they can practice them with their child each day.
How can we adapt our curriculum for children and young people with special educational needs?
Each child has an individually tailored curriculum, based on their needs. Activities are tailored to each child’s abilities and interests.
How will we ensure we get the services, provision and equipment that children and young people need?
Regular meetings are arranged with Parents and other professionals involved with their child, to review their child’s progress, set new targets, and to plan for the future. Through this discussion we are able to involve appropriate services and equipment when it is required.
How is this provision funded?
Funded by Torbay Council.
What additional learning support is available for children and young people with special educational needs and how do they access it?
Children’s progress is reviewed regularly and parents can make requests for additional support when it is needed for example, if a child needs support with their communication, we can consult with and refer if necessary to speech and language therapy.
How do we support and improve the emotional and social development of children and young people with special educational needs?
Parents are encouraged to access mainstream, universal settings for their children so they can play and learn alongside their peers. Additional adult support is available and the Portage Home Visitor can model play and communication strategies to the setting staff.
How do we support children and young people with special educational needs moving between phases of education and preparing for adulthood?
Transition meetings are arranged when children move from home to Pre-school settings, and from Pre-school onto school.
Information about the child’s skills, and how their individual needs can be met within the setting is shared alongside any parental concerns. A staggered entry can be offered to meet the needs of the child. Some children will already have an Education Health and Care Plan in place which clearly identifies their support needs and the provision required in a nursery or school setting.
What other support is available for children and young people with special educational needs and how can they access it?
A Family Information and Play session for Children with Additional Needs is available on alternate weeks through Torquay and Paignton Children’s Centres. Parents and their children can meet up with each other and are offered individual consultations with the Portage Team Lead for information advice and support.
What extra-curricular activities are available for children and young people with special educational needs?
Families can access group events and trips organised and facilitated through the Family Information and Play sessions for Children with Additional Needs (FIPCAN).
How do we assess and review progress towards agreed outcomes, and how are parents, children and young people involved in this process?
Learning priorities set for each child are reviewed regularly in meetings with parents and professionals involved with the child.
Each family is given the opportunity to discuss how they feel their child has progressed before the meeting, and to talk about any concerns so the next steps for their child can be planned.
This is documented in their child’s Individual learning and Development Plan.
How do we assess the effectiveness of our special needs provision and how are parents, children and young people involved in this assessment?
A parent questionnaire is completed at the beginning and completion of Portage which helps identify parental priorities in their child’s learning and with care co-ordination. Parents can record their views and comments around whether initial concerns and priorities have been met and offer any suggestions for improving the service offered.
How do we ensure that teaching staff and other staff have the expertise needed to support children and young people with special educational needs?
Torbay Portage Service are registered members of the National Portage Service and meet the standards and criteria set out in the registration requirements.
Regular staff supervision ensures that the Portage Home Visitors maintain the standards required and ongoing training is offered to support their professional development.
How do we keep parents informed where children and young people have special educational provision but do not have an Education Health and Care Plan?
Children receiving Portage continue to have an individual learning plan, which would be regularly reviewed. Parents would always be involved in reviewing and setting targets.
How can parents, children and young people make a complaint about our provision?
When families join our service they are given information about the service this includes how to make a complaint and the contact details of the service manager.
How can parents, children and young people get more information about the setting?
Parents can access more information by looking on the Local Offer via the Torbay Council website or at www.fis.torbay.gov.uk. The National Portage Association web site gives information about the aims and objectives of Portage.
How the school involves other bodies, including health and social care bodies, local authority support services and voluntary sector organisations, in meeting children and young peopleâs SEN and supporting their families?
The Portage Service seeks information from all practitioners involved with the child. All are invited to regular planning and target setting meetings.
What arrangements are in place for supporting children who are looked after by the local authority and have SEN?
Children who are looked after by the Local Authority and meet the Portage Service criteria will be allocated a Portage Home Visitor following current allocation criteria.