Early Years SEND Support Service

Details of support services for children with special educational needs and disabilities

What is Portage?

Portage is an educational service delivered in family homes, children’s centres and childcare settings. It is for children from birth to three years old who have significant special educational needs and disabilities.

Our Portage Model is based upon child-led play, structured teaching and family focus. This helps to make sure that children and their families are supported in the best way possible to achieve their full potential.

Portage Provision

We provide:

  • a targeted home based support programme to help parents to be the best advocate for their child
  • a targeted group for children aged between 0 and 3 years old, with a significant delay in two or more areas of their development. Parents are empowered to help support their children to develop pre-communication skills through play. The group uses a small steps approach, following an individualised programme. Attendance is by invitation only, following a Portage triage session
  • Little Treasures -  a group for children aged between 0 and 3 years old, with a neurological disorder, diagnosis or developmental delay that significantly affects their physical development. It's a multi-agency, targeted group delivered by Portage, the SEND Support Service, and Physiotherapists
  • From September 2023, families of children who no longer have Portage intervention will be invited to weekly Stay and Play sessions. This helps parents to maintain and develop a social support system after Portage has stopped. It will be overseen by the Portage Team

Apply for Portage

Early Years Advisory Teacher Service

This is a service made up of a lead advisory teacher, 5 advisory teachers, 2 specialist SEND Practitioner Team Leaders and 23 specialist SEND practitioners (SSPs).

What does the Early Years Advisory Service do?

We provide advice and guidance to early years settings, to help and empower them to support children from 3 years old until the end of Reception who have additional learning needs. As part of this support, we:

  • complete environmental audits in settings
  • provide face to face and online training
  • hold termly Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENDCo) Cluster meetings 
  • work closely with families, and can attend family plan meetings or SEN review meetings
  • if appropriate, we can complete advisory teacher reports for submitting local authority education, health and care needs assessments (EHCP)
  • our advisory teachers will attend annual review meetings for children who have an EHCP if we are actively involved with those children 

For children who have a high level of need, our Specialist Send Practitioners (SSPs) can provide settings with targeted intervention work for a small group of children. This programme usually runs for half a term. Settings will release a member of staff to learn how to run the programme and continue the intervention work after the SSP has stopped.

Make an Early Years SEND referral

For further information, go to the Local Offer website.