Service Details

Portage Service.

Supporting families to develop their child's learning


Portage is a home visiting service for pre-school children with additional needs. The aim of portage is to develop children’s skills through play based activities. It also aims to help children with additional needs and their families to participate and be included in their local community and to play a part in minimising the barriers often faced by young children with additional needs and their families. Parents and carers are acknowledged as the people who know their child the best and home visitors seek to build on this knowledge.

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  • Families receive weekly visits from their allocated home visitor lasting for approximately one hour. The Portage Home Visitor will always arrive with a range of resources which s/he has carefully matched to a child’s developmental stage and interests. The activities will promote development through play.
  • In Somerset, we have 4 teams of Portage Home Visitors, each team being supported by a Senior Home Visitor and an Educational Psychologist who provides regular supervision sessions.
  • The Portage Service in Somerset works with children up to the age of 4 years 11 months, who have significant developmental delays. As a guide, we would normally consider children who have delays of at least one year and in more than one developmental area.
  • Portage Home Visitors remain involved with children and their families for a maximum of three school terms.
  • Parents/carers and professionals working with the family can refer to Portage. Parental consent is essential. Referrals are always discussed at MAISEY to ensure that the criteria for Portage is met. Demand for the service is very high and families may need to be placed on a waiting list until a home visitor becomes available.

PORTAGE MOVING INTO SCHOOL is a new intervention which is designed to support children during their transition into primary school. It is aimed at children who have already received Portage within their home and consists of a 5 week intervention programme delivered in the school setting in the Autumn Term of school entry.

More Details


PERSCEY (Portage Early Response to Social Communication in Early Years) is a Somerset home visiting service which comes under the umbrella of Portage. PERSCEY is a service offered to families with children aged from 0-5 with social communication difficulties.
  • Home Visitors deliver a 9 week cycle of visits to the family home and, where appropriate, also work within a child’s early years setting.
  • The initial focus of the intervention is guided by the immediate needs of the family; for example, with strategies to support behaviour, developing joint attention, or addressing sensory needs. Developing communication and interaction are also key components of the programme and approaches are shared around the use of visual support to inform routines and enable choice making.
  • Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Paediatricians, Early Years Settings and Health Visitors are the most likely referrers to PERSCEY. However, anyone can refer and parents also have this opportunity. Referrals are made and agreed through MAISEY.

Contact Details

Tel: 01823 348266