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Southend's Children and Families Information PointSHIP Adults

Portage is a home visiting educational service for pre-school children with special educational needs and their families.  A Portage Home Visitor will visit on a weekly or fortnightly basis to work with parents/carers on the child’s development; they will also liaise with other relevant professionals (e.g. physiotherapist) in order to support the child and family A progress report is written with parents every 6 months or at other times if needed e.g. prior to entering school. Portage support is reviewed on a 6 monthly basis. Portage is a widely recognised model of early intervention that has been adopted by many local authorities in the U.K.

In addition to the Home Visiting Service the Portage staff run fortnightly ‘messy play’ sessions on Wednesdays during term time and weekly ‘stay and play’ sessions on Wednesdays during school holidays in association with Eastwood Children’s Centre (formerly Sunny Days)  

Referral and Availability

  • A child must have a recognised syndrome or condition that is known to affect development e.g. Down syndrome or be showing significant developmental delay in 2 or more areas of development. Children who have behaviour difficulties are not eligible for a service unless this is related to special educational needs e.g. Autism
  • A referral can be made by any health professional. It is expected that this will take the form of a Section 23 notification (Children and families Act 2014, Section 23, Duty of health bodies to bring certain children to local authority’s attention) to the local authority and supporting information supplied
  • Once a referral has been made an initial visit will be made and if appropriate the child will be placed on a waiting list. This takes account of the child’s age, type and level of need and other support