Portage is a home-visiting educational service for pre-school children with  SEND and their families.

Portage aims to:

  • work with families to help them develop a quality of life and experience, for themselves and their young children, in which they can learn together, play together, participate and be included in their community in their own right.
  • play a part in minimising the disabling barriers that confront young children and their families.
  • support the national and local development of inclusive services for children.

Key to Portage practice is partnership, placing children and families at the centre and working with parents as the lead educators.  Partnership also extends to multi-agency working with everyone involved with the child and family.

Portage has a can do approach which celebrates diversity and emphasises that all children are able to learn. By building on abilities and strengths and with small step targets which celebrate success Portage supports families to look forward. 

How Portage will be delivered in Cheshire East

Portage is for children who have complex needs and who have been brought to the attention of the Early Years Forum for additional support.

Portage works on a small steps approach to learning, this breaks down long term goals and makes  achievable targets that are practical, immediate and relevant for the child and their family. Children will have a Portage plan where all achievements and targets will be recorded.

Start for Life practitioners delivering portage aim to

  • Empower parents to make informed choices about their child’s development.
  • Support parents to feel confident in their abilities.
  • Offer strategies, signposting and joint problem solving.

Start for Life Portage Practitioners will work with the family until they have transitioned into an Early Years setting or School. The transition will be supported by the Start for Life practitioner.

What do parents think?

'Their support was sincere and non-judgemental. We felt empowered by the reassurance and encouragement we received.’ (Portage Parent)

Resources for Parents


Page last reviewed: 26 January 2024

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