The Educational Psychology Service has been providing leadership and management of the City of York Portage Service through the Specialist Senior Educational Psychologist (Early Years and Portage) since 1996. Portage is a home visiting education service for pre-school children with disabilities and special educational needs. Visits are made on a weekly or fortnightly basis. It helps parents and carers to support their child’s learning by breaking skills down into small steps.
All Portage home visitors have successfully completed a Portage Basic Training Workshop, which is accredited through the National Portage Association (NPA). They design activities with parents/carers to help encourage and promote children’s learning, communication and independence through play.
The service is available to families who have a child under five years old with difficulties or delays in more than one area of development. The service was expanded in 2004 to also include children at risk of developmental difficulties through low birth weight and/or premature birth or those who are ‘looked after’ (LAC) by the local authority. Portage has an ‘open’ referral system, meaning that anyone can refer a child to the Portage Service, including their parents/carers.
Children’s development is assessed and monitored using a developmental checklist, journal or profiles such as the Early Support Developmental Journals and the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Long term goals (LTG) are set for each child every six months, and each week the Portage home visitor plans activities with the parents to work towards the LTG that have been set. Six monthly reviews are held with each Portage family and their Portage Home Visitor. There is an ongoing evaluation system with an annual reports and annual updates presented to the Early Years Steering Group. Outcome data is obtained through evidence of progress made by the children; the number of successful home visits made, and from parent feedback through anonymous exit-questionnaires. Parent evaluations have been consistently positive. Portage visits conclude if there is no longer concern about the child’s development or when the child starts attending an early years setting / school for five or more sessions per week (in some cases Portage visits continue for a while after children starts attending a preschool but generally on a reduced frequency).
Educational Psychologists for Early Years, alongside the Specialist Early Years Teachers (SEN) and Portage Home Visitors, play a major role in supporting transitions to nursery or school and provides advice toward statutory assessment when required. Since 2014 they are also actively involved in starting My Support Plans with the any of the children they work with
The Portage service has embedded Early Support key working as part of its role, with the majority of Portage families requesting that their Portage Home Visitor be their Early Support Key Worker.
Contact the team on:
You can view more information on the Portage Website.