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What is a Portage Service?

The Portage Model is a wonderful method of teaching all children, in particular children with additional needs and their family.


The Portage Model of Learning is characterised by the following attributes


  • Regular home visiting for children aged 0 – 3 years;

  • Supporting the development of play, communication, relationships, and learning for young children within the family;

  • Supporting the child and family’s participation and inclusion in the community in their own right;

  • Working together with parents within the family, with them taking the leading role in the partnership that is established;

  • Helping parents to identify what is important to them and their child and plan goals for learning and participation;

  • Keeping a shared record of the child’s progress and other issues raised by the family;

  • Responding flexibly to the needs of the child and family when providing support;


Portage Criteria:

Portage intervention is available if your child has two or more areas of developmental difficulties and are demonstrating a minimum of a six month delay impacting on their learning.  The child must be between 0-3 years of age when the intervention starts and they must live in the London Borough of Sutton.


Intervention levels:

Levels of Portage Intervention: the following is a list of intervention levels that will be decided at the initial Portage home visit, and in discussion with the parent/ carer.


Short Term intervention: For children near to three years of age/ borderline criteria met/ need for assessment before decision made. Three home visits offered.

Nursery Offer: For Children attending nursery, pre-school or childminder for 10 hours plus per week.  Three home visits per term and one nursery meeting/ observation.

Core Portage Intervention: (Standard Offer) Fortnightly home visits are offered until the child is three years of age or no longer meets the criteria.

Intensive Portage Intervention: For children with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties/ Complex Health needs / Children at end of life.  Weekly home visits are offered.


Specialist Groups and Community Based Activities

The Portage Service runs a number of community based groups around Sutton.  Groups are developed based on gaps in service provision and through service evaluation & parent voice and in response to the needs of parents and disabled children in the borough. 


The following 2 groups are the PlayWise Community Offer:


Tactile Tales: This is a group held in the PlayWise Hub and delivers interactive stories and songs with a range of visual communication aids and Objects of Reference (OOR).  The group is for children with additional needs aged between 0 – 5 years. Parents and carers can access this group as they wish.  No booking required.  Free of charge.  Delivered during Term Time Only.  Dates and times available on request.


Play Date:  A supportive, fun and interactive Play and Stay session at Tweeddale Children Centre for children and their families. Play Date offers an opportunity meet new parents on a similar journey, receive advice and guidance on strategies to help and support your child’s development and provide a gentle and nurturing introduction to a pre-school environment for children with a range of needs. 


The group incorporates an interactive and educational Circle Time – that ALL children can access, a group cookery activity, fun indoor and outdoor activities, a sensory room and soft play room.  Parents and carers can access this group as they wish. 

No booking required.  Only £1 per child.  Delivered during Term Time only. Dates and times available on request.


Nemo's & PASC are groups that are available through referral only:


Nemos Swimming session: this group is for children with physical disabilities (0 - 5 years) and it's delivered from a specialist school provision with a hydrotherapy pool.  Only Available to PlayWise Portage families. Term time only. 


PASC (Play & Social Communications Skill Group): This group is for children presenting with delays and challenges with social interaction, play, language and communication and associated behaviours aged between 2.5 years and 4 years of age. A 10-week programme delivered termly. 

Tatty Bumpkin - £15 for a six week course, payment in advance - A fun yoga inspired class for children designed to encourage movement, listening, language and enhance overall development, delivered on a termly basis.