Southampton Portage Service

Main contact: 

J-P Cooke - Team Manager

Telephone number: 




First Floor
North Block
Civic Centre
SO14 7LY

Other staff contacts: 

Joanne Mellor- Portage Home Teacher

Service description

 Southampton Portage is a home teaching service for young children with special educational needs aged 0-3yrs who are delayed in at least two areas of development and their families.

 What does your service do? 

Portage is an internationally recognised home teaching programme which offers support, help and advice to families in identifying learning strategies for their child with special needs. 

We operate a phased approach. 

Phase 1 – After an initial home visit the family are contacted by a Portage link advisor who will offer a home visit or chat on the phone on a monthly basis. 

The link advisor acts as an advocate for the family, provides advice on teaching strategies, benefits and grants and links families to other services and prepares families for Phase 2. Phase 1 continues until the start of Phase 2. 

Phase 2 - Families receive a weekly home teaching session from their Portage teacher. 

This will include: 

  • assessment of the child’s strengths and the areas that they find difficult

  • an individualised learning programme that is reviewed every six months

  • a learning through play session in partnership with a parent/carer

  • advice on pre-schools/early years settings and on the support that the child may need when they start at a setting

  • a loan of toys and equipment

  • support and advice with the Statutory Assessment process and Education, Health and Care plans (EHCP)

  • signposting to other services

  • Support and transition into an early year’s setting/pre-school.

Where is it located? And what areas does it cover? 

We cover all areas within the Southampton City Council boundaries. Our offices are based in Southampton Civic Centre but we carry out all of our work in the home or at early year’s settings. 

Who does your service provide for? 

We support children and families in Southampton who meet the following eligibility criteria: 

The family live in the Southampton local authority area. 

The child is aged 0– 3 years 

The child’s development is delayed by at least 6 months in two or more areas of development, such as: 

  • Physical
  • Motor (movement)
  • Speech and Language
  • Social
  • Cognitive (learning) skills. 
  • A parental signature has been obtained. 

The child’s parent/carer must agree to be available to meet the Portage teacher on a regular basis. 

Note: If a child attends an early years setting for 10 hours a week or more this may affect the type of support Portage is able to offer. This will be discussed during the initial visit or when the child takes up their place in a setting.