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The Portage Service: pre-school education support service for children with complex developmental needs


Find out about our pre-school education support service for children with complex developmental needs and their families.

The Portage Service

We are an education support service for pre-school children who have complex developmental needs and their families. During weekly or fortnightly home visits, our Portage workers will work with you and your child to develop your skills and confidence to promote your child's development using a small steps approach. For some families, Portage groups are offered to provide opportunities for children to learn alongside other children and for parents/carers to benefit from the support they can provide for one another. 

Who can access the service

Families in County Durham who have a child under three years of age with identified complex developmental needs.

How to access the service

You can access the service by completing the Icon for pdf Durham Portage Service - request for involvement (PDF, 88.5kb)  form. Requests for involvement can be made by anyone with a good knowledge of the child, with parent's consent. All requests must include signed consent from a parent or person with parental responsibility. If you need help or further information you can contact us.

How the service works

After a referral is received, we will carry out an initial visit to your home to meet with you and your child.

  • We will discuss Portage with you to decide if it is suitable for you.
  • When we begin our work with you, we will find out what your child can do already and work with you to plan the next steps of learning for your child.
  • We will demonstrate play activities that you can practise at home with your child to help him or her learn new skills using a small steps approach.  
  • We will regularly review your child's progress with you.
Contact us
Durham Portage Service
03000 263 350
Our address is:
  • Durham County Council
  • Education Development Centre
  • Enterprise Way
  • Spennymoor
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DL16 6YP
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