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Early Learning and Portage Support Service

The Lincolnshire Early Learning and Portage Support Service (ELPSS) is a county wide service, led by INSPIRE Connected Community Trust, Lincolnshire Wolds Federation, St Bernard’s, as the Lead Provider, in collaboration with Boston Endeavour Academy, Eresby Specialist School, Grantham Additional Needs Fellowship, St Christopher’s Specialist School, Tulip Academy and Willoughby Academy in Bourne, who provide a Portage Practitioner in each locality.

Portage is part of the national and local development of inclusive services for children.

For more general information:-  National Portage Association

Portage in Lincolnshire is an educational support service delivered in the home or in group community-based settings, for children aged 0-5 (up to their 5th birthday) that have a SEND diagnosis or suspected diagnosis which is impacting on their education development.

The ELPSS team will also offer workshops and /or webinars based on the identified needs of families.

The ELPSS team provide a service across 39 weeks of the year following the school term timetable.

Portage is a model that adapts flexibly to individual children and family needs and works in partnership with parents/carers alongside other relevant agencies involved, to assist in creating a holistic profile in supporting the personalised and targeted approach for every child. 

Portage offers specialist play experiences and assessments with the aim to improve areas of children’s development following a small step approach, by providing be spoke teaching and learning opportunities to develop skills, confidence and enable families to feel included in their community.

Experienced Portage Practitioners model activities and strategies, for parents/ carers to practice between home visits or group sessions with the aim to empowering parents/carers to build on their child’s strengths as they play and learn together. For Portage to be effective parents must be committed to carrying out the activities and/ or suggested strategies consistently on a regular basis.

How to access the service

Referrals are completed by professionals or parent/carers and triaged by a multi agency panel which is held fortnightly during the school term, to agree the most appropriate Pathway of support to offer.

Families will be offered one of the three core Pathways of support based on the identified need.

  •   Portage group – Stepping Stones
  •   Portage Plus – time limited home visits
  •  Core Portage – Individual Home Visits


The referral form is below, please return centrally to Ann Ordish  ELPSS Coordinator