Portage workers provide a home-visiting service for pre-school children (under five years old) who have special educational needs, and their families. They work to a portage model which aims to develop play, communication, relationships and learning. The model places importance on the family working together, and on inclusion and participation in the community.
Portage workers often have an on-going caseload of between eight and fifteen families. Work with each family is likely to include:
Portage workers spend a great deal of time visiting families in their own homes, the remainder of time is spent putting together reports or attending meetings in an office.
They work around 35 hours a week, although part-time positions may be available. Evening and weekend work maybe necessary for visiting parents who work during the day, so flexibility is important.
To be a portage worker you should:
Portage workers are usually employed by local authorities or children’s charities. There are around 140 portage services registered in Britain. The programme is still very much in development, so while opportunities are increasing there may not be services in some local areas.
It is possible to become a senior portage worker with supervisory or management responsibilities. Portage workers may also move into other early years professions, for example nursery nursing.
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