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Bourne and District Portage Service

Who are we?

The team of Bourne and District Portage Service are based at the Willoughby School, Bourne and provide Portage for families in Bourne, Stamford, Market Deeping and surrounding areas. We are one of eight Portage teams in Lincolnshire. The Bourne and District team are Vicki Billyard - Portage Coordinator and Caroline Lane - Portage Home Visitor. There are additional Portage trained members of staff Dawn Tucker and Marie Kershaw who run stay and play sessions.

All our Portage team have completed the National Portage Association Portage Basic Training workshop required to deliver the service.   The Lincolnshire Portage Teams are affiliated to the National Portage Association.

Portage Workers have considerable experience in working with children with additional needs having worked in a Special Educational environment with students, from 2-19 years of age, who have an extensive range of difficulties to include sensory impairments, physical difficulties such as Cerebral Palsy, PMLD (profound and multiple learning difficulties), complex speech and social communication difficulties etc. Portage Workers have training in Makaton, Safeguarding, ELKLAN and Sensory Integration.

What is Portage?

The name Portage comes from the town of Portage, Wisconsin, USA where the home teaching scheme was developed in the 1970s.  Portage is a home visiting educational service for pre-school children with additional needs. 

Support offered through Portage is based on the principle that parents are the key figure in the care and development of their child and Portage aims to help parents/carers to be confident in this role whatever their child's needs may be. The Portage home visitor works with parents/carers in their home because young children initially learn best in the security of their own environment with the people who know them. In this way the best teaching and learning activities can be developed for every child. Home visits are either weekly or fortnightly as relevant to a particular family.

Who is it for?

Portage is a positive home visiting service offering 1:1 support for children with additional needs and their families. These additional needs include learning difficulties, developmental delay, physical difficulties, PMLD and Autism. The areas covered on the Portage checklist are socialisation, self-help, cognitive, motor and language.  To be eligible for Portage there needs to be a delay in two or more areas of the checklist.

We can support with transitions into nursery settings and schools, if required. We liaise with other professionals including Educational Psychologists, Speech and Language Therapists, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Paediatricians, Health Visitors, SESS, Birth to Five Service, ESCO workers and nursery staff. We support children in generalizing their skills and empowering parents to support their children.

Who can refer?

Referrals can be made from birth by parents/carers or any other agencies involved with the child to:

Vicki Billyard (Portage Coordinator)
Willoughby School
South Road
PE10 9JD

01778 425203


Portage referral form


Website Links for further information

Lincolnshire County Council -

National Portage Association -

Local Offer – Portage -

Local Offer Rainbow Group -