Barnsley Education Inclusion Services

Children we work with

We're trained early years (EY) practitioners experienced in special educational needs. Our team sits within Education Inclusion Services (EIS).

We work with families, settings and services to enable early identification of special educational needs of EY children aged 0 to 4 years, and to reduce barriers to learning and development at the earliest opportunity. We work in line with the DfE and DH January 2015 statutory guidance: special educational needs and disability (SEND) code of practice 0 to 25 years.

Meet the team

Our team is made up of:

  • Principal Educational Psychologist:
    • Joanne Patterson (team manager)
  • Portage Practitioner:
    • Sheradene Faver
    • Kate Bray
    • Ebony Wilkinson

Portage service

Barnsley portage service works with parents/carers to provide home-based development and learning support for children aged 0-4 years with SEND. Working in partnership with parents underpins portage practice, where parents are recognised as lead educators for their children.

Through respectful engagement and developing trusting relationships with children, families and education settings, we aim to empower parents to make informed choices about their child’s development whilst supporting them to feel confident in their own abilities. Our aim is for each child to achieve their full potential. We strive to empower parents to develop in their role as their child’s primary educator. Barnsley portage service is a registered service with the National Portage Association.

What we do 

We offer a structured needs-led service providing regular home visits by a trained portage worker. We work collaboratively with parents to identify relevant child-centred goals and implement a small steps approach to development and learning that builds on children’s strengths. In building on strengths, we support families to look forward and celebrate successes. We work with parents on activities for the child to support specific areas of development. The activities are demonstrated by the portage worker for parents to practice at home. 

We work within the early years foundation stage (EYFS) framework and a developmental journal is used to monitor and record progress and plan next steps. We offer parents practical strategies, signpost to resources and/or other support agencies and engage in joint problem solving with parents. Throughout our involvement we will liaise as needed with other key agencies who may be involved with the child to ensure a holistic and multi-agency approach.

Portage work in partnership with parents/carers to identify settings and prepare and plan for their child’s transition into a setting. We promote a child-centred approach to transition, maintaining parent and child views at the heart of the process. We'll facilitate transition with settings and parents to support settings to implement their graduated approach to understanding and meeting the special educational needs of the child.

How to access portage 

Portage work with children with SEND, between the ages of 0 to 4 years, who live in Barnsley and are not accessing a 15-hour or more funded place in a setting. 

Children are usually referred to the service by health or social care professionals who may already be working with the family. Referrals can be made by completing our portage referral form and emailing it to us at

When we receive a referral we'll make contact with parents/carers to discuss portage and possible involvement with our service.

What people say about us

  • My child has come on developmentally a lot more since the involvement of portage. Our portage worker is really approachable and has an in-depth knowledge of my child’s needs.
    Barnsley parent
  • Our portage worker has been brilliant in helping us to track our daughter’s progress and in helping us understand the next steps to work on.
    Barnsley parent
  • My child’s transition into nursery has been made so much easier due to having portage involvement.
    Barnsley parent
  • In a country where I don’t know anybody, don’t have any mother or sister or friend, having portage made me feel like I am not alone in parenting my child - like I have someone for me.
    Barnsley parent
  • Working with Portage has made us feel more comfortable about the transition to nursery knowing they have a full report of our son’s strengths and needs.
    Barnsley Parent
  • The portage worker checked the report with us at every stage making sure we are happy with what has been written. We know the report will be useful for nursery staff to help understand our child’s needs.
    Barnsley Parent