Support Services for Schools and Settings

School Issues

The following services are provided by the Local Authority to all maintained educational schools and settings. Academies may buy in the Local Authority service or buy in their own services from another provider.


Telephone 023 9268 4700

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) treats young people up to the age of 18 years where there are concerns about their emotional well-being and mental health. It also works closely with their family, carers and other agencies who support them. CAMHS staff are health professionals who have had specialist training in child and adolescent mental health. The team includes nurses, therapists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, psychologists and primary mental health workers.

CAMHS-CDC team provides a highly specialist service, working with young people (and their families) aged 0-18 years, who have a moderate to severe developmental delay. This delay can be in relation to a learning disability, physical disability or a complex health need. Families have to be open to the care of a Community Paediatrician, to access the service. Due to a very limited remit, the service may sometimes close for referrals and there may also be a waiting list for work to commence with families. We are able to support young people and families in a range of environments, such as at home or school. We meet with families to explore their needs and hopes, then we think about how we can work together to meet their needs. Our team is a specialist multi-disciplinary team including paediatric Clinical Psychology, Specialist Nursing and Occupational Therapy and Psychiatry. Once accepted, the young person and their family would be allocated to a clinician who has the best skills to work with their specified needs.

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Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service Learning Disabilities Team (CAMHS-LD)

CAMHS-LD (Learning Disabilities) is a specialist Team within CAMHS that offers assessment and treatment options for a range of behavioural, emotional and mental health difficulties in children with learning disabilities. The team is multi-disciplinary and includes practitioners from Nursing, Psychology, Psychiatry and Occupational Therapy. CAMHS-LD works in partnership with families and with professionals from other services including Education, Social Care, Respite services and voluntary services such as Enable Ability.

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Educational Psychology Service

Telephone 023 9268 8781

Portsmouth City Council's team of educational psychologists are all registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council, each with particular areas of interest or expertise. Educational psychologists help children and young people up to the age of 19 reach their full potential in the fields of learning, social and emotional development. They work with the young people themselves, with their parents or carers, their teachers and support staff and in partnership with other agencies.

The service is provided across Portsmouth.  Schools and settings beyond Portsmouth can also access the service on request. The service offers training, consultation and support to schools, and other settings with regard to special or additional needs of children and young people, and individual assessments of the special additional needs of children and young people.  We can also provide some on-going interventions with children and young people, individually or in groups, or monitor and supervise interventions.  Advice is also provided to the Local Authority to support specific projects and strategy development. Expected outcomes are negotiated with schools, settings, parents and children and relate to positive outcomes for learning, social and emotional wellbeing. .  Parental consent is always required before a member of the team meets a child. Access to the service is through the Early Years Panel for young children (0-4 years).  For school-age children, schools make decisions regarding access to the service.

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Elective home education

Telephone 023 9284 1419

Parents may educate their children at home (elective home education), rather than at school, if they choose to do so.

To home educate a child who is already registered at a school, parents are required to deregister that child from school in writing, so the child's name can be removed from the school roll. A child can be re-enrolled at school at any time through Portsmouth City Council’s admission process. If the child is not registered at a school, Portsmouth City Council need to be notified in writing of the intention to home educate.

The council has a responsibility to ensure all children are receiving an adequate education and so will discuss home education plans with parents. Education Otherwise is one of the organisations who provide advice for home educators. also provides more information on home education. 

For further information or advice contact the school attendance service on the number above.

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Ethnic Minority Achievement Service (EMAS)

Telephone 0239 273 3130

The Ethnic Minority Achievement Service works in partnership with schools to ensure that there are whole school strategies in place for effective support for bilingual learners and minority ethnic pupils at risk of underachievement. EMAS has a team of advisers, peripatetic bilingual learning assistants, support officers and admin who work with/for pupils with EAL (English as an additional language) and those staff in school who work with these pupils.

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Family Information Service (FIS)

Telephone: 023 9268 8830 and 07797 800874

The Family Information Service (FIS), previously known as CHAT, provides tailored information, advice and guidance for families with children from pre-birth to 19. We offer guidance on a range of topics, including childcare, school admissions, leisure opportunities, and rights for working parents, financial entitlements and family support.

We also provide information and guidance to practitioners and professionals working with families in Portsmouth, so that they can effectively support parents.

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Multi-Agency Behaviour Support Service (M.A.B.S)

Telephone 02392 665664

The Multi-Agency Behaviour Support outreach services aim is to keep learners in mainstream education wherever possible. These teams also work with learners at the Harbour school sites and help them to re-integrate into mainstream schools or colleges when they are ready.

MABS provides support to develop children's and young people's social and emotional skills by offering support to the children and young people themselves (individually and in groups), their families and to staff within all schools (regarding individual learners and through staff training).

The Multi-Agency Behaviour Support Service Family Support Team offers weekly Family Support Drop-ins which are held weekly during term time. Parents and carers looking after children are welcome to drop in to meet the team within a comfortable, respectful and relaxed setting. 


Telephone 023 9283 4568

Portage is a specialist home visiting educational service designed to help parents and carers of young children aged 0-4.5 years old with a significant delay in their development, special educational needs and/or a disability. Portage Home Visitors use a small steps approach, working in partnership with parents and/or carers to support the child's learning at home.  Parents are empowered to make a difference to their child and given support in other matters that may impact on their parenting.  Developmental goals are set in areas such as learning, communication, relationships and movement, combining learning new skills through play and integrating therapies i.e. Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy or Speech Therapy where appropriate.

Referrals to Portage can be made from birth, the child should be aged 0 - 4.5 years old (with at least six months before school entry), have significant needs in two or more different developmental/skill areas and not in receipt of the full 15 hours Free Nursery Grant.  Children receiving Two Year Old funding are eligible.

Enquiries: Sharon Ensor (Portage Manager): 079 5879 6580

Portsmouth Special Educational Needs Support Partnership (PSENSP)

Telephone 023 9285 2330

The Portsmouth Special Educational Needs Support Partnership (PSENSP) is a free service for schools which offers targeted support and training aimed at individual and/or groups of staff who are working with pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

PSENSP is commissioned by the Local Authority and is jointly delivered by Mary Rose School, Redwood Park School, Cliffdale School, The Harbour School and Willows Centre for families and children, which will ensure that children and young people with SEND receive support from the most appropriate provider.

The partnership supports pupils in mainstream schools who have been identified as having SEND and may or may not have a Statement or Education Health and Care Plan. Each request for support is considered by a panel who will decide if appropriate support can be provided.

The service aims to improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND to enable them to remain in mainstream education where appropriate. It works in partnership with families and in collaboration with other service providers. It also aims to maximise the educational opportunities for all children and young people by building the capacity and confidence to meet their needs.

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School Attendance Service

Telephone 023 9284 1419

The school attendance service is dedicated to improving and maintaining pupil attendance and investigates the causes of poor attendance. When a young person has a record of absences, or has stopped going to school, the school attendance service will become involved with schools, parents, other agencies and courts to restore that attendance.

The school attendance service will always aim to ensure schools, parents and carers work together to improve pupil attendance. However, the service does have roles and responsibilities defined in law and has legal powers that can be used with parents who fail to ensure their child's regular attendance at school including the issue of penalty notices.

Sensory Impairment Services for schools

Telephone 023 9268 8612

The team for Sensory Impairment comprises of Specialist Teacher Advisers, Communication Support Workers, Intervenors and a habilitation worker for Visually Impaired pupils.  The team works with sensory impaired children and students from 0 - 25 years of age, at home or other pre-school settings, in schools and colleges. The team aim to maximise the educational opportunities for every individual child, working in partnership with parents, carers, teachers and colleagues in other agencies. Most pupils are placed in their own local or special schools, and support, advice and sometimes direct teaching is provided.

Pre-school children are referred directly from health facilities, such as hospital audiology or orthoptics departments, or the council's early years support panel. School age children are usually referred by their school however direct referrals can be made by other professionals and parents and carers.

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Special Educational Needs Teams

Telephone 023 9284 1238

The local authority's SEN Team works with schools and families to identify, assess and support children and young people with additional and / or special educational needs (SEN) or learning difficulties and disabilities (LDD).

Families concerned about their child's learning should talk first with their child's Nursery, School Teacher or the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO). Every nursery and school must have a SENCO. If parents are still concerned about their child's learning, they can contact the SEN Team for further advice or to request further assessment.

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