The Special Educational Needs Advice Centre (SENAC) is a charity in Northern Ireland which was set up in 2003. We give confidential, independent advice and advocacy for children and young people with disabilities and special educational needs (SEN) who attend schools in Northern Ireland up to the age of 19 years.

We give advice and support on a range of issues including statutory assessments, statements of special educational needs, obtaining provision in school and appeals.

SENAC places the focus on the needs of the child. We work with parents, schools and education bodies. Together we ensure that children receive the right support and resources according to their learning needs.

We work to protect children and young people’s rights and entitlements under the Special Educational Needs (SEN) system. We aim to ensure that decisions are based on the best interests of the child.



Annual reports

Annual Report 2022 -2023

Our Board of Directors

SENAC are a registered charity in Northern Ireland which is governed by a voluntary management committee. The committee have combined skills and experience in management, finance, advocacy, law, human resources and education. Members include parents of children with special educational needs who have used our services.

  • Mark McCusker (Interim Chair)
  • Tom Godfrey (Company Secretary)
  • Susan McBride (Treasurer)
  • Emma Murphy
  • Roisin O’Hare

Our services

Advice Line

An independent, confidential telephone Advice Line service for parents, carers and professionals. We offer free advice on getting the right support in school for children with learning difficulties and special educational needs.

Advice Line 028 9079 5779 (see Contact Us for opening hours)


This service gives educational advocacy for individual children and young people. SENAC can offer help when filling in Parental Advice forms, understanding Statutory Assessments, advise on the content of Individual Education Plans and Statements and where feasible go with parents to meetings.

Contact our Advice Line for more information about this service – 028 9079 5779


Independent advice, representation and support on lodging an appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST). Parents and those with parental responsibility have the right to appeal certain decisions of the Education Authority (EA)

If you are considering contacting us about an appeal please click here for more information before contacting Jenny at jennifer.mcnally@senac.co.uk

Information service

SENAC run workshops on how the Northern Ireland SEN system works. The workshops are useful for parent/carer support groups, community organisations, schools, workplaces and professionals who work with families. Parents and guardians are are more able to advocate for their children when they have knowledge of how the system works.

To book a workshop for your group please Email: info@senac.co.uk

SENAC will also signpost to other groups and organisations that can address a further range of needs for individual children.

“An Introduction to the Special Educational Needs System in Northern Ireland” – download here Information Pack or request a copy in the post.


Advice Line 028 9079 5779

For advice about your child’s education, please contact our Advice Line to speak to one of our advisers.

For current Advice Line hours, see our Contact page

Limited Company No. NI48698
Charity No. NIC101355

Contact us

Graham House,
Knockbracken Healthcare Park,
Saintfield Road, Belfast BT8 8BH.

Office Enquiries: 07950 949405
Office Email: info@senac.co.uk

Office email cannot be used for advice queries, for education advice please contact our Advice Line

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