The Special Educational Needs Advice Centre (SENAC) is a regional charity set up in 2003. We provide confidential, independent advice and advocacy on behalf of children and young people with disabilities and special educational needs (SEN) attending 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 and works with parents, schools and education bodies to 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 and aim to ensure that decisions are based on the best interests of the child.

Our Board of Directors

As a registered charity SENAC 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.

  • Richard finlay (Interim Chair)
  • Aisleagh McConnell (Company Secretary)
  • Betty Donnelly
  • Joanna Brown
  • Stephen Keery
  • Susan McBride (Treasurer)

Our services

Advice Line

An independent and confidential telephone Advice Line service, providing free advice and information to parents, carers and professionals 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 provides educational advocacy for individual children and young people. SENAC can offer assistance in completing Parental Advice forms, understanding Statutory Assessments, advise on the content of Individual Education Plans and Statements and where appropriate, accompany parents to meetings.

Contact our advice line for more information about this service – 028 9079 5779


This service offers independent advice, support and representation on SEN Appeals for families and those with parental responsibility who want to lodge an appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST).

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 provide workshops on the SEN system for parent and carer support groups, community organisations, schools, workplaces and professionals who work with families. With greater knowledge of the system and the rights within the system, including appeal rights, parents and guardians are better able to advocate for their children. To book a workshop for your group please Email: info@senac.co.uk

SENAC will also signpost parents, carers and professionals to other groups and organisations that may be able to address a further range of needs for individual children.

An Introduction to the Special Educational Needs System in Northern Ireland can be downloaded 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.

During the Covid-19 pandemic the Advice Line will continue to operate its usual hours from 10am to 1pm Monday Tuesday and Wednesday.

For the foreseeable future, all calls to SENAC will go through this number so for all other enquiries please also ring us on 028 9079 5779 Monday to Friday from 10am -1pm

Contact us

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

Office Enquiries: 028 9070 5654
Office Email: info@senac.co.uk

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

Limited Company No. NI48698
Charity No. NIC101355

Latest news

Follow us