Do I have to pay for advice from SENAC?

SENAC have been able to provide a free advice service to parents since 2003, thanks to our funders and the generosity of the public.

The only cost to a parent is the price of a phone call.

How are SENAC funded?

SENAC are able to provide our services thanks to donations, fundraising activities and grants awarded for specific areas of our work from the following funders:

Children in Need

Esme Fairbairn Foundation

Henry Smith Charity

The Equitable Charitable Trust

Are SENAC connected to the Education Authority?

No.SENAC is an independent charity that offers advice and advocacy on all aspects of the statutory framework of SEN provision in Northern Ireland. We receive no statutory funding.

Can I request a Statutory Assessment for my child?

Yes. A parent(s) can request a statutory assessment for their child. The Education Authority (EA) will determine whether or not to carry out the assessment. They will take into account action already taken by the school and evidence from the school and the parents. If the EA decides it is not necessary to carry out an assessment the reasons will be explained. A parent has the right to appeal this decision.

Further information on the Statementing process and the five stages of the special educational needs process is available in our free Information Pack. If you would like a copy Click here to request a free Information Pack

Should I attend my child’s Annual Review?

Yes. It is important for a parent(s) to attend and contribute to an Annual Review. The Annual Review is a review of your child’s Statement of special educational needs. Decisions can be taken at a Review which may impact on your child’s statement. Our Parent Information Pack contains guidelines on the Annual Review process or you can request our fact sheet on Annual Reviews.

Click here to request a free Information Pack

I believe my child is falling behind in school. His teacher says he is fine. What should I do?

The most important thing is to build a good relationship with your child’s teacher. Express your concerns and ask if there is anything you can do at home that would complement the work in the classroom. SENAC can advise you specifically on your child’s situation, if you feel you would like guidance ring SENAC’s Advice

I have a meeting with my child’s School, can I bring someone along for support?

It can be very useful to bring someone along with you to a meeting. This will not only give you support but they can also take notes and if they have a copy of your questions they can remind you if you have forgotten to ask something. It is advisable to inform the school if you are bringing someone with you. In the DENI Code of Practice it states that parents may bring along a friend, relative or adviser to Annual Review meetings. To download a copy of the Code of Practice go to our Useful Reading page http://useful-reading.

What experience and or training do the Advisors have?

Our advisors receive a full training programme and ongoing support from SENAC staff and management. Volunteers come from a range of relevant backgrounds and all have either personal or professional experience of the SEN system in Northern Ireland.