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Special Educational Needs Advisory Service (SENAS) / Portage Service

Coronavirus update

Trafford SENAS / TEDS Portage Service Top Tips for Children Returning Post Lock Down - handy tips and guidance pack for welcoming back children with SEND to Early Years settings and nurseries

What we do

The main purpose of the SEN Advisory Service (SENAS) is to advise and support settings and schools in meeting the needs of children with Special Educational Needs and who are Disabled (SEND) and provide advice to the Local Authority and to parents. 

SENAS are involved in a wide range of activities within the Children, Families and Wellbeing Directorate, including contributing to strategic decision-making/commissioning regarding SEN provision, funding and monitoring of this provision. 

We contribute to working parties in planning assessment and early intervention pathways for children with complex needs such as Autism and physical/medical needs. We contribute to Panels making decisions about EHC Needs Assessment and EHC Plans and Annual Reviews. 

Who We Are

Our staff are from an Education background and hold a wide variety of specialist SEN & Disability-related qualifications, alongside their in-depth knowledge and expertise.

Our aim is to help build capacity through inclusive teaching and reasonable adjustments to the environment, the curriculum and to assessment. 

Our SEN consultants offer advice to school staff in their specialist areas, Social communication/ Autism, Specific Learning Difficulties/dyslexia, Physical/ Medical, Down’s Syndrome and complex needs in the early years and associated behavioural needs related to any of these.

The service has designed awards in Dyslexia and Autism which schools can work towards. To date -- Trafford schools have the Dyslexia Aware Quality Mark. The Autism Friendly Award was launched in July 2014.

Early Years/Portage Service

Our Specialist Teaching Assistants (TA) support the informal assessment of children with SEN, mostly in the Early Years, in conjunction with a SENAS consultant and other relevant services. 

SENAS work closely with parents/carers offering advice and support in relation to their child’s assessment, provision, intervention, inclusion and transition.  SENAS is a Portage Registered Service and all our staff are Portage trained; we work closely with the TEDs [Trafford Early Development] Portage Service who cater for younger children.

SENAS staff are highly trained in Early Support as well as specific areas of need.  We offer key working support to parents for children in the Early Years whilst helping to coordinate information-gathering to enable the Local Authority to decide whether the needs are sufficiently complex and long-term that a Education Health and Care Needs Assessment is necessary. 

The Early Years Development Journal is promoted as a key tool within the assessment of Early Years children. The team work closely with the Complex and Additional Needs Service (CANS). SENAS continue to work in close partnership with Trafford Speech and Language Therapy Service and provide Outreach Support in schools and early years settings to support speech language and communication.

School Aged Children

For School Aged children with SEN, our consultants work with schools to assess pupils’ special educational needs, looking at the school/setting’s graduated approach to SEND and contributing to the cycle of assessment, planning, implementation and reviewing to help school plan approaches to teaching. 

Depending on the child’s needs and age, assessment can take the form of individual standardised assessments, observations, information-gathering and discussion with families and other professionals, such as Health and Social Care. Advice and support is provided to schools regarding examination access arrangements

Physical and Medical Needs

A SENAS Specialist TA will also work with the SEN Consultant for Physical Medical Needs to support children across the age ranges in emergency situations such as to support re-integration to school following a road traffic accident or post-operative/rehabilitation. 

They would support the school by building capacity; at times this means being involved in providing specific medical or intimate care procedures until someone within the setting is trained. SENAS work with the school, parents and involved practitioners to develop healthcare plans to ensure that the needs of children with medical needs are met within the school.

The SEN Consultant for Physical Medical Needs advises schools and links with staff from the CANS and School Services/Development staff to influence plans to improve physical access to schools, contribute to access reports for specific children and advise schools on implementation.

Under the Equality Act reasonable adjustments duty to provide auxiliary aids and equipment, specific specialised & dedicated pieces of equipment may be purchased to aid seating/mobility/intimate care through the SEN budget.

There is a store of equipment that is recycled to ensure excellent value for money where possible. In many cases short term loans are more effective to enable the school and LA to decide what is reasonable for school to provide under their duties.

Special Needs Information & Communication Technology Assessments (SNICTA)

SENAS provides advice and support to schools and settings to introduce assistive technology to support access to the curriculum.  The provision of ICT assessment and equipment falls under the Reasonable Adjustments Duty and schools use the graduated approach to determine the timely introduction of resources.

SNICTA will offer advice, training and short term loans to support assessment through an assess, plan do review cycle. More specialised & dedicated equipment may be purchased through the local authority SEN budget.


We organise and facilitate a number of Forum meetings e.g. SENCO Forum, Dyslexia Aware Quality Mark, Parents of children with Down’s Syndrome and Staff who work with children with Downs Syndrome

We contribute to Annual Conferences such as the Parent ICT Conference  and young people participation events. We also organise and deliver a range of SEN training for school staff. Accredited training has been provided in partnership with MMU for TAs in Dyslexia, Autism until July 2016 and for SENCOs the National Award in SEN Coordination.

We now deliver ELKAN accredited training for TAs in Speech, Language & Communication Needs and Signalong.  Training is also available for SEN assessment, ICT & SEN such as Clicker 7 and around the use of sensory equipment in order to build capacity in schools and reduce the need for detailed individual assessments.

Training can be tailored to the needs of an individual school.  

Who to contact

0161 911 8683
Alternative telephone: 0161 911 3380

Where to go

Name of Venue
Sale Waterside
Venue Address
Waterside Plaza
M33 7ZF

Who is it for?

From 2 to 19 years old
Supporting People With
Learning disability
Mental health
Autistic Spectrum
Physical impairment
Challenging Behaviour
Profound or Multiple Needs
Hearing impairment
Visual impairment

How to use this service

Referral Required?
Referral Details

Early Years Referrals to SENAS:

PVI settings should use a Trafford Single Agency Referral Form [SARF] to refer Early Years children to SENAS. SENAS PVI Referral - you will be able to upload the SARF, together with any accompanying paperwork and reports to support your referral. You also need to submit the Trafford EYFS Tracking Sheet at the same time. Any Early Years referrals from school nurseries need to be made via Liquid Logic.


Schools or other agencies can make a referral to SENAS for a specific child by using the Single Agency Referral Form (SARF). Details on how to do this can be found on the SARF to SENAS Liquid Logic guidance document.

Telephone advice is available on general issues which may lead to a referral for a specific child. Schools can also request more general support and training.

Last updated date:
28 September 2021

We strongly suggest contacting the service or activity before you use it. This way you can check all the details are correct and that everything is right for you. Trafford Directory disclaimer


Rated 4.75 out of 5
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Inclusive Nursery - Mandy Green

I cannot rate the SENAS Team highly enough!! My little boy Harry, has been delayed with speach and language, and also struggles with social and communication skills, Pauline Moore came into our lifes back in 2014 and the rest is history :-).  Harry was invited to spend his pre school nursery year in an inclusive nursery to help him with every day social and communication skills as well as speach and language, thats when we met the lovely Mandy Green.  Without Mandy's help, love, care and understanding (as well and mummy counciling skills!), Harry wouldnt be the kind, newly well spoken little boy that he is turning into today,  I have no doubt, that without Mandy and the SENAS team's care and commitment to Harry  he would still be struggling with everyday life,  I just wish I could take Mandy Green through the school years with Harry!... so, to the SENAS team, thank you so much for supporting Harry and us through his pre school learning....Caroline x 

Helpful Advice

We have regular visits from Pauline Moore and she has been very helpful and gives our team good advice and support. Pauline is a key link between our setting and parents keeping everyone informed. We appreciate all her help Tracy Marsh Manager Broussa Nursery

Fantastic team and service

Gill and Sharon, thank you so much for your support, experience and advice through a very difficult time for our family. Our son had a stroke nearly 3 years ago, just before he turned 2, following his second open-heart surgery and his and our lives changes forever. Cameron was left with permanent weakness down his right side that affects his walk, swallow, his arm and hand, co-ordination, balance and he will require further heart surgery in the future. Many months of rehab followed to get him talking and walking and making him aware he even had a right side. Never for a moment did I think it would be possible for him to re-join his normal nursery or go to mainstream school. This is where Gill come into the equation and helped us secure funding for Cameron’s nursery and then onwards into school. Gill really did hold our hand through the whole process as it is a minefield, and she knows just where all the mines are! She was also there for me when I shed a tear or two. Cameron is now flourishing in reception class at his fantastic mainstream school with his 121 carer helping him every step of the way! Gill/Sharon I cannot thank you enough, your input has been paramount in securing a better future for Cameron.

Pauline Moore - A Lifeline to Hope

Its devastating enough to discover your child has problems. Then to discover your ill prepared or equipped to give your child the help and support they need when time is of the essence, particularly when early intervention is the key, borders on despair. We cannot praise Pauline Moore highly enough for the help and support she has given our family during this difficult time. She has helped guide and direct us through the maze to ensure our little boy now has hope of reaching his full potential in life. It is rare in these days of tick boxes and lip service to find someone honest, with true conviction, who knows what needs to be done and does it as if the child were their own. We could not have dreamed of someone to help us who is more suited to the role, a true calling.