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What is CENMAC?

CENMAC is an advice and support service for pupils who have difficulties with communication and access to learning. We provide Assistive Technology to support and enable independence and inclusive education.


Is CENMAC a charity?

CENMAC is a self funding, local authority based service based at Charlton Park Academy in Greenwich.


Who can refer a pupil to CENMAC?

Anyone working with a pupil or the parent/carer can make the initial referral.


How do I make a referral?

We just need a few details about the pupil so that we can send the form out. You can call (020 8854 1019), email ( or use the online referral form on our website (


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What details do you need to make a referral?

We need:

  • The pupil’s name and DoB
  • Brief description of any barriers to their communication and/or learning
  • Their home borough
  • School name and address
  • SENCO’s email address

Can I refer anyone to you for help?

We support a variety of students, including those with a physical disability who have difficulty with written communication. We support students with spoken communication difficulties, as well as those who have challenges around accessing education. This includes a fairly wide range of students including those with an autistic spectrum disorder, dyspraxia, dyslexia, motor skills difficulties, sensory impairments or AAC users.


I need a laptop for my son/daughter
– will you supply it?

CENMAC will assess your child’s needs and if appropriate will loan suitable assistive technology but a laptop may not be the best solution. We have a wide range of equipment available to suit the individual needs of pupils. It may be advisable to look at what software the pupil needs access to rather than the hardware and if it is already available in school.


What happens if the loan equipment
stops working?

Contact CENMAC immediately and we will give you initial advice to check over the phone if it is something easily fixed. If the problem can’t be resolved, we will arrange repair or replacement machine/equipment.


What happens when my
son’s/daughter’s needs change?

Following the initial assessment CENMAC reviews pupils annually and, should their requirements change, replace equipment for something more appropriate at that time. Schools can also request CENMAC to review the pupil earlier if they consider it appropriate.


How long does the referral process take?

This is not an easy question to answer as it depends on so many variables. Generally the quicker the school completes and returns the paperwork the quicker an approach to the pupil’s home LA can be made.


Do you have a waiting list?

Yes, once agreement has been given by the pupil’s home LA their name is added to the waiting list so that assessments are carried out in a fair way. If a pupil has a deteriorating condition they will be given a high priority. Generally we aim to assess pupils within about 6 weeks of their name being added to the waiting list.


Are you open all year?

We are open during term time only. To confirm dates please check our website.


Do you have a website?

Yes, you can find our website at There is information about CENMAC, case studies and help sheets on a wide variety of topics as well as many other useful features.


Do you cover the whole of the country?

CENMAC works mainly within the inner London Boroughs. Most of these inner London Boroughs subscribe to the CENMAC service. Pupils living in a subscribing borough can access the full range of the CENMAC service (i.e. assessment and loan of appropriate equipment). Individual, organisation and training packages are available on request.


What happens if I live in a borough
which does not subscribe?

CENMAC can carry out a private assessment which is a thorough assessment of the pupil’s needs leading to a written report and shopping list of suitable hardware and software tailored to that pupil’s needs. We also offer a number of other packages which include loaning of equipment. Please enquire.

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Can my son/daughter use the service
if they attend a school outside of
their home borough?

Provided the home LA has approved the referral the pupil can receive support if they attend a school within the M25 area.


Can we still receive support if we move
outside of a subscribing LA?

This does depend upon the circumstances at the time but if a pupil has been receiving support the new LA could be approached to request funding for the support to continue.


When should I refer a pupil to CENMAC?

As soon as possible as CENMAC supports early intervention as this can prevent any future difficulties with recording. We support pupils in the age range of 0 to 25 years. Some LAs only accept pupils who have a Statement of Special Education Needs.

However, CENMAC will assess any pupil who has a possible need for Assistive Technology.


Does CENMAC provide communication devices?

We are able to loan start out communication devices, usually in tandem with an access device such as a switch or touch device, to allow the pupil to demonstrate ‘communication intent’. This also allows them to use the device that is appropriate for them at this time. When appropriate we will support applying to one of the AAC hubs for ongoing dedicated communication devices.


What happens if the loan equipment
is lost or damaged?

If the equipment is lost an invoice will be issued for the replacement cost. CENMAC relies on being able to get the maximum use out of each piece of equipment and cannot afford to write off lost equipment. The same applies to any damaged items other than where there is genuine wear and tear.


Can my son/daughter bring the loan
equipment home to use for their homework?

In some circumstances equipment is allowed home for the pupil’s use however permission must be obtained from the school and a home indemnity form must be completed before the equipment is allowed off the school premises. The responsibility of this arrangement is made with the school.


You loaned equipment to a pupil in my class but they
are not using it – what should I do?

CENMAC will ask to see evidence that the equipment is being used at each review and shortly after any new equipment is delivered. If you are aware of any CENMAC equipment that is not being used regularly please call to let us know. Any unused equipment should be returned promptly so that it can be made ready for another pupil to use. We may need to look at the needs of the pupil again and see if there is another option available or suggest different strategies. We are happy to help in these