Barry Carpenter, of Chaddesley Corbett in Worcestershire, has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters after showing incredible commitment to education for children with special needs across his 40-year career.
Barry has a life-long association with Oxford Brookes University, notably the Harcourt Hill Campus from his days as a student at Westminster College (as it was then known) between 1973 and 1976. He was then a Principal Lecturer from 1992 until 1997, during which time he established the Centre for the Study of Special Education.
Barry said: “My career began and ended with Oxford Brookes, as a student on the Harcourt Hill Campus during the 1970s and finally as Professor of Mental Health in Education, a personal Chair created in response to the national crisis in children’s mental wellbeing. “It has been a life enriching, career shaping association for me, enabling me to promote the love I have of teaching society’s most vulnerable children. I am profoundly moved that the University has chosen to acknowledge this lifelong association, and the impact of the career they prepared me for.”
Barry is the UK’s first Professor in Mental Health in Education, which is a Chair created for him at Oxford Brookes. Barry has also been a Fellow of the University of Oxford. In July 2020 he was awarded the distinguished Fellowship of the Chartered College of Teaching, for his leadership in the field of Education during the Covid-19 pandemic. Barry has also been awarded an OBE and CBE by the Queen for his services to children with special needs.
In 2009, Barry was appointed as National Director of the Children with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Research Project, by the Secretary of State for Education. His work on Engagement as Pedagogy has recently been revisited by the Department for Education, and is now the statutory model of assessment for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
Away from his professional life, Barry has three children. His son is School Principal of Baxter College in Worcestershire; his youngest daughter, also an Oxford Brookes graduate, is a Senior Occupational Therapist in Mental Health. His third child, who has Down’s syndrome, now has a home of her own and published her first book in 2017. She was on an apprenticeship as a teaching assistant; however she has since decided to become an actress!