Barry Carpenter is the UK’s first Professor in Mental Health in Education, a Chair created for him at Oxford Brookes University. He is Honorary Professor at universities in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Australia. He has 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 of the Education field during the pandemic.

He has been awarded an OBE and CBE by the Queen for services to children with Special Needs. In 2017 he was entered into “Who’s Who” in acknowledgement of his national and international contribution to the field of Special Education.

In a career spanning more than 40 years, Barry has held the leadership positions of Headteacher, Principal, Academic Director, Chief Executive, and Director of the Centre for Special Education at Westminster College, Oxford. In 2009, he was appointed by the Secretary of State for Education as Director of the Children with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Research Project. Since completing that research, Barry has overseen the development of a national project developing online ‘Training materials for teachers of children with severe, profound and complex learning disabilities” (www.complexneeds.org.uk)

He is the author of over 200 articles and many texts on a range of learning disability/special needs topics.) His co-authored book , “Engaging Learners with Complex Needs” (Routledge),which outlined his research around Engagement as pedagogy . This has been further developed by the Rochford Review as model for statutory summative assessment, with legislation to enshrine this due in September this year .

Barry lectures nationally and internationally. In recent years this has included China, Japan, Dubai, Australia  , New Zealand , USA, and Germany.  He is the co-founder of the National Forum for Neuroscience in Special Education. For the Mental Health Foundation, he Chaired the National Inquiry into the Mental Health of Young People with Learning Disabilities. He Chaired the National Forum on Girls and Autism ,which led to the publication in 2019  of his new, critically  acclaimed ,co -authored book on this subject.

At the start of the global pandemic Barry became very concerned about the impact of the crisis on the mental health of children  . With his son, Matthew  , Principal of Baxter College , Worcestershire , he wrote the Recovery Curriculum Think Piece (www.recoverycurriculum.org) .To date this has had over 250,000 hits on the host websites, and has guided many schools, agencies and Government Departments,  in planning for the recovery and resilience of their children , post pandemic.

34 thoughts on “About”

  1. Barry, I was delighted to meet you at the St Petersburg ISEI Conference, and particularly pleased that you were addressing FASD in the Russian context. But I find that I didn’t take your contact details – perhaps you’d be kind enough to email me? Hope to hear from you! Best wishes, Armorer Wason

    1. Hi Armorer,

      Good to hear from you. St Petersburg was a positive experience.I was glad that i accepted the invitation. I met lots of really interesting people, such as yourself. Have you told Philippa that we met?
      I am busy preparing for a lecture tour of Australia , which will take place during the whole of September. The new FASD book will be launched out there, and then in London on 7th November , if you are free.
      Kind wishes,


  2. Hi Barry
    Hope all is well.
    We are working on a project for the DfE (the BOND Consortium) to improve the emotional well being of children at school.We’re planning a conference on October 25th with a speciic focus on children with learning disabilities, resilience and helping staff with early intervention and prevention stategies. We would be delighted if you’re free to speak .The venue is in Staffordshire and the event is for orgnaisations.and participants from the NHS ,schools, CAMHS and local voluntary sectors.
    My contact e mail address is bmcintosh@fpld.org.uk-just didn’t have an up to date e mail for you.
    Warm Wishes
    Barbara McIntosh
    The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilties

    1. Dear Barbara,

      How good to hear from you.

      It is funny how things go. Emotional well being is coming into its own!
      In September I am on a lecture tour of Australia, and the theme? Mental Health and Emotional Well Being!
      Indeed I have a new book out on FASD and Interdisciplinary Approaches next month too, and a major focus is Mental Health and FASD.

      Delighted to know that the DfE is interested in the topic.

      I am free on 25th October, but not until late morning/ early afternoon. Can you let me know how long the lecture would be for , and then I can let you know my fee.
      I can travel to Staffordshire from home in Worcestershire. How are you structuring the day?

      Do I read that Christine has moved on?

      I shall look forward to seeing you again, very much.

      Kindest wishes,

      Professor Barry Carpenter, OBE, PhD

  3. Hi Barry, Thanks for the new book on FASD with your co-editors. Is there anything happening in the justice space in UK and Ireland re FASD? From my research online the answer appears to be “No” . It appears that efforts are focused on education, prevention and research. Perhaps you could suggest an individual lawyer/academic or organisation with whom I could follow up on the issue.
    cheers CC

  4. Dear Barry,

    May I say how very helpful your training modules have been. Thank you for this resource which I believe will be incredibly helpful to teachers in developing excellent SEN practice.

    I am presenting at a joint special schools inset on Friday 14th March, and would very much appreciate permission to show one of the videos (in which Keith Park is leading a call and response session). Are you happy for this clip to be used?

    Many thanks,

    Sarah Keelty
    Class teacher

    1. Dear Sarah,

      I was delighted to read your positive feedback about the module material. so much work , time and energy went into those modules, and it has taken a while for teachers to become aware of them and their potential.
      Yes of course please use them – let me know how it goes.
      You will find articles on my website that support some of the Complex Needs issues; again you are free to use those as handouts or reference the website for further back up.
      All the best,

      1. Dear Barry,
        Thank you for your permission to use the video. It went down really well (and I managed to get a room of 200 to join in enthusiastically with a bit of call and response!) I believe it generated a good deal of excitement for interactive storytelling and also raised awareness of your training modules. It was my headteacher, Liz Hayward, who introduced them to me in the first place, so I do hope lots of other heads do the same!
        Incidentally, Les Staves was also at the training that day and later told Keith he had seen a lovely video of him at work… I think Keith is after a copy now!
        Thank you –

      2. Dear Sarah,
        I am so pleased that your training day went well. Which module/level is the clip in that you used; I reviewed so many it all became a blur!!
        If ever you want any follow up , or lecture around the professional Learning framework that encompasses the modules do let me know.

        All good wishes,


  5. hi
    I was lucky enough to at your key note speech at NAHT conference a couple of weeks ago.
    WE are looking (like many) at our curriculum and the appropriateness of it. ON your poerpoint you had a model fro research which I felt would support my teachers in their research/thinking. Is there the possiblility that I could have a copy of that particular slide?

    thanks Dawn Wigley Head Teacher Ash Lea School Nottinghamshire

  6. Wow Barry I just saw your name connected to a book review ‘Their name is today’. I wondered if it was the same BC who lectured on Differentiation at Westminster in the early 90s. Amazing to read of how you have moved on; an OBE too! Brilliant! You were always so inspiring, I still think of you whenever we talk about differentiation at school. You helped me get a first for my dissertation ‘The asthmatic child; bridging the national curriculum gap’. Hope you and your family are all well. Maybe see you on a teaching conference one day! Sue Whitworth.

    1. Hi Sue,
      Yes I am he! So pleased that you remember me . I remember that dissertation too, for the unique perspective you took. I am working freelance now , and acting as the main carer for my wife who is seriously ill. I do travel for Education Conferences. In fact I will be at the TES Special Needs show in London on Saturday 11th October. As you will see I also have the website, and post anything I publish on there. My next , and final book , on Children with Complex Needs will come out in February 2015. Where are you teaching? All good wishes, Barry

  7. Hi Barry,

    It’s a few years since we met but I thought I should let you know about Special World (www.specialworld.net), a new international digital magazine for the SEN community that I am editing. It was launched in September and its second issue will appear in January 2015 to coincide with BETT in London and ATiA in Orlando. Be sure to get in touch if you have news, features or similar on FASD that you would like to contribute. You can email me at Mick.Archer@SpecialWorld.net

  8. Hi Barry I attended your Saturday FASD session in August Brisbane 2014. Could i please have a contact for the diagnostic tool available in Australia and administered by a qualified Pysch. Thanks

  9. Hi Barry
    I work in an independent boys’ school in Adelaide, and I was fortunate to hear you speak at a Special Education Conference in Adelaide in 2013. Something you spoke about in your Keynote has resonated so strongly with me that I am interested in pursuing it within the Australian context.
    You spoke about the links between pre-term births and special educational needs. I have read several articles, that all seem to focus on research conducted in the UK. Do you know if anyone has done a comparative study in Australia?
    I am very interested in action research, and am eager to find out if there is any way I can be involved at some level in school-based research. My school is also committed to Positive Psychology and Well Being, which I believe may also be impacted upon due to poorer academic achievement and relative immaturity in pre-term children.
    Any guidance or information you could provide will be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you for such an interesting Keynote.

    1. Dear Louise,
      Thank you for your kind comments and interest in the topic of prematurity There continues to be a significant body of work indicating the impact on the learning pathways of the child born extremely prematurely , e.g. pre 28 weeks gestation .
      There are indeed some Australian studies, which have shown that there are some 20, 000 premature births per year in Australia. The Women’s Hospital in Melbourne has carried out studies. There is som e valuable ongoing work out of Adelaide University by Dr Julia Pritchard, about the impact of prematurity once the student reaches the teenage years; this may be particularly relevant to your context. There have been some excellent Antipodean studies conducted by Dr Louise Woodward. I suggest you google for some of their latest work .
      You ay also wish to contact a Paediatrician friend of mine , Dr Paul Hutchins , at the Children’s Hospital , Sydney . He is always a fount of knowledge about the most recent work in the field – paul.hutchins@health.nsw.gov.au
      I wish you success ; it is important that we have not only action research ,. but translational research where teachers such as yourself look at how the key findings from other disciplines impact on our work in schools and classrooms.
      Barry Carpenter

  10. Hi Barry, it was lovely to meet you and Katy on Tuesday. I hope the afternoon with Hugh and lunch was good. We just about made it in time to see David Laws then missed our train home which was then delayed! What a day to travel. Very Best Wishes. Barbara Cassidy

    1. Dear Barbara,

      It was a pleasure to meet you too, and Katie and I enjoyed the conversation. The performance at Sadlers Wells was marvellous; Katie was enthralled, and she got to have her photograph taken with Hugh Grant at the Reception.
      I hope that your meeting at the department was profitable.
      Hopefully David H will be in touch , and we can follow up some of our conversations.
      Warmest wishes,

  11. Hello Barry,
    I am sorry to have missed your talks on Children with Complex Needs – The New Generation Challenge in February. I was wondering if you would be repeating it at another location so that I may attend that.

    1. Hi Kelly,
      I think I am due to speak at the SSAt SEN Conference on 1st July , and that will be a similar lecture.

      Also I am not sure if you are aware but our new book on ‘ Engaging Learners with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities” ( Routledge), is now out , and that will certainly contain all of the information you require.

      Kind regards,


  12. Recently heard you speak at SEBDA conference in Birmingham and it was fascinating to listen to you speak on FASD. Is there anywhere local to Walsall that you are talking on this topic again

  13. Hello,
    I met you at the OSIRIS SEN Conference a couple of weeks ago when your words made me well up – I am the lady whose son was born at 24 weeks and had to go private to look into ADHD. I have just had the assessment and he has been offered a therapeutic trial of the lowest dose of Medikinet. My ex husband, however, refuses to agree to drugs as he thinks it’s like giving him cocaine. Are you able to offer me some advice or point me in the direction of useful information concerning Ritalin type drugs, please? I am terribly sorry to ask this.
    Thank you,

    1. Dear Felicity,

      Yes , of course , I remember you from the Conference, and the look we exchanged when i spoke of prematurely born children. I hope you looked at the info I prepared for teachers on my website , and http://complexld.ssatrust.org.uk

      As I am not a Medical Doctor , I think it would be unethical of me to comment on the use of medication for your son.
      May I recommend that you contact the national charity , BLISS, and see if they have any advice.

      Kind regards,

      Barry Carpenter.

  14. I would be very interested to have a discussion regarding Education. If you take a look at our website, it would give you an idea of the work we do. Many thanks Anne .

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