A DEDICATED learning disabilities academic has been handed a CBE for his work in the Queen’s New Year honours list.

Professor Barry Carpenter, who lives in Chaddesley Corbett and has an adult daughter with Down’s Syndrome, was awarded the gong for his services to special educational needs.

He holds honorary chairs at the Universities of Worcestershire, Limerick, Hamburg, and Flinders (in Australia), and is an acknowledged international expert in caring for people with learning disabilities. He had previously been awarded an OBE.

A former head teacher in Essex, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, he is chair of the advisory board of care providers MyLife and Montreux Healthcare, and an advisor to Health Education England.

The former Rowley Regis Grammar School pupil has published over 100 academic articles and ten books on special needs, and lectures around the world on supporting people with complex needs develop a full and rich life in their community.

He has developed a ‘Six Pillars’ therapeutic approach for caring for people with learning difficulties consisting of providing “pillars” of transformation, quality housing, personalised care, wellbeing, evidence-based practice, and engaged living to service users.

His 31-year-old daughter Katie, who has Down’s syndrome, lives in her own home and volunteers at two charity shops, attends college and works on a project with publisher Books Beyond Words.

His son Matthew is vice principal of the RSA Academy at Tipton, and other daughter Grace is a senior occupational therapist in child mental health for Dudley Health Authority.

Barry is married to Sue, a former primary school teacher also specialising in children with special needs and they have three grandchildren: Beatrice, Barnaby and Bertie.

Barry studied singing at Birmingham Conservatoire and directed a Benjamin Britten opera with local children at Chaddesley Corbett this year. In 2016 he will appear as Caiaphas in a village production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

He said: “It’s a great honour to receive this recognition. I know as a father how much attitudes towards caring for people with learning disabilities have changed hugely in the 30 years I’ve been working in the area, and overwhelmingly for the better.

“Everybody in the sector works amazingly hard but there’s still a lot to do, particularly as the demographic trends show there will be more and more people with disabilities who need help in the community.”

He also thanked his family for their support and help.

Oliver Harris, managing partner of Montreux Healthcare, said: “This is great news. As chair of our advisory board, Barry’s judgement and knowledge is the cornerstone of our approach.

“The unparalleled depth of his experience, as an academic, frontline worker and father is vital to our work and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honour.”