By Sally McKeown

Lorraine PetersenLorraine PetersenLorraine Petersen has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for her services to education. Lorraine is chief executive of nasen (National Association for Special Educational Needs) and has worked in mainstream and special schools both as a teacher and head.

With over 25 years’ practical experience, she is widely recognised as an expert on special needs and is a well known keynote speaker, campaigning for the most vulnerable children in the education system.

Nasen is perhaps best known to teachers and publishers for its annual awards. There are now nine separate categories recognising excellence in ICT accessibility, research to support professional development and inclusive classroom resources to ensure children with special needs can access as wide a curriculum as possible.

Lorraine Petersen joined nasen in 1995 as a volunteer, and held many offices including national treasurer before being appointed as chief executive officer in 2004. She has ensured nasen has become a leading voice in the development of SEN policy and practice and is consulted by the DCSF, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) and the Training and Development Agency (TDA).

Lorraine has long been keen to improve the status of the Senco (special needs co-ordinator) and it will be interesting to see if her award raises their profile in schools.

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