Patron of the Progress Educational Trust (PET), Baroness Mary Warnock, has been awarded the highest honour in the New Year's Honours list, having been made a Companion of Honour for her 'services to charity and children with special educational needs'.
Baroness Warnock chaired the Committee of Enquiry into the Education of Handicapped Children and Young People, which published an influential report on special educational needs in 1978 that led to the Education Act 1981.
Outlining her achievements, the New Year's Honours list states: 'The resulting transformation of the special educational system has had a significant impact on the lives of children and their families, ensuring that many children with special needs have been educated in mainstream schools alongside their peer group.'
Baroness Warnock also chaired the Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilisation and Embryology, whose 1984 report proposed establishing a regulatory body that later become the HFEA and also laid the foundations of the UK's regulatory approach to assisted conception and embryo research. More recently, Baroness Warnock has spoken on whether the 14-day limit on human embryo research – proposed by 1984 report and incorporated into UK law in 1990 – should be extended, opening PET's 2016 annual conference and writing in the current issue of BioNews.
A top award also went to Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, a pioneer of genetic fingerprinting, who was made a Companion of Honour 'for services to medical research and society'. Meanwhile, Ted Webb, a civil servant in the UK Government's Department of Health, was awarded an OBE 'for services to health science' and Dr Jim Smith, director of science at the Wellcome Trust, received a knighthood.