Professor Klaus Wedell will leave London University's Institute of Education next month while Professor Peter Mittler, director of the education department at Manchester University, retires at the end of August. Both are childhood refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe who later studied psychology together at Cambridge.
They went on to help bring about a new deal for children with special needs in the 1970s and early 80s which saw a move away from the medically-dominated view with its emphasis on institutional care, towards placing disability more fully in the world of education.
Professor Mittler came to Manchester in 1973 as director of the Hester Adrian Research Centre, based at the university. Professor Wedell has been at the institute since 1979 when he was appointed to the first chair in special educational needs.
Klaus Wedell will be replaced by Brahm Norwich, currently chair of special educational needs at the London Institute. Peter Mittler's post at Manchester will be taken by Mel Ainscow, who moves from the Cambridge Institute of Education.