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Prof. Barnes was responsible for several educational initiatives, including the development, with Prof Garth Johnson, the University Centre for Rehabilitation and Engineering Studies (CREST), a cross-faculty research and educational body responsible for the development of an MSc course as well as several short courses, study days and conferences. CREST is also a significant research organisation, having raised over £3.5m in research funding since its foundation.

​Between 1995 and 1995, he created an MSc Course in Rehabilitation Management at the University of Newcastle. Forty-five students qualified from a wide variety of professional backgrounds and from many different locations around the world. Prof. Barnes also created the University Certificate Course in Disability Studies and a University Certificate Course in Neurological Rehabilitation.

​Prof. Barnes also developed teaching courses for rehabilitation physicians and other clinicians in Eastern Europe, including a regular teaching course in Bosnia (funded by the European Union Tempus Fund), Latvia (in association with the Canadian Department of Development) and Moldova (funded by the Department for International Development). When President of the World Federation of NeuroRehabilitation, he led teaching initiatives in Mongolia, Siberia and West Africa.​

​Through Maple Tree Consultants, the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society, Drug Science and the Academy of Medical Cannabis, Prof. Barnes now teaches regularly on medical cannabis.

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