Associate Professor Philip Riley - Nat Sch of Education (Faculty of Education and Arts)

Fully accredited supervisor - Can supervise as principal supervisor

Phil Riley, a former school principal, spent 16 years in schools before moving to the tertiary sector. He researches the overlapping space of psychology, education and leadership, producing >200 publications and peer reviewed conference presentations. He has been awarded ~$8 million in research funding including 3 prestigious Australian Research Council (ARC) Grants. In 2010 Phila??s research was recognised with an inaugural Monash Researcher Accelerator award. This award funded the first two years of The Australian Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey, the first independent research project into principalsa?? occupational health and wellbeing. He has since won the Deana??s award for Excellence by an Early Career Researcher, and the award for Excellence in Innovation and External Collaboration, at Monash in 2011. In 2015, Phil won the International Study Association of Teachers and Teaching Award for Most Outstanding Article of 2014. He has presented 9 international Keynote addresses (Germany, Canada, Belgium, Ireland, France, Hungary and New Zealand) and 69 local Keynote addresses to industry groups in all states and territories. The Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey is now conducted in Australia, Ireland and New Zealand.


Phone :3730 (Melbourne)
URIs : Staff Directory ProfilePersonal Website

Research Interests

leadership, leader-member exchange ; teaching and psychological processes ; Interpersonal relationships within the ; classroom and in the staffroom ; impact of Attachment Styles on the leadership ; OH&S for School Leaders ;

Methods Expertise

Quantitative Research ; Longitudinal and cross-sectional designs ;

Research Projects

Selected Publications


The Australian Principal Health & Wellbeing Survey, in 2011 Data Final Report

The complexities of school leadership: Many boundaries to cross. , in In J. Langan-Fox & C. L. Cooper (Eds.), Boundary-Spanning in Organizations: Network, Influence, and Conflict. London: Routledge.

Bullying, stress and health in school principals and medical professionals: Experiences at the a??front-linea??, in In R. Burke, C. L. Cooper & S. Fox (Eds.), Human frailties: Wrong turns on the drive to success. London: Gower.


Attachment theory and the teachera??student relationship: A practical guide for teachers, teacher educators and school leaders., in Commissioned citation entry for International Encyclopedia of Men and Masculinities, Vol. 1, Flood, M., Kegan Gardiner, J. Pease, B., and Pringle K. (eds.) London: Routledge.

Other information

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Principal Health and Wellbeing research impact

a?? Initial Funding: Monash University Researcher Accelerator Award (2010-2013)
a?? Current Funding: ARC Linkage Project (LP160101056: 2016-2019) to extend the study to nine waves of data collection.

a?? Approximately 50% of Australian 25% of Irish and 20% of New Zealand principals have participated, demonstrating strong support for the research from within the industry.
a?? All national principal organisations are co-funding the research, along with the Teachers Health Fund, the industry health insurer in Australia. The recent success with the ARC Linkage Grant demonstrates strong support from the academy as well as the industry partners.

a?? Following the release of the 2014-16 research reports in Australia, there have been >2,300 media insertions, across TV, Radio, Print and on-line outlets discussing the findings. This extensive coverage reached ~10,000,000 Australians (~50% of the population) each year. The ACU media office reported no other research project has attracted this level of media coverage. The Irish report gained similar local media attention.

a?? Phil attended the Federal Education Ministersa?? 2017 School Leadership Roundtable. Facilitated by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), a??The Roundtable has been planned to develop understandings as to how the Australian Government can best support school principals.A It is envisaged that the Roundtable will be the starting point for broad consultation around principal preparation, including discussion of the pre-appointment certification of principals.a??
a?? Phila??s research has been debated in the Tasmanian parliament on April 29th 2015. The Tasmanian Education Minister publically committed to implementing all the recommendations from the 2015 principal health and wellbeing report in a written communique to all principals in conjunction with the Tasmanian Branch of the Australian Education Union and the Tasmanian Principals Association, delivered on June 5th, 2015.
a?? The Western Australian parliament debated Phila??s research on September 23rd, 2015. He briefed both the Minister and Shadow Minister for Education following the debate. He has since been asked to brief the WA DoE twice. They subsequently released a wellbeing strategy document in 2015, and a pilot wellbeing program for principals began in 2016.
a?? After the change of government in Victoria in November 2014, the new Education Ministera??s first pronouncement was to commit to better support for principals and appointment of a dedicated bureaucrat to oversee changes to policy and practice. Phil was one of the first people to brief this bureaucrat, at his request.
a?? Phil has personally advised every State Department of Education in Australia, Ireland and New Zealand on implementing new policies to address issues uncovered by the research, at their request.
a?? Better support for school principals became Green Party policy following an invited briefing to the then Education spokesperson, Senator Penny Wright in 2013.

a?? Immediate benefit to the education workforce came through two policy changes by the Teachers Health Fund, following the release of the 2014 research report.
o Reducing waiting periods for psychological services from 12 months to 6 weeks.
o Rebating telepschyology for remote area members.