Profile image of Phil Riley

Prof Phil Riley



Honorary Professor


Faculty of Arts and Education


School of Education


Off-Campus (Home)


Doctor of Philosophy, La Trobe University, 2008
Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), Deakin University, 2003
Bachelor of Education (Primary), University of Melbourne, 1989
Diploma of Teaching (Primary), University of Melbourne, 1987


A former school principal, Phil Riley spent 16 years in schools before moving to the tertiary sector. He researches the overlapping space of psychology, education and leadership, producing over 200 publications and peer-reviewed conference presentations. He has been awarded over $8 million in research funding including three prestigious Australian Research Council (ARC) Grants.

Phil’s research was recognised with an inaugural Monash University Researcher Accelerator award in 2010. This award funded the first two years of The Australian Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey, the first independent research project into principals’ occupational health and wellbeing. He has since won the Dean’s Award for Excellence by an Early Career Researcher, and the award for Excellence in Innovation and External Collaboration, at Monash University in 2011.

In 2015, Phil won the International Study Association of Teachers and Teaching (ISATT) Award for Most Outstanding Article of 2014 with his co-author Andrea Gallant. In 2017, Phil won the Australian Council for Educational Leadership (ACEL) Researcher of the Year Award.

Phil has presented international Keynote addresses in Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa, and over 100 invited Keynote addresses to industry groups in all states and territories of Australia.

Phil has provided regular, detailed school leadership advice to every department of education in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, including the federal government via the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) Leadership Roundtable. Phil also provides regular advice to the International Confederation of Principals’ Executive.

The Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey is now conducted in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and most recently Finland.

Read more on Phil's profile

Biography summary

Phil Riley is Professor of Education Leadership at Deakin University's Research for Educational Impact (REDI) strategic research centre, where he researches the overlapping space of psychology, education and leadership.

He is the Director and Chief Investigator for the Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey, Australia’s first truly independent research project mapping the occupational health, safety and wellbeing of the nation’s educational leaders. This annual longitudinal survey was developed in response to growing concerns about principal and teacher welfare and is conducted in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and most recently Finland.

Research interests

For the past nine years I have been the Chief Investigator and Director of the annual Principal Health and Wellbeing Surveys in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and most recently Finland. The research is focussed on OH&S/ Wellbeing issues for principals and aspirant leaders, and has recently expanded to include teachers in the Northern Territory and New Zealand. The research is underpinned conceptually by the Job Demands and Resources (JD-R) Theory. However, I have extended JD-R theory, to include the relationships between school leaders, teachers and students, through combining concepts from Attachment Theory to JD-R. I am particularly focussed on the cognitive, behavioural, affective and existential dimensions of leadership.

  1. Occupational health, safety and wellbeing of school leaders and teachers
  2. Organisational culture
  3. The overlap between leadership, leader-member exchange and psychological processes
  4. Interpersonal relationships within the classroom and in the staffroom
  5. The impact of Attachment Styles on the leadership of teachers and students
  6. The “secure base” as a mediator between school leadership and teachers’ coping

I strive to allow the benefits of my research findings to flow out into industry and the community rapidly, by producing detailed annual reports released into the public domain. The reports have generated significant discussion among policy makers (substantiated by invitations to brief every department of education in the country annually since 2014) and the general public see Media Impact below). My knowledge translation strategy is to deliver the important findings and new knowledge rapidly, through industry publications and keynote speeches, while the slower process of producing high quality academic outputs progresses.

To this end, the strategies I repeatedly use to achieve my research goals are to:

  1. Secure sufficient funding through industry collaboration around significant projects;
  2. Find the right research collaborators to conduct the work;
  3. Rapidly produce significant research outputs for industry partners and highest quality outputs for the academy; and,
  4. Produce high quality academic publications.

These strategies are now the Australian federal government’s preferred research career model. I am therefore extremely well placed in the current milieu. My track record of identifying and addressing telling research questions drawn from on-going industry collaborations has created the platform for a significant international expansion of the work and will help to position Deakin University at the forefront of this important development. Pursuing this strategy has brought national and international recognition as an eminent authority in school principal health and wellbeing, and I provide intellectual leadership beyond this specific area of research, through increasing recognition as a public intellectual, evidenced by over 70 keynote addresses in six countries, and regular contact by journalists for comment on these and related issues.

To summarise: I am recognised as an international research leader who garners high levels of engagement from industry partners, and produces research that creates significant industry impact, participant benefit and academic recognition.


Advisory panel memberships

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (School Leadership Roundtable)
Queensland Department of Education (Teaching Queensland’s Future Program)
South Australian Department of Education (Principal Health and Wellbeing Strategy Reference Group)
Victorian Department of Education and Training (Principal Health and Wellbeing Strategy Reference Group)

Board memberships

FuelEd Schools, USA
Creating a Safe School Environment CASSE

Professional memberships

Research for Educational Impact (REDI)
American Psychological Association (APA)
American Educational Research Association (AERA)
Australian Psychological Society (APS)
Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)
Golden Key International Honour Society (Deakin Chapter)
Imaginative Education Research Group (IERG)
Learning in Depth (LiD)
National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU)

Professional activities



Filter by


The New Zealand Primary Teacher Occupational Health Safety and Wellbeing Survey: 2021 Data

Mark Rahimi, Ben Arnold, Marcus Horwood, Philip Riley

(2022), Geelong, Vic., A6

research report/technical paper

The New Zealand Primary Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Survey: 2021 Data

Ben Arnold, Mark Rahimi, Marcus Horwood, Philip Riley

(2022), Geelong, Vic., A6

research report/technical paper

The New Zealand Secondary Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Survey: 2021 Data

Ben Arnold, Mark Rahimi, Marcus Horwood, Philip Riley

(2022), Geelong, Vic., A6

research report/technical paper

"Wasting time talking to students and parents": Neoliberal efficiency myths about principal discretionary time use in Australia

P Riley

(2021), pp. 141-156, How School Principals Use Their Time: Implications for School Improvement, Administration and Leadership, London, Eng., B1

book chapter

What about school principals' well-being? The role of social capital

S Beausaert, D Froehlich, P Riley, A Gallant

(2021), Educational Management Administration and Leadership, C1

journal article

Burning Passion, Burning Out: The Passionate School Principal, Burnout, Job Satisfaction, and Extending the Dualistic Model of Passion

M Horwood, H Marsh, P Parker, P Riley, J Guo, T Dicke

(2021), Vol. 113, pp. 1668-1688, Journal of Educational Psychology, C1

journal article

Working through the first year of the pandemic: a snapshot of Australian school leaders' work roles and responsibilities and health and wellbeing during covid-19

B Arnold, M Rahimi, P Riley

(2021), Vol. 53, pp. 301-309, Journal of Educational Administration and History, C1

journal article

Job satisfaction of teachers and their principals in relation to climate and student achievement

T Dicke, H Marsh, P Parker, J Guo, P Riley, J Waldeyer

(2020), Vol. 112, pp. 1061-1073, Journal of educational psychology, Washington, D.C., C1-1

journal article

Validating the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ-II) using set-ESEM: Identifying psychosocial risk factors in a sample of school principals

T Dicke, H Marsh, P Riley, P Parker, J Guo, M Horwood

(2018), Vol. 9, Frontiers in Psychology, Switzerland, C1-1

journal article

Early career teacher attrition in Australia: inconvenient truths about new public management

A Gallant, P Riley

(2017), pp. 1-18, Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, Abingdon, Eng., C1

journal article

Emotional demands, emotional labour and occupational outcomes in school principals: modelling the relationships

A Maxwell, P Riley

(2017), Vol. 45, pp. 484-502, Educational management administration and leadership, London, Eng., C1-1

journal article

Effects of support on stress and burnout in school principals

S Beausaert, D Froehlich, C Devos, P Riley

(2016), Vol. 58, pp. 347-365, Educational research, Abingdon, Eng., C1-1

journal article

Social connection: empathy and mentalization for teachers

P Swan, P Riley

(2015), Vol. 33, pp. 220-233, Pastoral care in education, Abingdon, Eng., C1-1

journal article

Early career teacher attrition: new thoughts on an intractable problem

A Gallant, P Riley

(2014), Vol. 18, pp. 562-580, Teacher development, London, Eng., C1

journal article

The emotional labour of the aspirant leader: traversing school politics

A Gallant, P Riley

(2013), pp. 81-97, Emotion and school: understanding how the hidden curriculum influences relationships, leadership, teaching and learning, Bingley, England, B1

book chapter

Afterword: The teaching fantasia

M Newberry, A Gallant, P Riley

(2013), Vol. 18, pp. 271-277, Emotion and School: Understanding how the Hidden Curriculum Influences Relationships, Leadership, Teaching, and Learning, B1

book chapter

The complexities of school leadership: Many boundaries to cross

P Riley

(2013), pp. 187-205, Boundary-Spanning in Organizations: Network, Influence, and Conflict, B1-1

book chapter

Attachment theory, teacher motivation & pastoral care: A challenge for teachers and academics

P Riley

(2013), Vol. 31, pp. 112-129, Pastoral Care in Education, C1-1

journal article

Investigating teachers' explanations for aggressive classroom discipline strategies in China and Australia

P Riley, R Lewis, B Wang

(2012), Vol. 32, pp. 389-403, Educational Psychology, C1-1

journal article

The impact of teachers' aggressive management techniques on students' attitudes to schoolwork

S Romi, R Lewis, J Roache, P Riley

(2011), Vol. 104, pp. 231-240, Journal of Educational Research, C1

journal article

Measuring student support for participative assessment and related strategies: Development and testing of the beliefs about participative assessment instrument (BAPAI)

C Brew, P Riley

(2011), Vol. 36, pp. 33-52, Australian Journal of Teacher Education, Perth, W.A., C1-1

journal article

Attachment theory and the teacher-student relationship: A practical guide for teachers, teacher educators and school leaders

P Riley

(2010), A1-1


Why did you do that? Teachers explain the use of legal aggression in the classroom

P Riley, R (Rom) Lewis, C Brew

(2010), Vol. 26, pp. 957-964, Teaching and Teacher Education, C1

journal article

Leading professional learning in schools: Emotion in action

J Mitchell, P Riley, J Loughran

(2010), Vol. 14, pp. 533-547, Teacher Development, C1

journal article

Education students and their teachers: Comparing views on participative assessment practices

C Brew, P Riley, C Walta

(2009), Vol. 34, pp. 641-657, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, C1

journal article

The development and testing of a time-limited mentoring model for experienced school leaders

P Riley

(2009), Vol. 17, pp. 233-249, Mentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, C1

journal article

An adult attachment perspective on the student-teacher relationship & classroom management difficulties

P Riley

(2009), Vol. 25, pp. 626-635, Teaching and Teacher Education, C1

journal article

Funded Projects at Deakin

Other Public Sector Funding

Principal Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Hon Prof Phil Riley

Department of Education - Qld

  • 2019: $250,000

Evaluating the impact of professional wellbeing conversations on teacher wellbeing.

Hon Prof Phil Riley, Dr Mark Rahimi, Dr Ben Arnold

NT Dept of Education

  • 2022: $15,326
  • 2021: $55,339

Industry and Other Funding

The NZ Teacher and Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey.

Hon Prof Phil Riley, Dr Mark Rahimi, Dr Ben Arnold

New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa Inc

  • 2021: $97,000
  • 2020: $532
  • 2019: $84,500

Critical Friend - Addressing teacher and other school staff abuse.

Hon Prof Phil Riley, Dr Mark Rahimi, Dr Ben Arnold

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership

  • 2020: $75,000

New Zealand Secondary Principals and Area School Principals Health and Wellbing Survey.

Hon Prof Phil Riley, Dr Ben Arnold, Dr Mark Rahimi

New Zealand Post Primary Teachers Association Te Wehengarua (PPTA Te Wehengarua)

  • 2022: $11,351
  • 2021: $11,449
  • 2020: $17,728

Similiarities and differences between state and territory results from the Australian Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey 2018 and 2019.

Hon Prof Phil Riley, Dr Ben Arnold, Dr Mark Rahimi

Australian Government Primary Principals Association

  • 2021: $16,678
  • 2020: $25,017

Independent analysis of data provided by NESLI.

Hon Prof Phil Riley, Dr Ben Arnold, Dr Mark Rahimi

National Excellence in School Leadership Institute Pty Ltd (NESLI)

  • 2021: $25,000


No completed student supervisions to report