“I am daring to dream that we have reached or are close to reaching a tipping point in Australian education where a growing appetite for change by most if not all stakeholders can be leveraged for rapid improvement in the system.”

Associate Professor Philip Riley

Chief Investigator, The Australian Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey​



An overwhelming body of research is highlighting the excessive stress and
duress faced by Australian educators. Along with a growing number of
K-12 education stakeholders, we argue that this is a critical challenge and
requires immediate attention at multiple levels. An important research project in this area is The Principal Health and Wellbeing Survey which has run nationally every year since 2011.

In addition to directly exploring the health and wellbeing of school leaders, the survey has important implications for all staff and broader school communities. Since the project began, approximately 40% of Australia’s 10,000 principals have taken part. The aim of this research project is to conduct a longitudinal study monitoring school principals and deputy/assistant principals’ health and wellbeing annually. Wellbeing in differing school types, levels and size is also monitored along with lifestyle choices such as exercise and diet and the professional and personal social support networks available to individuals.

The research acknowledges that principals, deputy/assistant principals and teachers are Australia’s nation builders. They need to be well resourced, not just logistically, but also emotionally and intellectually. The Finnish experience suggests that if we too can make courageous decisions about our national future we can also make it happen. It is time we began the conversation in earnest. The reports for this survey are available at http://www.principalhealth.org/au/reports.php.


The Wellbeing Toolkit has been developed by NESLI in consultation with a cross-section of Australian K-12 stakeholders.​

The Wellbeing Toolkit is partially funded by the Australian School of Applied Management. ASAM will provide $750,000 of seed funding over the next 3 years.​

The Wellbeing Toolkit responds to the insights and recommendations flowing from the Principal Health & Wellbeing Survey.​

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Office of the National Director
National Excellence in School Leadership Initiative, NESLI
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Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia


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