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Professor Dawn Penney


Contact Information Telephone: +61 8 6304 2339, Email:, Campus: Mount Lawley, Room: ML17.231
Staff Member Details
Telephone: +61 8 6304 2339
Campus: Mount Lawley  
Room: ML17.231  


Dawn is a professorial research fellow in the School of Education, leading research project developments addressing quality and equity in health and physical education, physical activity and sport.


Dawn has held senior positions in universities in the UK, New Zealand and Australia. She is an Adjunct Professor of Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy at Monash University and an Honorary visiting research fellow with Loughborough University, UK. Dawn has worked with government agencies, curriculum authorities, schools and sport organisations in collaborative research and evaluation projects addressing policy and curriculum development in health and physical education, and the provision of physical activity and sport for young people. Dawn’s experience beyond universities includes sport development and coach education.

Professional associations

  • 2017 - Association for Physical Education (UK) Fellow
  • 2017 - Australian Association for Research in Education (member)
  • 2017 - British Educational Research Association (member)
  • 2016 - National Board Member, Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation

Research areas and interests

  • Health and Physical Education curriculum, pedagogy and assessment
  • Equity and inclusion in HPE, physical activity and sport
  • Leadership


  • Doctor of Philosophy, England.
  • Bachelor of Arts Honours, England.


Recent Research Grants

  • Informal sport as a health and social resource for diverse young people,  Australian Research Council,  Grant - Linkage (Projects),  2019 - 2021,  $494,122.
  • School‐based provision of physical activity for students with disability,  Department of Education NSW,  Grant,  2020,  $64,454.
  • School Swimming and Water Safety Program Evaluative Assessment,  Department of Education NSW,  Grant,  2019,  $59,627.
  • Compulsory science and mathematics subjects in senior secondary school in other jurisdictions,  Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation,  Grant,  2018 - 2019,  $46,756.
  • Quality enhancement of AUSTSWIM swimming and water safety teacher training: A national research and development initiative.,  Edith Cowan University,  ECU Industry Collaboration Grant - 2017 Open Round,  2017 - 2019,  $187,175.
  • Carlile Swimming Archive Project: Phase 1,  Carlile Support Pty Ltd,  Grant,  2017 - 2018,  $12,100.
  • Investigating the feasibility of using digital representations of work for authentic and reliable performance assessment in senior secondary school courses,  Australian Research Council,  Grant - Linkage (Projects),  2007 - 2011,  $714,679.
  • Sport Education - Korea Australia collaborative project,  Korean Research Foundation,  Grant,  2003 - 2004,  $11,689.

Recent Publications (within the last five years)


  • Brown, TD., Penney, D., (2018), Examination physical education: Policy, pedagogies and possibilities. Routledge studies in physical education and youth sport, 264, Abingdon, Oxon, UK, Routledge.
  • Leahy, D., Burrows, L., McCuaig, L., Wright, J., Penney, D., (2016), School health education in changing times: Curriculum, pedagogies and partnerships. Routledge Research in Education, 153, London, UK, Routledge, DOI: 10.4324/9781315887449.

Book Chapters

  • Dinan Thompson, M., Penney, D., (2018), Assessment and Standards. Routledge Handbook of Primary Physical Education, 74-85, Oxfordshire, UK, Routledge.
  • Penney, D., (2018), Health and physical education: Transformative potential, propositions and pragmatics. The Australian Curriculum: Promises, problems and possibilities, 103-114, ACT, Australia, Australian Curriculum Studies Association.
  • Zehntner, C., Penney, D., (2018), Athlete-centred coaching: Tensions and opportunities arising in the masters context. Perspectives on athlete-centred coaching, 206-216, London, UK, Routledge.
  • Penney, D., Dinan Thompson, M., (2018), Curriculum drivers. Routledge Handbook of Primary Physical Education, 51-60, Oxfordshire, UK, Routledge.
  • Penney, D., (2017), Policy and possibilities. Routledge handbook of physical education pedagogies, 131-142, Abingdon, UK, Routledge.
  • Penney, D., Mitchell, S., (2017), Reforming curricula from the outside-in. Routledge handbook of physical education pedagogies, 157-172, Abingdon, UK, Routledge.
  • Cowie, B., Penney, D., (2016), Challenges, tensions and possibilities: An analysis of assessment policy and practice in New Zealand. Leadership of assessment, inclusion, and learning, 287-304, Cham, Switzerland, Springer, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-23347-5_12.
  • Branson, C., Franken, M., Penney, D., (2016), Reconceptualising middle leadership in higher education: A transrelational approach. Values and virtues in higher education: Critical perspectives, 155-170, Abingdon, Oxon, UK, Routledge.

Journal Articles

  • Hammond, A., Penney, D., Jeanes, R., (2020), Sport coaches as policy actors: an investigation of the interpretation and enactment of disability and inclusion policy in swimming in Victoria Australia. Sport, Education and Society, 25(5), 570-585, DOI:
  • Lambert, K., Penney, D., (2020), Curriculum interpretation and policy enactment in health and physical education: Researching teacher educators as policy actors. Sport, Education and Society, 25(4), 378-394, DOI: 10.1080/13573322.2019.1613636.
  • Wilkinson, S., Penney, D., (2020), Setting policy and student agent in physical education: Students as policy actors. Sport, Education and Society, N/A(N/A), 1-14, Online.
  • Young, L., O'Connor, J., Alfrey, L., Penney, D., (2020), Assessing physical literacy in health and physical education. Curriculum Studies in Health and Physical Education, NA(NA), 1-24, DOI: 10.1080/25742981.2020.1810582.
  • Lambert, K., Alfrey, L., O'Connor, J., Penney, D., (2020), Artefacts and influence in curriculum policy enactment: Processes, products and policy work in curriculum reform. European Physical Education Review, NA(NA), 1-20, DOI: 10.1177/1356336X20941224.
  • Wilkinson, SD., Penney, D., Allin, L., Potrac, P., (2020), The enactment of setting policy in secondary school physical education. Sport, Education and Society, n/a(n/a), 1-16, Online, DOI: 10.1080/13573322.2020.1784869.
  • Barwood, D., Spears, L., O'Hara, E., Penney, D., (2020), Deconstructing health and physical education teacher education: a mapping and analysis of programme structure and content in Australia. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, xx(xx), 2-16, DOI:
  • Scott, J., Hill, S., Barwood, D., Penney, D., (2020), Physical literacy and policy alignment in sport and education in Australia. European Physical Education Review, NA(NA), 1-20.
  • O'Connor, J., Penney, D., (2020), Informal sport and curriculum futures: An investigation of the knowledge, skills and understandings for participation and the possibilities for physical education. European Physical Education Review, Advance online publication(NA), 1-24, United Kingdom, DOI: 10.1177/1356336X20915937.
  • Jeanes, R., Spaaij, R., Penney, D., O'Connor, J., (2019), Managing informal sport participation: Tensions and opportunities. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 11(1), 79-95, United Kingdom, Routledge, DOI: 10.1080/19406940.2018.1479285.
  • Jones, A., Penney, D., (2019), Investigating the ‘integration of theory and practice’ in examination physical education. European Physical Education Review, 25(4), 1036–1055, Sage Publications Ltd, DOI: 10.1177/1356336X18791195.
  • Hammond, A., Jeanes, R., Penney, D., Leahy, D., (2019), "I feel we are inclusive enough": Examining swimming coaches' understandings of inclusion and disability. Sociology of Sport Journal, 36(4), 311-321, DOI:
  • Makopoulou, K., Penney, D., Neville, R., Thomas, G., (2019), What sort of ‘inclusion’ is continuing professional development promoting? An investigation of a national CPD programme for inclusive physical education. International Journal of Inclusive Education, Online(N/A), 1-18, DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2019.1647297.
  • Alfrey, L., O'Connor, J., Phillipson, S., Penney, D., Jeanes, R., Phillipson, S., (2019), Attitudes of pre-service physical education teachers to healthism: Development and validation of the Attitude Towards Healthism Scale (ATHS). European Physical Education Review, 25(2), 424-437, Sage Publications, DOI: 10.1177/1356336X17742665.
  • Pope, CC., Penney, D., Smith, TB., (2018), Overtraining and the complexities of coaches' decision-making: Managing elite athletes on the training cusp. Reflective Practice, 19(2), 145-166, United Kingdom, Routledge, DOI: 10.1080/14623943.2017.1361923.
  • Penney, D., Jeanes, R., O'Connor, J., Alfrey, L., (2018), Re-theorising inclusion and reframing inclusive practice in physical education. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 22(10), 1062-1077, Online, Routledge, DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2017.1414888.
  • Leahy, D., Penney, D., Welch, R., (2017), Schooling health: The critical contribution of curriculum in the 1980s. History of Education Review, 46(2), 224-235, Bingley, United Kingdom, Emerald Publishing Ltd., DOI: 10.1108/HER-03-2016-0016.
  • Penney, D., (2017), Big policies and a small world: An analysis of policy problems and solutions in physical education. Sport, Education and Society, 22(5), 569-585, Routledge, DOI: 10.1080/13573322.2016.1242066.
  • Brown, T., Penney, D., (2017), Interpretation and enactment of senior secondary physical education: Pedagogic realities and the expression of Arnoldian dimensions of movement. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 22(2), 121-136, Oxon, United Kingdom, Routledge, DOI: 10.1080/17408989.2015.1123239.
  • Barwood, D., Penney, D., Cunningham, C., (2017), A paradox or a culture of acceptance? The idiosyncratic workforce delivering health education in lower secondary government schools in Western Australia. Asia-Pacific Journal of Health, Sport and Physical Education, 8(3), 193-209, Melbourne, Victoria, Routledge, DOI: 10.1080/18377122.2017.1362955.
  • Pill, S., Swabey, K., Penney, D., (2017), Investigating physical education teacher use of models based practice in Australian secondary PE. PHEnex Journal, 9(1), 19p.,  Physical and Health Education Canada.
  • Wilkinson, SD., Penney, D., (2016), The involvement of external agencies in extra-curricular physical education: Reinforcing or challenging gender and ability inequities?. Sport, Education and Society, 21(5), 741-758, Routledge, DOI: 10.1080/13573322.2014.956714.
  • Wilkinson, S., Penney, D., Allin, L., (2016), Setting and within-class ability grouping: A survey of practices in physical education. European Physical Education Review, 22(3), 336-354, DOI: 10.1177/1356336X15610784.
  • O'Connor, JP., Penney, D., Alfrey, L., Phillipson, S., Phillipson, SN., Jeanes, R., (2016), The development of the stereotypical attitudes in HPE scale. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 41(7), 70-87, Australia, Social Science Press, DOI: 10.14221/ajte.2016v41n7.5.
  • Bransom, C., Franken, M., Penney, D., (2016), Middle leadership in higher education: A relational analysis. Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 44(1), 128-145, DOI: 10.1177/1741143214558575.
  • Franken, M., Branson, C., Penney, D., (2016), A theory-to-practice leadership learning arrangement in a university context. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 2016(24 October), 15p., Online, Routledge, DOI: 10.1080/13603124.2016.1247196.
  • Penney, D., McMahon, J., (2016), High-performance sport, learning and culture: New horizons for sport pedagogues?. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 21(1), 81-88, Routledge, DOI: 10.1080/17408989.2015.1072511.
  • Dinan Thompson, M., Penney, D., (2015), Assessment literacy in primary physical education. European Physical Education Review, 21(4), 485-503, DOI: 10.1177/1356336X15584087.
  • McMahon, JA., Penney, D., (2015), Sporting parents on the pool deck: Living out a sporting culture?. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 7(2), 153-169, Routledge, DOI: 10.1080/2159676X.2014.901985.
  • Franken, M., Penney, D., Branson, C., (2015), Middle leaders' learning in a university context. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 37(2), 190-203, Routledge, DOI: 10.1080/1360080X.2015.1019120.
  • Penney, D., Petrie, K., Fellowes, S., (2015), HPE in Aotearoa New Zealand: The reconfiguration of policy and pedagogic relations and privatization of curriculum and pedagogy. Sport, Education and Society, 20(1), 42-56, Routledge, DOI: 10.1080/13573322.2014.947566.

Conference Publications

  • Jones, A., Penney, D., (2015), The integration of theory and practice as a central focus for senior schooling Physical Education. Proceedings of the 29th ACHPER International Conference: Values into Action - A Brighter Future, 12-22, Kent Town, South Australia, Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER).

Research Student Supervision

Principal Supervisor

  • Master by Research, Maori, gifted and talented athletes – stories of success and support.
  • Master by Research, The theory-practice nexus in teacher education: A case study of a tertiary outdoor education program.
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Rethinking the teaching of sport in physical education.
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Exposure and Effect: An Investigation into a Culture of Body Pedagogies.
  • Doctor of Education, Performance management: A connected professional learning model.
  • Master by Research, Healthy Relationships? An examination of Health and Physical Education school-provider relationships in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Master by Research, Developing learners and learning in Teacher Education in the Seychelles: A critical investigation.
  • Master by Research, Understanding engagement in year 9 and 10 Physical Education: A case study.
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Developing Social and Emotional Learning in Physical Education: The Contextualised Appropriation of Sport Education.
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Youth Sport in Trinidad and Tobago: Extending the Possibilities and Pathways for Post-Secondary School Participation.
  • Doctor of Education, Children and healthy eating: A global, policy and school curriculum perspective.
  • Master by Research, Investigating socio-critical discourses of assessment in senior Physical Education in New Zealand.
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Extraordinary Outdoor Leaders: An Australian Case Study.
  • Doctor of Education, Developing the nurse professional and nurse education for the 21st Century.
  • Master by Research, The role of Sports Education in achieving social emotional learning outcomes in the context of the new Tasmania Health and wellbeing curriculum.
  • Doctor of Education, Heads of Faculty Leading Curriculum Reform: A Case Study of Post Year 10 Mandated Curriculum Reform in a Tasmanian Secondary School.
  • Doctor of Education, Quality and performance management of Technical Education and Training in Singapore.
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Physical Education, physical activity and the National Curriculum Physical Education: Policy, provision and prospects.
  • Master of Education,  Development of learning and learners in teacher education in the seychelles: A critical investigation.

Co-principal Supervisor

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Leisure Participation and Mental Health in Tasmania: A Lifecycle Approach.
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Body Pedagogies: How children come to understand their bodies and their selves during and following a health intervention in a New Zealand primary school
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The construction of gender relations in sport organisations.

Associate Supervisor

  • Doctor of Philosophy: The enactment of setting in secondary school PE : teacher and pupil perspectives
  • Doctor of Philosophy: The relationship between disability and inclusion policies (1990-2016) and swimming coaching practices in Victoria, Australia
  • Doctor of Philosophy,  Perspectives on differentiation in practice: An interpretive study from teaching japanese as a second language in Western Australian secondary schools

Adjunct Supervisor

  • Doctor of Philosophy,  Lost in translation? - the "integration of theory and practice" as a central focus for senior schooling physical education studies
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