Neil studied Psychology at the University of Liverpool from 1995-1998. He then went on to study for a PG Cert in Learning and Teaching and a PhD in Education at Liverpool John Moores University from 1998-2001. He worked for a year at the University of Bolton from 2001-2002, before taking up a lectureship in psychology of education at the University of Manchester in 2002. Neil became a senior lecturer in 2007, and was promoted to Professor of Psychology of Education in 2010. He was Research Director for Education from 2013-2016. Neil became Head of the Manchester Institute of Education in 2016.
Neil has secured more than £5 million in external research grants (as principal investigator or UoM lead), from funders including the Big Lottery Fund, Education Endowment Foundation, National Institute for Health Research, Department for Education and Economic and Social Research Council. He has also worked as a co-investigator on projects totalling £2,421,500 funded by Leverhulme Foundation, National Council for Special Education and others.
Professional advisory, consultancy and other work
- Honorary Professor at University College London (2016-)
- Visiting Professor at University of Western Australia (2015), University of Massachusetts (2015), Florida Atlantic University (2015), University of Illinois at Chicago (2013), Flinders University (2013, 2015), Edith Cowan University (2013)
- Member of the Child Outcomes Research Consortium (2014-2015)
- Invited to give evidence at the All Party Parliamentary Group for Autism (2012)
- Consultant to NICE in their reviews of social and emotional wellbeing in education (2008, 2011).
- Interviewed by Therapy Today (2012), The Guardian (2012), Granada Tonight (2009), Radio 5 (2010), Radio 4 (2011), Telegraph (2010), BBC Online (2008), The Guardian (2008), The Times (2008).
- Keynote presentations for International School Psychology Association (2017), Research in Special Education (2015), Helping Families Change (2015), Autism Early Intervention and Prevention Conference (2014), GAUTENA (Spanish Autism Parents Society, 2013), National Autistic Society Professional Conference (2013), Research Autism (2012), Spanish Society of Autism Professionals (2012), BPS Division of Educational and Child Psychology (2012), National Autistic Society Research Conference (North-West) (2009, 2011, 2012), BPS Education Section (2011), Educational Psychology Association (North-West) (2009), New Directions in Behaviour Support (2009), ESRC Mental Health in Education (2008), and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Conference (2008).
- External examiner for programmes at the University of Birmingham (2010-2012), University of Cambridge (2012-2014), and Edge Hill University (2012-2015)
- Guest editor of Cambridge Journal of Education (2016), Psychology of Education Review (2013), Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs (2010).
- Editorial board member for the International Journal of Emotional Education, School Mental Health, Mental Health and Promotion, International Journal of School and Educational Psychology.
- Lead organiser for third biennial conference of the European Network for Social and Emotional Competence in Children (ENSEC) (2011)
- Peer reviewer for journals including School Mental Health, Autism, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Educational Psychology, Dyslexia, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Counselling and Psychotherapy Research.