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  • Duration
    Minimum 5 weeks
  • Location
    Online
  • Mode
    Blended
  • Fees
    DET fully subsidised

The Victorian Aspiring Principal Assessment (VAPA) is part of a system-wide approach to identify and prepare Victoria’s next generation of principals.

The VAPA enables aspiring and past principals to: 

  • evaluate your readiness for the principal role 
  • identify your targeted professional development needs 
  • create an evidence base for professional recognition of performance. 

Delivered in partnership with the University of Melbourne and Genos International, VAPA is accessible to all aspiring and past Victorian principals to complete in their own time and in their own environment. 

Candidates are provided with expert guidance and feedback at each stage of the process by trained VAPA assessors, who have been selected for their expertise and experience in Victoria’s school system. 

Audience

The VAPA is open to all school leaders, aspiring principals and past principals in government and non-government schools. People from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

Note: substantive principals do not need to undertake the VAPA.  

VAPA and Unlocking Potential: Principal Preparation (UP)

UP aims to prepare aspiring principals for the principal role, and also supports you to undertake the VAPA. 

Aspiring principals

There are 3 stages to the VAPA for aspiring principals: 

  • Application 
  • Assessment 
  • Outcome 

Application

To apply, you must:  

  • complete a brief self-assessment
  • provide a short biography   
  • submit a sample of practice against 5 professional practice areas.   

This information is used to determine whether you proceed to undertake the full VAPA assessment.  

Approved applicants move to the second stage by being offered a place in the assessment.  

Applicants who are not approved receive feedback and are referred to targeted professional development.  

Assessment

The assessment process is a mixed-method approach and is self-paced. 

The purpose of this stage is to gather a rich evidence base of your professional practice and emotionally intelligent leadership competency through:   

  • 360-degree feedback (1 hour) 
  • a portfolio (approx. 12 hours) 
  • an interview (approx. 5 hours). 

Note: the minimum time commitment is around 18 hours and can be completed in as little as 5 weeks, including portfolio creation. The maximum completion time is 3 months. 

360-degree feedback

Your current principal (or equivalent supervisor) and 3 nominated peers or community members complete an online survey that collects various perspectives on your capabilities. 

Portfolio

Comprises a range of existing artefacts you have produced independently and/or as part of a team with annotations to show your unique contributions. 

Interview

A behavioural interview to address evidence gaps identified from the 360-degree feedback and portfolio, and provide additional evidence to demonstrate capabilities. 

Outcome

You will receive a detailed report that indicates your strengths and areas for development against the professional practice areas and your emotionally intelligent leadership competencies. 

At the conclusion of the assessment, you and an assessor will meet twice to debrief, using the reports as the basis of a professional discussion focusing on both strengths and areas that may be targeted to maximise growth. 

The first debrief explores your outcomes in relation to the 5 professional practice areas. 

The second debrief explores your outcomes in relation to the 6 emotionally intelligent leadership competencies. 

Each debrief takes approximately 90 minutes. 

Note: this application process only applies to aspiring principals.

Past principals

Following registration, there are 2 stages to the VAPA for past principals: 

  • Assessment 
  • Outcome 

Assessment 

You will need to provide evidence  of your professional practice and emotionally intelligent leadership competency through:   

  • a career map (1 hour)
  • 360-degree feedback (1 hour) 

Career map

A resume outlining career roles and organisations, including evidence of having held a substantive principal position.

360-degree feedback 

An online survey that collects perspectives on your emotionally intelligent leadership competencies from a selection of nominated raters, as appropriate to your context.

Outcome 

You will receive a detailed report that indicates your strengths and areas for development against the emotionally intelligent leadership competencies. 

At the conclusion of the assessment, you and an assessor will meet to debrief. The emotionally intelligent leadership competencies report will form the basis of this professional discussion, which will focus on your strengths and areas that may be targeted to maximise growth. 

The debrief takes approximately 90 minutes. 

The VAPA is fully subsidised.

To begin the process, aspiring and past principals must register for the VAPA.

Aspiring principals

As part of the application process, you are required to:

  • complete a brief self-assessment
  • provide a short biography   
  • submit a sample of practice against five professional practice areas.  

For more information on the application process for aspiring principals, refer to our VAPA Application Guide.  

Past principals

You must select ‘past principal’ on the registration form. This will assign you to the streamlined past principal process and allow your prior experience and expertise to be assessed.

You will commence the VAPA process at the assessment stage, as outlined above.

Last updated 18 August 2022