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Unlocking Potential: Principal Preparation

  • Audience
    Teacher leader
    Principal class
  • Next Intake
    Not scheduled
  • Location
  • Duration
    9-12 months
  • Mode
  • Fees
    DET Fully Subsidised

Realise your potential to lead a school for learning improvement and transformation.

Unlocking Potential: Principal Preparation (UP) is our flagship principal preparation program, a unique opportunity to develop your professional knowledge, capabilities and confidence to lead for learning in ways that significantly impact on student and adult learning outcomes, collective efficacy, and schoolwide improvement.

UP is designed to create deep learning and capability-development, with a focus on purposeful and authentic learning relevant to your school context and learning needs.

Current research and theory will be integrated with practice, so that you take away a rich repertoire of practical processes, strategies, protocols and tools for use in your current and future leadership work.

UP supports the 'Professional leadership' priority area of the Victorian Education State Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO).

UP is an ideal opportunity for formal learning in the Development Stage of the Talent Management Framework - a structured process to identify, develop and support people with high potential for leadership.


UP is designed for aspiring principals who are:

  • working towards their first principal appointment 
  • likely to move into a substantive principal role within the next 2 years. 

You must have a minimum of 5 years' teaching experience.

UP and the Victorian Aspiring Principal Assessment (VAPA)

The VAPA is an assessment for aspiring principals that determines whether you are ready to be appointed to a principal role, and what professional development you require.

UP aims to prepare you for the principal role, and also supports you to undertake the VAPA. For more information, visit the Victorian Aspiring Principal Assessment program webpage. 

Over 9-12 months, you will actively engage in and contribute to:

  • workshops (10 days)
  • an internship (20 days)
  • Peer Learning Groups (4.5 hours)
  • self-directed learning (a minimum of 12 hours).


You'll attend five 2-day workshops and will hear from experts on topics such as the use of quality evidence, schoolwide approaches to vision and pedagogy, and futures thinking.

Collaboration with your colleagues will be central to the learning and participation during the interactive workshops. 


The internship is a 20-day placement in another school, working alongside an experienced mentor principal. You will work on the practical aspects of the principal role and test new techniques and approaches learnt through UP. 

Prior to starting your internship, you will attend an induction workshop in which you will meet your mentor principal.

Peer Learning Groups

Peer Learning Groups (PLGs) provide a structured opportunity to share your Learning Improvement Inquiry progress with colleagues; raise issues, challenges and questions in a confidential setting; and be supported and challenged in ways that promote reflection and learning growth. 

PLGs comprise up to 7 participants from similar school contexts (for example, small regional schools). 

Self-directed learning 

Self-directed activities in your own time are designed to support your learning and include:

  • pre-workshop tasks
  • contributing to discussion boards 
  • ongoing use of a learning journal
  • gathering evidence (such as assessment tools, feedback and artefacts) during workshops, PLGs and your internship, to develop your digital learning portfolio
  • undertaking a school-based project. 

UP is designed to equip you with practical learning processes, strategies, protocols and tools to: 

  • lead self for learning
  • lead others for learning
  • lead the school for learning. 

You’ll gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • schoolwide improvement in student learning outcomes
  • excellence and improvement in teacher learning and practice
  • collective efficacy for schoolwide and system improvement.

You’ll develop the skills to:

  • model self-leadership, agility, and congruence in how you lead for learning
  • enhance your own moral purpose and professional identity
  • use adult learning principles to develop others’ capabilities
  • collectively build a learning culture of trust within your school community
  • build strong collaboration and teamwork amongst colleagues and community
  • engage in effective professional conversations with colleagues, staff and parents
  • develop a compelling strategic vision for your school
  • lead schoolwide approaches to learning, teaching, pedagogy development and strategic school improvement
  • build community partnerships and networks.

Fully subsidised by the Department of Education and Training for Victorian government school participants.

Government school participants can claim CRT funding for up to 10 workshop days and 20 internship placement days.

Travel and accommodation subsidies are available for eligible schools.

See Fees and financial support for more information. 

To participate in UP, you must have the full support and approval of your principal and commit to the significant time and effort required.

Submit an expression of interest now to ensure that you are alerted when applications open.

Samantha Thornton
Senior Project Officer
7022 0549

Expression of interest