Victorian Aspiring Principal Assessment

  • Audience
    Leading teacher
    Principal class
  • Next Intake
    May 2019
  • Location
  • Duration
    5 months
  • Mode
  • Fees
    DET fully subsidised


Are you interested in becoming a principal?​

Bastow, in partnership with the University of Melbourne, has developed the Victorian Aspiring Principal Assessment (VAPA) to support a system-wide approach to identify and prepare the next generation of Victoria's principals.

The VAPA process provides a way for aspiring principals to evaluate their capability for the role and identify their development needs. It aims to provide an evidential basis for professional recognition of accomplished performance against a framework of 45 performance indicators aligned with the Australian Professional Standard for Principals.

The process is developmental and participants are provided with feedback and support at each stage of the process.


VAPA is designed for candidates and assessors.

Candidates are leading teachers or assistant principals aspiring to apply for a principal role.

Assessors include a Lead Assessor (retired principal) and a Partner Assessor (current principal) who are responsible for quality assurance and managing VAPA to ensure it makes and moderates robust assessments for all candidates.​​

The VAPA process consists of a mixed-method assessment combining the creation of a portfolio of evidence-based practice, 360-degree feedback from colleagues, and an interview.

The time commitment for participants is 2 to 3 days, excluding portfolio creation.

Participants are required to complete the following tasks.

Task Time commitment
Provide contact details of your current principal (or equivalent supervisor) and agree for them to nominate raters (your principal included) who will assess you against the VAPA Leadership Framework and a social and emotional competency framework. 5 minutes
Participate in a briefing session. Up to a full day
Assemble a range of existing materials that you have produced independently and/or as part of a team (for example, within your workplace) and annotate them to show your unique contributions. Up to 4 days over 2 months in your own time
Present your portfolio to an assessment panel and provide additional evidence (if required) to demonstrate your individual leadership expertise. 60 to 90-minute interview
Participate in a telephone debrief. Approximately 30 minutes



Applications are closed for VAPA 2019. 


Applications are closed for assessors for VAPA 2019.

How to apply for VAPA

Applicants must do 2 initial assessment pieces to demonstrate their readiness for VAPA:

  1. Self-Assessment
  2. Sample of Practice

The Self-Assessment can be done at any time during your career, regardless of whether you want to apply for VAPA now or in the future. 

The VAPA Professional Development Plan template (DOC 569KB) ​is used by VAPA participants throughout the process. It is also a useful tool to record your strengths, areas for professional growth, and to guide the development of your goals in your Performance and Development Plan (PDP) (or equivalent) throughout your career.


Self-assessment is an online questionnaire to determine your current level of development against the VAPA Leadership Framework. It may take up to an hour to complete and is best done in one sitting.

Your self-assessment results and resources can be used in a variety of ways, including:

  • to track your own development in key areas of educational leadership
  • as evidence of your capability development for your PDP
  • in discussion with your principal to determine how they can support your development
  • for guidance about undertaking the VAPA.

How to complete the self-assessment

  1. ​Complete the​ VAPA self-assessment tool registration and click 'Register now'.  
  2. You will receive an email with:
  • your results
  • VAPA Leadership Framework Scaffolds booklet, which provides possible actions for the next steps in your development
  • Victorian Aspirant Principal Professional Development Plan template, which can be used to guide your goal development in your PDP
  • information about completing your Sample of Practice, including a link to the online form.

Sample of practice

When you submit your self-assessment, you will be asked you to provide an annotated sample of your practice against selected performance indicators from the VAPA Leadership Framework.

The sample of practice comprises:

  • short biography
  • annotations: concise, self-reflective explanations using the situation-action-outcome format and showing evidence of your current capability (maximum of 300 words per performance indicator)

Your sample of practice is assessed by experienced retired principals to determine whether you are eligible or you need further learning and development before doing the full VAPA.

How to complete the sample of practice

Refer to the Sample of Practice Guide​ (PDF 489KB) for advice on developing a sample of practice and completed biography and annotation examples.

The sample of practice is submitted online. We recommend you complete the template before you complete the online form, as you do not receive a copy of your completed form after you submit it (the template and form are identical).

  1. Complete the Sample of Practice Template (DOC 456KB) to save your submission.
  2. Follow the link in your email to the online form. Copy and paste your answers into the online form and submit.
  3. You will receive an email within 3 weeks to let you whether you have been recommended to proceed to VAPA. You will also receive feedback against your sample of practice and have the opportunity for more detailed feedback using the VAPA Professional Development Plan template (DOC 569KB).
  4. If you are successful, reply to the email to register your interest as soon as possible. Depending on place availability, you will receive a formal offer for the next intake.

Key dates for 2019




Self-Assessment opens

4 March 

Invitation distributed through Bastow promotions

Sample of Practice deadline 

18 April 

Last day for candidates to submit their Sample of Practice to be considered for VAPA

Successful candidate notification

29 April 

Successful candidates notified that they have been selected for VAPA

VAPA commences

Candidate Briefing and Assessor Training

13 May 

Assessors and successful candidates must be available to attend these training and briefing sessions. You will receive an Assessment Guide that provides further information about the three assessment methods.

Prepare and submit portfolio

Submit by 28 June



3 August 

10 August 

17 August

24 August 

Candidates are allocated one of these dates to attend an interview at Bastow. Allow approximately 90 minutes.

Assessment report

6 September 

Candidates are provided with their assessment report via email.

Assessment feedback

9 - 13 September

Assessors provide candidates with assessment feedback via phone.


We are still validating the process for VAPA and are interested in your feedback. If you have any comments or suggestions on any aspect of the process, email

Chris Dickinson 

Manager, VAPA

Expression of interest