COVID-19 update for Bastow participants

Victorian Aspiring Principal Assessment

  • Audience
    Principal class
    Teacher leader
  • Next Intake
    On demand
  • Location
  • Duration
    Minimum 5 weeks (self paced)
  • Mode
  • Fees
    DET fully subsidised. $3,850 (incl. GST) non-government applicants.

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

The VAPA enables aspiring principals to:

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

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

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


The VAPA is open to all school leaders and aspiring 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. 

The VAPA and Unlocking Potential: Principal Preparation (UP)

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 Unlocking Potential: Principal Preparation webpage. 

There are 3 stages to the VAPA:

  1. Application
  2. Assessment
  3. Outcome


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. 


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

Provide contact details of your current principal (or equivalent supervisor) and agree for them to nominate 3 peers and community members to complete an online survey that collects perspectives on your capabilities.


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


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

You will receive feedback from a trained VAPA assessor.


You will receive a detailed report that indicates your strengths and areas for development against the Professional Practice Areas and your Emotionally Intelligent (EI) 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 EI leadership competencies.

Each debrief takes approximately 90 minutes.

The VAPA is fully subsidised for each Victorian government school participant.

Fee: $3,850 (incl. GST) for each Catholic and Independent school participant. 

See fees and financial support for more information.

The first stage of the VAPA requires you to submit your application. 

To begin the process you must register for the VAPA before:

  • completing a brief self-assessment
  • providing a short biography   
  • submitting a sample of practice against 5 professional practice areas.  

For more information on the application process refer to our VAPA Application Guide

For any enquiries and feedback, contact