Victorian Aspiring Principal Assessment

  • Audience
    Principal class
    Leading teacher
    Learning specialist
  • Next Intake
    On demand
  • Location
  • Duration
    Minimum 5 weeks (self paced)
  • Mode
  • Fees
    DET fully subsidised


Providing your development pathway to principalship

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

VAPA enables aspiring principals to:

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

Delivered by Bastow in partnership with the University of Melbourne, VAPA is accessible to all aspiring principals in Victoria. Participation is voluntary and all results are confidential.

Participants are provided with expert guidance and feedback at each stage of the process by VAPA assessors, who are experienced, retired school principals.


VAPA is for all Victorian educators who intend to apply for a principal role – either now or in the future.

VAPA’s mixed-method assessment process includes:

  • the creation of a portfolio of evidence-based practice
  • 360-degree feedback from colleagues (including emotional intelligence)
  • an interview.

Each assessment component is evaluated by trained VAPA assessors.

The assessment is self-paced. The minimum time commitment is around 15 hours and can be completed in as little as 5 weeks, including portfolio creation. The maximum completion time is 3 months.

VAPA participants will complete the following tasks:

Task / mode Time commitment
Nominate your raters (online)
Provide contact details of your current principal (or equivalent supervisor) and agree for them to nominate raters for 360-degree feedback.
Up to 5 minutes
Create and submit a portfolio (online)
Assemble a range of existing materials you have produced independently and/or as part of a team with annotations to show your unique contributions.
Up to 12 hours
Attend an interview (in person or online)
Present your portfolio to an assessment panel and provide additional evidence (if required) to demonstrate your individual leadership expertise.
Up to 90 minutes
Receive feedback (telephone)
Participate in a telephone debrief with a VAPA assessor.
Up to 60 minutes
Total Up to 15 hours

To demonstrate your readiness to take part in VAPA, you must complete the following eligibility requirements:

  • Self-Assessment
  • Sample of Practice.


The Self-Assessment can be done at any stage of your career. It is a confidential online questionnaire that maps your current level of development against the VAPA Leadership Framework. This framework comprises 45 performance indicators aligned to the Australian Professional Standard for Principals.

The questionnaire can take up to 1 hour to complete. It is best to complete the questionnaire in one sitting.

How to complete the Self-Assessment

Follow the link to register for the VAPA Self-Assessment.

Once you have completed the registration form, you will receive an email with your login details to the VAPA portal, where you can complete your Self-Assessment.

Once you have completed the Self-Assessment, you will receive an email with:

  • your results, including scaffolding (the Scaffolds describe actions you can take in your professional development to achieve a higher performance level)
  • the VAPA Professional Development Plan (PDP) template
  • information on how to complete your Sample of Practice
  • a link to the VAPA portal.

You can use these results and resources:

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

When you finish the Self-Assessment, you will be able to access the Sample of Practice in the portal.

Sample of Practice

The Sample of Practice is where you provide examples of your experience against performance indicators from the VAPA Leadership Framework Sample. It includes:

  • a short biography
  • annotations (concise, self-reflective explanations of your current capability).

Once you have completed your Sample of Practice, your responses will be reviewed by VAPA assessors. The assessors will determine whether you are ready to participate in VAPA or if you would benefit from further learning and development before commencing VAPA.

For any enquiries and feedback, contact