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Victorian Senior Secondary Certificate Reform






2020Release of the Firth Review Recommendations

2021Design and development of new certificates and curriculum
2022Release of final certificate designs and new curriculum
2023First enrolments in the VCE Vocational Major and Victorian Pathways Certificate
2025All Victorian schools deliver the fully integrated senior secondary certificate


The certificate reforms are now in the accreditation phase, awaiting a decision from the expert education panel of the VRQA as early as possible in 2022.

Delivering improved vocational and applied learning pathways for secondary school students

Victoria is moving to a new integrated senior secondary certificate that will bring together the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) to give students greater choice and flexibility to pursue their strengths and interests and develop the skills and capabilities needed to succeed in further education, work and life.

The move to a single certificate will occur in two stages:

Stage 1: 2023

The first stage is the introduction of a new Vocational Major within the VCE commencing in 2023. This is a two-year vocational and applied learning program that will replace Senior and Intermediate VCAL and offer a program that enables successful transitions into apprenticeships, traineeships, further education and training, or directly into employment.

A new Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC) will also be introduced in 2023 to replace Foundation VCAL. The VPC is designed to support students to transition either to the VCE Vocational Major or to entry level VET or employment. The VPC is particularly suited to students who have missed periods of school; vulnerable students at risk of disengaging from their education; or students with additional needs.

The new pathway options will build on the best elements of VCAL including flexible applied learning approaches, whilst delivering an enhanced curriculum designed to equip students with 21st century capabilities and in-demand skills for the future world of work.

Stage 2: 2025

From 2025, a fully integrated senior secondary certificate will be introduced across all Victorian schools and senior secondary providers, offering students genuine and identifiable vocational pathways. Under an integrated single certificate, all students will be able to build a program relevant to their specific strengths, interests and future aspirations.

Vocational and Applied Learning Pathways Review

The certificate reforms are part of a suite of 38 recommendations from the review into vocational and applied learning pathways for senior secondary students (the Firth Review), led by former VCAA Chief Executive Officer, John Firth.

The Firth Review found that we need to do more to make vocational and applied learning in schools consistently high quality, relevant to the needs of students and employers, and accessible to all students across the state.

Transition arrangements

In 2022, there are no changes to the existing certificates. Students will still be able to enrol in either the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) or the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE).

Students undertaking Senior or Intermediate VCAL in 2022 will transfer into the VCE Vocational Major with credit for completed VCAL, VET or VCE subjects. Those students can continue to study Senior VCAL curriculum in the new certificate as part of a phased ‘teach-out’ transition in the first year. Students who meet the completion requirements will be awarded the VCE Vocational Major.

Students studying Foundation VCAL over multiple years, including in 2022, will transfer into the VPC in 2023 with credit for completed subjects. These students will study the new VPC curriculum and will be awarded the Victorian Pathways Certificate upon successful completion of the certificate requirements.

Students will be informed about the new pathway options through their course counselling sessions in schools during 2022.

The process for determining the award of transfer credits is currently being worked through.
Work is also underway on a comprehensive transition plan which will be finalised once the certificates and curriculum are formally released in Term 2, 2022.

The VCAA is developing resources and a program of professional learning to support providers during 2022 as they prepare for the implementation of the VPC and VCE Vocational Major in 2023.

Further information about these initiatives will be made available later in 2021. Keep an eye out on the VCAA website or subscribe to the VCAA Bulletin for further information on upcoming professional development opportunities.

We are mindful of supporting students, teachers and schools through this period of change. We are partnering with key stakeholders to develop strategies to support educators, students and families as we transition to the new courses in 2023.


The VCAA is working with students, families, educators, and the broader community on the development of the new Year 11 and 12 vocational pathways. Consultation has included school visits, online forums and interactive webinars, stakeholder meetings and expert panels.

A summary of stakeholder feedback on the VCE Vocational Major and Victorian Pathways Certificate is available to view online:

Public consultation on the secondary school pathways reforms is also being conducted via a dedicated Engage Victoria page.

Consultation on the development of an enhanced Statement of Results and a new Quality Assurance framework will soon be underway.

Find out more

To learn more about the senior secondary pathway reforms, please visit the Department of Education and Training website.

You can also email your questions to the VCAA’s Senior Secondary Reform team or sign up to receive the monthly VCAA Bulletin.