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Victorian Senior Secondary Certificate Reform




The draft certificate designs for the new Foundation pathways certificate and the Vocational specialisation stream have been released for consultation. To view the drafts and submit your feedback visit Engage Victoria.



2020Release of the Firth Review Recommendations
2021Design and development of new certificates and curriculum
2022Release of final certificate designs and new curriculum in early 2022
2023First enrolments in the Vocational Specialisation and Foundation Pathways Certificate
2025All Victorian schools deliver the fully integrated senior secondary certificate

Delivering improved vocational and applied learning pathways in Senior Secondary

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 aspirations and develop the skills and capabilities needed to succeed in further education, work and life.

The move to a single certificate will occur in stages. The first stage is the introduction of a new vocational specialisation pathway within the VCE commencing in 2023. This will replace the existing VCAL at the Intermediate and Senior levels.

The next stage will see a fully integrated senior secondary certificate rolled out across all Victorian schools and senior secondary providers by 2025. The new certificate will retain the same high standards of excellence that currently apply to Victoria’s world-class VCE and will be recognised nationally and internationally and highly valued by employers and industry.

A new foundation pathways certificate to replace Foundation VCAL will also be created to formally acknowledge student achievement, facilitate clearer pathways and provide a more enriched curriculum offering.

The new certificates will offer students the opportunity to take greater control of their education pathways and provide the flexibility in their learning environment to build the knowledge and capabilities to thrive in their personal, professional and civic lives.

Students will be able to gain valuable workplace knowledge and practical skills that will allow them to transition successfully into apprenticeships, traineeships, further education and training or directly into employment.

For full details of the draft certificate structures and components, please access the Discussion Papers published on the Engage Victoria page.

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 high quality, relevant to the needs of employers, and available to all students.

An enhanced statement of results will also form part of the reforms, allowing students to record additional completed skill sets to provide a full picture of their capabilities and achievements when they finish school.

In line with the Review’s recommendations, timely and effective provision of professional development for schools and training providers will be prioritised during the roll-out with the supply of quality resources and guidance materials in 2022.

The VCAA will also provide additional support to deliver vocational and applied learning pathways in the form of an enhanced quality assurance model.

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 studying VCAL in 2022 will transfer into the VCE Vocational Specialisation with credit for completed VCAL subjects in 2023. Those students will continue to study Senior VCAL subjects in the new certificate as part of a phased transition. At the end of 2023, they will be awarded the VCE Vocational Specialisation if they meet the requirements.

Students who are studying Foundation VCAL over multiple years, including in 2022, will transfer into the new foundation pathways certificate in 2023 with credit for completed subjects. These students will study the new foundation subjects and graduate with the foundation pathways certificate.

The following diagram sets out the senior secondary pathways for students enrolled in the VCE or VCAL next year.

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 certificate structure and study designs are formally released in early 2022.

We are mindful of supporting 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.

Get involved

The VCAA is consulting widely on the design and development of the new vocational specialisation within the VCE and the new foundation pathways certificate in preparation for the 2023 roll-out.

Curriculum and assessment review panels have been established to support certificate design and curriculum development work in 2021.

A draft design of the certificates has been released for consultation and feedback via Engage Victoria.

We invite students, parents, caregivers, schools, TAFEs, universities and other service providers, peak bodies, industry, employers and the wider community to help shape the reforms and ensure Victoria delivers the best vocational and applied learning pathway choices for senior secondary students.

We are holding three webinars to provide an overview of the certificate designs for the VCE vocational specialisation and the foundation pathways certificate (working titles). The webinars will be facilitated by CEO Stephen Gniel, Executive Director Sue Bell and Project Director Kelly Jarvis.

Each webinar will be identical in content and structure, and you will be able to ask questions.

Please register via the links below.

Find out more

To learn more about Victoria’s senior secondary certificate reform, you can email the Senior Secondary Reform team or sign up to receive the VCAA Bulletin.