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Victorian Senior Secondary Certificate Reform




Announcement on new pathway names

Following extensive consultation with students, educators and the broader community, the names of the new senior secondary pathways have been announced.

The vocational specialisation in the VCE will be named the VCE Vocational Major.

The foundation pathways certificate will be named the Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC).

The names reflect the aspirations and perspectives of students and the community for quality and excellence in all senior secondary pathways.

Curriculum study designs open for consultation

Draft curriculum and study designs for the new senior secondary vocational pathways are open for consultation until midnight on Wednesday 6 October.

Have your say 

Foundation Pathways Certificate

The Foundation Pathways Certificate (FPC) will provide excellent learning outcomes and curriculum at a more accessible level than a senior secondary certificate under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). FPC students will have access to an individualised program mapped to AQF levels 1 and 2, offering pathways into the VCE, further education, employment and training.


FPC Literacy will enable the development of knowledge, skills and attributes relevant to reading, writing and oral communication and their practical application in the contexts of everyday life, family, employment, further learning and community. This study will develop a student’s written and oral communication skills to enable them to interpret and create texts with appropriateness, accuracy, confidence and fluency for learning both in and out of school, and for participating in the workplace and community.


FPC Numeracy focuses on using mathematics to make sense of the world and applying mathematics in familiar contexts. This study provides students with the fundamental mathematical knowledge, skills, understanding and disposition to solve problems for a range of workplace, personal, further learning and community settings relevant to contemporary society.

Personal Development Skills

FPC Personal Development Skills provides a framework through which students can increase their self-understanding, build their capacity for self-care and engage meaningfully with their peers and the broader community. This study equips students to set and achieve personal goals and improve their health and wellbeing.

Work Related Skills

FPC Work Related Skills aims to develop students’ understanding of workplace rights and responsibilities, how to communicate effectively in the workplace, and to identify and apply their skills, knowledge and capabilities for future employment and education.

Vocational Specialisation

The VCE Vocational Specialisation (VS) will provide a robust and detailed curriculum to ensure consistent, high-quality vocational and applied learning opportunities for senior secondary students. Guidance materials and curriculum resources for teachers will inspire educational excellence and ensure quality learning outcomes. An enhanced quality assurance framework will deliver best practice standards for teaching and assessment. The VCE VS will offer pathways into apprenticeships, traineeships, further education, training and employment.


VS Literacy focuses on the development of the knowledge and skills required to be literate in Australia today. This study provides students with the knowledge, skills and capabilities to interpret and create texts with purpose, accuracy, confidence, fluency and efficacy in a wide range of contexts, and for participating in the workplace and community.


VS Numeracy focuses on enabling students to develop and enhance their numeracy practices to make sense of their personal, public and vocational lives. This study develops students mathematical knowledge, skills, and understandings with consideration of their local, national and global environments and contexts, and an awareness and use of appropriate technologies.

Personal Development Skills

VS Personal Development Skills enables students to explore and understand personal identity, efficacy and health, as well as community complexity and challenges. This study develops leadership, collaboration and project management skills through active civics and citizenship.

Work Related Skills

VS Work Related Skills aims to develop students’ understanding of workplace rights, responsibilities and relations, how to work and communicate effectively as an individual and a team member, to understand industry growth and to identify and apply their individual skills, knowledge and technical expertise for future employment and education.


In support of the curriculum consultation, four one-hour webinars were held that provided an overview of the curriculum and an opportunity to ask questions. Watch the webinar videos.


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.

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.