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Overview of the Victorian Pathways Certificate - VPC

Watch further senior secondary pathway options in 2023 videos.

The Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC) is an inclusive Year 11 and 12 standards-based certificate that meets the needs of a smaller number of students who are not able or ready to complete the VCE (including the VCE Vocational Major). It provides an enriched curriculum and excellent support for students to develop the skills, capabilities and qualities for success in personal and civic life.

The VPC is an accredited foundation secondary qualification under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006. It aligns to Level 1 in the Australian Qualifications Framework. While the VPC is not a senior secondary qualification, it can be a pathway to the VCE.

The VPC is designed to develop and extend pathways for young people, while providing flexibility for different cohorts. The VPC is suitable for students whose previous schooling experience may have been disrupted for a variety of reasons, including students with additional needs, students who have missed significant periods of learning and vulnerable students at risk of disengaging from their education. Students will gain the skills, knowledge, values and capabilities to make informed choices about pathways into a senior secondary qualification, entry level vocational education and training (VET) course or employment.

The curriculum accommodates student aspirations and future employment goals. VPC learning programs connect students to industry experiences and active participation in the community. Through participation in the VPC students will gain necessary foundation skills to allow them to make a post-schooling transition.

Find out more about the VPC in the VPC Administrative Handbook 2024.

Find out more about the VPC professional learning available for providers.

Victorian Pathways Certificate enrolment suitability

When enrolling a student into the VPC, the individual needs of the student must be considered. Discussions about the VPC’s suitability for a student should be conducted between the VPC provider, the student and their family.

VPC Suitability guidelines have been developed to inform decision making regarding the appropriateness of the VPC for individual students before they are enrolled in the certificate.

Completing the Victorian Pathways Certificate

To be eligible to receive the VPC, students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 12 units, including:

  • at least two units of VPC Literacy (or units from the VCE English group including VCE Vocational Major Literacy)
  • at least two units of VPC Numeracy (or units from the VCE Mathematics group including VCE Vocational Major Numeracy)
  • at least two VPC Personal Development Skills units
  • at least two VPC Work Related Skills units.

Students can also include units from VCE studies, VCE Vocational Major studies, and VET units of competency. VPC students can receive VET credit for 90 nominal hours at the Certificate 1 or above level and receive structured workplace learning recognition. Many students will undertake more than 12 units over the VPC.

The VPC is designed to be delivered in Year 11 and 12 and has a flexible duration depending on a student’s individual learning plan and the delivery setting. The VPC may be completed in a minimum of 12 months. All VPC units can be completed in any order and in any year. The units can be delivered in a flexible manner and do not have to be delivered sequentially.

VPC units have been designed to align to the VCE VM units to enable providers to deliver the VCE VM and VPC within the same classroom where required.

Vocational and applied learning in the Victorian Pathways Certificate

New curriculum in VPC Literacy, Numeracy, Personal Development Skills and Work Related Skills has been developed by panels of current applied learning practitioners. The new curriculum is engaging, based in real life and gives students in-demand skills needed for the future world of work.

Applied learning teaches skills and knowledge in the context of ‘real life’ experiences. Students apply what they have learnt by doing, experiencing and relating acquired skills to the real-world. It enables flexible, personalised learning where teachers work with students to recognise their personal strengths, interest, goals, and experiences.

This is a shift from the traditional focus on discrete curriculum to a more integrated and contextualised approach to learning. Students learn and apply the skills and knowledge required to solve problems, implement projects or participate in structured workplace learning.

Enrolling in Victorian Pathways Certificate studies

There are no formal entry requirements for VPC studies. The VPC has been designed to accommodate flexible entry and exit. Students can enter VPC studies at a time that best suits their learning needs, abilities and interests.

Parameters for entry and exit in schools are determined by school regulations and enrolment guidelines. Flexible entry and exit points of non-school VPC providers are determined by the policies and regulations of that education provider.

The VPC has been designed to be flexible, enabling the individual needs and capacity of students to be recognised. Some students with particular needs may require additional resources to enable the successful completion of the learning program and some students may require additional time to achieve learning goals.

Identified students may start the certificate in Year 10 if they require additional time to complete the course. It is not recommended that the VPC be delivered in Year 10 as a standalone program.

Special Provision within the VPC

The VCAA Special Provision policy provides students in defined circumstances with the opportunity to participate in and complete their secondary level studies.

The underlying principle of the VCAA Special Provision policy is to ensure students whose learning and assessment programs are affected by disability, illness, impairment or other circumstances are offered the most appropriate, fair and reasonable options to demonstrate their capabilities. Special Provision should provide equivalent, alternative arrangements for students, but not confer an advantage to any student over other students.

About the VPC

The Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC) is designed to engage students through an applied learning curriculum and pedagogical approach, and to provide flexibility to meet individual learning needs. The VPC has no formal entry requirements. The VPC is designed for students in Years 11 and 12 who would benefit from an individualised program at a more accessible level than a senior secondary certificate. It has a flexible duration, depending on a student’s individual education plan and delivery setting. For some students, this may include starting units in Year 10.

Parameters for entry and exit in schools are determined by school regulations and enrolment guidelines. Non-senior secondary school providers may have flexible entry and exit points determined by the policies and regulations of that education provider. The VPC webpages on the VCAA website offers guidance to support appropriate school-based decision-making regarding student suitability.

Special Provision for classroom learning and school-based assessment

Individual students may need special provision in their learning program to achieve the learning outcomes.

Students who have been granted Special Provision are not exempt from meeting the requirements for satisfactory completion of the VPC, or from being assessed against the learning outcomes for a study. Students are still required to demonstrate their achievement by meeting the learning goals in the curriculum designs.

Types of Special Provision

Special Provision is available to students completing the VPC for classroom learning and school-based assessment. Schools may approve special provisions and arrangements for both classroom learning and school-based assessments to enable students affected by disability, illness, impairment or other circumstances to demonstrate what they know, and to participate in classroom learning. In some cases, alternative assessment strategies may be needed.

Specific eligibility requirements apply for each type of Special Provision. Schools are primarily responsible for determining eligibility and the nature of the provisions granted for Classroom learning and School-based assessments.

Schools must decide on whether to approve school-based provisions. The VCAA recognises that school personnel, due to their knowledge of individual students and their circumstances, can sensitively vary the school assessment programs and learning activities to accommodate student circumstances.

Schools should consult the VCAA if they are unsure about evidence and/or appropriate arrangements. Special provision for classroom learning and/or school-based assessments can take a range of forms including:

  • completing classroom activities and assessment tasks at a different time
  • being given extra time to complete work or assessment tasks
  • completing a different assessment task or a different type of task
  • using technology, aides or other special arrangements to assist with classroom learning or assessment tasks – also referred to as Reasonable Adjustments.

Eligibility for Special Provision

Students may be eligible for Special Provision if, at any time, they are adversely affected in a significant way by:

  • an acute or chronic illness (physical or psychological)
  • factors relating to personal circumstance
  • an impairment or disability, including learning disorders.

Prolonged absence from school or study is not in itself grounds for Special Provision. However, provisions are available to students experiencing severe hardship that may result in prolonged absence. Students granted Special Provision must still demonstrate satisfactory completion of the outcomes of VPC units. Students absent from school for prolonged periods must still comply with the school’s authentication procedures to demonstrate that they have completed the work and that the work is their own.

Management of students requiring Special Provision

If a student requires Special Provision yet is still deemed to be at risk of not being able to meet the satisfactory completion of the VPC units, the school should develop a management plan or utilise an Individual Education Plan (IEP). One of the first steps in an IEP should be establishing a support group to help the student in undertaking the VPC. Ideally, the support group should be established in the years before the VPC commenced. Similarly, if a student becomes chronically unwell over the course of their VPC, a support group should be established.

The establishment of a support group also provides a focus for the administrative aspects of managing the student’s program of study. In addition, a support group allows for a formal structure through which decisions are made and actions verified. Involvement with a support group presents teachers with an opportunity to become better informed about the medical or personal situations of students.

A support group may include the student, a parent of the student, teacher/s or others nominated as having responsibility for the student, and any aides of the student. If appropriate, the support group should seek the advice of specialist consultants. The principal must ensure that advice from the support group is considered and implemented if it is judged to be consistent with VPC policy.

Adjustments and Support

The principal has the discretion to approve the enrolment of students with additional needs in the VPC. The VCAA does not place restrictions on this discretion. The principal is responsible for advising students of the likelihood of successfully achieving the published unit outcomes and for deciding appropriate arrangements at the school level.

Reasonable adjustments

Under the Disability Standards for Education 2005, students with a disability are entitled to reasonable adjustments to enable them to participate in education on the same basis as other students. An adjustment is considered reasonable if it achieves its aim of making sure a student with a disability can take part in their education on the same basis as students without a disability. Teachers assessing students who have particular needs must maintain the validity and reliability of assessment. Flexible assessment methods in the VPC should be used to allow students to demonstrate the successful completion of learning goals without disadvantage.

Supporting students with additional needs

There are several ways in which schools can make adjustments to assist students with their learning and enable them to be assessed against learning goals.  The level of support can include, but is not limited to: 

  • the provision of highly structured guides, templates, rubrics and exemplars
  • students may require assistance from an aide to effectively engage in the process of learning. If this is required, other assessment provisions, such as additional time to complete tasks, may be required. Assistance from aides may take the form of working alongside the student when learning or undertaking a task, adjustment of delivery modes accordingly and explaining and prompting as they work
  • encouraging and supporting students to learn through interaction and cooperation via discussion, asking questions, giving explanations and presentations, and working cooperatively in pairs or small groups
  • prompting or questioning to help guide the student when they are checking the reasonableness, appropriateness, or feasibility of their work/plan/communication/response
  • encouraging students to document and report their work in a way they feel most comfortable: orally, in writing, using an audio or video recording, an image or a graphic representation  
  • providing a variety of flexible, alternative communication modes and alternative methods and mechanisms to demonstrate learning, i.e. students who are hearing impaired may sign their response or for students that require to use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)
  • providing additional time for students to demonstrate learning in addition to the nominal hours suggested if required
  • use of assistive technology to support students to learn and demonstrate skills and understanding
  • provide a variety of alternative tasks for students to experience success.

Assessment within VPC

The award of satisfactory completion for a module is based on whether the student has demonstrated the set of learning goals specified for the module. Teachers should use a variety of learning activities and assessment tasks that provide a range of opportunities for students to demonstrate the learning goals for satisfactory completion of the module. Evidence of achievement of a learning goal must be ascertained through a range of assessment activities and tasks.

Not all students will be able to complete all units in the VPC learning program. However, participation in the VPC and completion of some learning goals will still enable students to demonstrate their skills and success in particular units from the VPC. Students will be recognised for the partial completion of the VPC.

Supporting students unable to complete the VPC with reasonable adjustments

Some students may not be able to complete each learning goal within the VPC units. If they are unable to achieve success within the specified framework of the VPC, they are still able to experience the curriculum alongside other students within a parallel, individualised teaching and learning program. This strategy allows the student to participate in class with their peers and continue social engagement, which is more likely to lead to a positive outcome. In this case, the school would issue its own report on the student’s individual achievement. Each school will decide the most appropriate program for a student.

Assessment and certification of the Victorian Pathways Certificate

Assessment of VPC studies

Each VPC unit of study has modules with specified learning goals. A VPC unit can only be satisfactorily completed once all modules within that unit have been completed. The VPC studies are standards-based. All assessments for the achievement of learning goals are school-based and assessed through a range of assessment activities and tasks. Schools will report a student’s result for each module to the VCAA as S (Satisfactory) or N (Not Yet Complete).

There are no external assessments of VPC studies. VPC studies do not contribute to the ATAR.


Upon successful completion of the VPC, students receive a certificate and a Statement of Results.

Successful completion of VET units of competency are recognised by additional statements of attainment or certificates provided by the Registered Training Organisation.

General advice about the VPC Curriculum and Assessment Audit

VCAA requirements for VPC Audit in 2023

Senior secondary education providers (including schools and non-school providers) delivering VPC studies must deliver the course to the standards established by the VCAA, ensure the integrity of student assessments, and ensure compliance with the requirements of the VCAA for the VPC. The standards and requirements are set by the VCAA through the VPC curriculum designs, the VPC Administrative Handbook 2023 and the VPC assessment principles of valid and reliable, fair, flexible and efficient assessment.

The VCAA applies audit mechanisms to ensure all providers deliver the VPC curriculum and assessment with fidelity, and that all students have access to an applied learning program that meets the standards established by the VCAA. These mechanisms include:

  • the VPC Administrative Handbook 2023, which outlines the rules, regulations and policies governing the delivery of VPC units that must be followed to ensure the integrity of the VPC and equity of access to fair and valid results for all students
  • VPC curriculum designs, which specify the learning goals that a student must achieve to receive an S for the unit
  • VPC support materials for each study, which include advice on developing a program, teaching and learning activities, sample approaches to assessment and exemplary tasks
  • a professional learning program that includes state-wide briefings, on-demand professional learning modules and assessment workshops
  • an audit program.

Audit program in 2023

The purpose of the 2023 audit program for VPC studies is to collect evidence from providers to ensure they are delivering the studies to the standards and requirements as set by the VCAA through the VPC curriculum designs and the VPC Administrative Handbook 2023.

For VPC studies, the program:

  • enables providers to ensure that they are delivering studies in line with the standards and requirements of the relevant curriculum designs, the VPC Administrative Handbook 2023 and the VPC assessment principles of valid and reliable, fair, flexible and efficient assessment
  • provides essential information for the VCAA to identify issues, estimate their system-wide implications and develop solutions.

2023 process

In early Term 3, providers that are identified for audit will be asked to submit to the VCAA evidence against the areas detailed under ‘Audit process requirements’ below. Examples of the sorts of evidence that may be submitted will be provided in audit notifications. Providers will be given ample time to gather and submit this evidence.

Providers will then be contacted about the outcome of their VPC audit in early Term 4.

As 2023 is a transition year between the teach-out of VCAL units and the introduction of the VCE VM and the VPC, the 2023 audit process will focus on supporting implementation. Providers will be invited to discuss their audit submission, including their curriculum and assessment plans, with a VCAA representative. This will provide an opportunity to discuss implementation of the VPC in their setting and identify any areas in which the VCAA may be able to provide additional support, guidance or advice.

Selection of studies

All VPC studies will be subject to audit each year. The following parameters will be used to select the VPC studies:

  • All providers will be audited for each VPC study once during the accreditation period of the curriculum design.
  • Providers that have met requirements in a study will be exempt from the audit process for that study for the remainder of the curriculum design’s accreditation period.
  • Providers that do not meet requirements will be subject to a further audit for the same study in the following year.
  • Providers who submit exemplary programs will be invited to share their ideas with other schools through VCAA professional learning and related collateral.


Providers will be notified of 2023 Audit requirements for VPC studies in early Term 3.

Audit process requirements

Areas addressed in the 2023 VPC Audit will include:

  • Curriculum and assessment
  • Assessment practices in the VPC
    • How students will be assessed
    • When students will be assessed
  • Satisfactory completion of Learning Goals in the VPC
    • How a decision is made about students’ satisfactory achievement of a learning goal
  • Managing authentication of student work
    • Processes to ensure student work is genuinely their own.
  • VPC administrative roles and responsibilities
    • Management of compliance with the rules and requirements of the VPC
    • Communication with teachers and students about the rules and requirements of the VPC
    • Management of communication from the VCAA
  • Management of eligibility for the award of the VPC
    • Student enrolment into the VPC
    • Delivery hours
    • Minimum requirements for certification
  • Special provision for VPC studies
    • Eligibility for special provision
    • Special provision strategies
    • Management of students requiring special provision

Providers delivering integrated studies

  • Providers who deliver an integrated program will have the option of having their full integrated program reviewed. This option will count towards participation in audit for all included studies.
  • Providers who deliver VCE VM and VPC units in the same classroom will have the option in both the VCE VM and VPC Audit process simultaneously. This will count towards participation in both Audit processes.

Outcomes and non-compliance

Where a provider does not meet VCAA requirements at the conclusion of the VPC Audit process, support will be made available to the provider to guide them through the requirements of the relevant curriculum design or the VPC Administrative Handbook 2023. The provider will be required to participate in the audit process for the same study in the following year.

In the event that a provider refuses to comply with audit requirements as requested, Executive Management of the VCAA will contact the relevant provider leadership, and in the event of serious irregularity, the VCAA will determine whether disciplinary action or other procedures will apply.

Resources for curriculum and assessment

The information contained in this document should be read in conjunction with the following materials available on the VCAA website:

Victorian Pathways Certificate students and the General Achievement Test

All students studying at least one Unit 3 and 4 VCE subject (or a scored VCE VET subject) are expected to sit all or a section of the General Achievement Test (GAT). There is no requirement for VPC students to sit the GAT unless they are enrolled in VCE units 3 or 4 or a scored VET subject.

Transition from VCAL to the Victorian Pathways Certificate

Teach-Out and Award of Intermediate VCAL in 2023

Provision of the Victorian Pathways Certificate

Providers currently registered by the VRQA and authorised by the VCAA to offer and deliver VCE and VCAL (all levels) will transition under the Education and Training Reform Act to be able to offer and deliver the VCE (current VCE studies and VCE VM studies) and the VPC. Providers not currently registered and authorised to deliver VCAL but seeking to deliver the VPC in 2023 can find information at Apply to deliver the VCE, VCE VM or VPC page.

Access to the Victorian Pathways Certificate prior to the senior secondary years

The Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC) is an inclusive Years 11 and 12 standards-based certificate that meets the needs of a smaller number of students who are not able or ready to complete the VCE (for more information, see the VPC Suitability guidelines). It will provide an enriched curriculum and excellent support for students to develop the skills, capabilities and qualities for success in personal and civic life. The VPC is designed for students in Years 11 and 12 who would benefit from an individualised program at a more accessible level than a senior secondary certificate. It has a flexible duration depending on a student’s individual education plan and the delivery setting.

It is possible for students to enrol in some VPC studies prior to year 11 and 12, however students, schools and providers should take into consideration

  • Student access to the F-10 Curriculum
  • The implementation of applied learning approaches in the F-10 and middle years curriculum
  • Students’ pathway into VCE, VCE VM or VPC
  • Students’ ability to access an appropriate range of units in years 11 and 12

Example programs

The following example programs represent the way schools have allowed pre senior secondary students to access applied learning through VPC and VCE VM units. These programs should be seen as examples only and have been developed to suit the needs and interests of students in specific settings. There are a range of ways in which students may access applied learning programs before the senior secondary years, and schools and providers should consider the educational needs, interests and future pathways of students when designing applied learning programs for students prior to the senior secondary years.

Pakenham College – Year 10 VET Pathway


Year 10 students at Pakenham College are able to accelerate into their senior school pathway, whether they are planning to undertake VCE, VCE VM, or VPC.

Students can select;

  • VCE Pathway – including an accelerated VCE study as part of their program
  • VET Pathway – including a cert I or II VET study as part of their program
  • SBAT Pathway – including an SBAT as part of their program

Students undertaking the VET and SBAT programs are placed into two specific home groups in the timetable – the VET group and SBAT groups. This allows teachers to review and differentiate the year 10 curriculum for these students from the mainstream curriculum, depending on student abilities and interests. For example, changing the texts used in English, or focussing more on Economics and Business or Civics and Citizenship in Humanities depending on student interest and need.

The VET and SBAT Pathways have an increased focus on applied learning for students who are considering enrolment into the VCE VM or VPC in years 11 and 12. Students are recommended or referred into the VET and SBAT Pathways by their year level coordinators, teachers, or through the use of student learning data. Once referred, interviews are held with the students and their parents/caregivers to outline the course requirements and administration details for VET and SBATs.

Career action plans and the Morrisby careers program are used to support student selection of their VET or SBAT pathway, and where possible the selection is aligned with the student’s work experience program. VET and SBAT students undertake some elective studies which are dovetailed with their selected VET or SBAT where possible, for example Hospitality VET and Food Studies, or Building and Construction VET with Product Design.

VET students are encouraged to complete at least 90 hours of competency in their selected Cert II VET study to contribute to their senior certificate in year 11. Some students are recommended for Headstart after completing the year 10 VET or SBAT pathway.

Course structure:

VET program

  • Students undertake one Cert I or II level VET study
  • Students attend school 4 days per week
  • Students attend VET 1 day per week
  • Students complete a work experience program related to their VET
  • Students undertake the following year 10 studies in their VET class group;
    • English
    • Maths
    • Health and Physical Education
    • Science (1 semester)
    • Humanities (1 semester)
    • Semester electives
  • Students may access unit 1 and in some cases units 1 and 2 of a VCE VM or VPC study as part of the VET program, as a year-long elective.

SBAT program

  • Students undertake an SBAT (Kitchen Operations, Warehousing and Logistics, or Horticulture)
  • Students attend school 3 days per week
  • Students attend their SBAT and work placement 2 days per week
  • Students complete a work experience program related to their VET, for Structured Workplace Learning credit
  • Students undertake some year 10 studies in their SBAT class group*, including;
    • English
    • Maths
    • Health and Physical Education
    • Science (1 semester)
    • Humanities (1 semester)
    • Semester electives

*Prior to the Senior Secondary Certificate Reform, some SBAT students completed Foundation VCAL alongside their SBAT studies. In the future these students may complete some unit 1 VCE VM studies alongside their SBAT.


Most students undertaking the year 10 VET or SBAT Pathways will continue into the VCE Vocational Major (VCE VM) or the Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC), as identified in their Career action plan and/or Morrisby careers program counselling. A small number of students from the VET program move into VCE general after year 10.

Parade College - Edmund Rice Pathways Program


The Edmund Rice Pathways Program is a specialised, vocational ‘hands on’ learning program available to selected Year 10 students. The Learning Program provides literacy skills development for reading, writing and oral communication and practical application in the contexts of employment, community and personal development outcomes.

Selection criteria for the program is centred on student attitude, behaviour and effort over the 4 terms of Year 9, as well as career interests and aspirations. Students submit an Expression of Interest, which is reviewed by the program leaders. An interview is then arranged where the applicant and parents/guardians meet with relevant school leaders and the Wellbeing Coordinator in Term 3 of the preceding year. At the interview, students are required to bring a copy of their mid-year report and a referee statement recommending them for the program.

Students are placed in one homegroup where they access F-10 studies designed with applied and project-based learning as a focus, and all students select Vocational Education and Training (VET) studies from those offered internally in the college, including Certificate II Building and Construction (Carpentry), Certificate II Building and Construction (Bricklaying), and Certificate II Furniture Making Pathways. The last 2 weeks of terms 1 - 4 are set aside for organised work experience, which is integrated into the curriculum and is a compulsory part of the program.

Course structure:

Students undertake a range of subjects in their homegroup where they access the F-10 curriculum through project-based, applied and collaborative learning design. In each subject the curriculum is aligned to level 10 F-10 curriculum, but also provides exposure to a selection of relevant Key Skills and Knowledge from the VCE VM studies.

Students undertake dedicated English/Literacy and Mathematics classes, along with the following project-based classes where they access the F-10 Arts, Health & Physical Education, Humanities, Science and Technologies curriculum through group projects in the school and wider community.

  • Community Based Religious Education/ Community Action
  • Work Education/Vocational Preparation
  • Physical Activity and Education

View Parade College – Year 10 Applied Learning – English - Language of Advertising sample unit.


Students undertaking the Edmund Rice Pathways program can continue into the VCE Vocational Major (VCE VM) or the Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC)