Principals exercise a significant influence on the effectiveness of their school and the achievement of their students. Of all the factors that impact on student learning, research suggests that leadership is second only to the influence of classroom instruction. Rigorous, transparent and well-defined selection processes are crucial for building and sustaining successful schools. Selecting the right candidates to leadership positions has a significant impact on school performance.

An effective principal selection process ensures that potential applicants are encouraged to apply for vacant positions and increases the likelihood that the most appropriate candidates are appointed to these senior leadership positions.

The principal selection guidelines bring together the key aspects of recruitment and other human resources policies to assist school councils and principal selection panels in the selection of principals of Victorian government schools. Selection panels will be supported by a comprehensive training program that includes:

  • roles and accountabilities of principals,
  • selection process,
  • principles of merit-based selection,
  • anti-discrimination legislation,
  • developing behavioural questions for interview purposes, and
  • identification and use of appropriate additional selection tools

For comprehensive policy and information concerning Principal Selection, refer to the Policy and Guidelines and Resources tab.

Relevant legislation

Overview of principal selection process.

Reviewed 18 March 2024

Policy last updated

15 June 2020


  • Schools
  • School councils


Schools Recruitment Unit

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