Induction for high ability practice leaders

Initial information for high ability practice leaders on key aspects of their role.


As a high ability practice leader (HAPL), you will play an important role in supporting high-ability education within the Victorian government school system. Together, we can ensure that high-ability students across the state receive the challenge and support they need to thrive in their learning.

This page gives an overview of key aspects of the role of the high ability practice leader, which include:

  • supporting your teaching colleagues to understand and cater for their high-ability students
  • coordinating participation in the Victorian High-Ability Program
  • coordinating participation in the Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series.

It also includes a list of links and resources for professional development and further support.

High-ability students

As a high ability practice leader, you will act as a point of advice for your teaching colleagues in relation to high-ability students.

High-ability students typically operate, or have the capacity to operate, significantly above their age peers in one or more areas of the curriculum. High-ability is expressed across one or more domains:

  • intellectual, which usually manifests itself throughout a broad range of academically-focused subjects
  • creative, which can manifest itself in inventive thinking and problem solving, as well as high ability in the performance and productive arts such as music and the visual arts
  • social, which is characterised by advanced personal and social capabilities
  • physical, which may lead to students playing sports at an elite level, or advanced achievement in activities that rely on movement, such as dance.

For more information, see Characteristics of high ability and High-ability student profiles.

The role of the high ability practice leader

Every government school has access to a high ability practice leader (HAPL).

A database of high ability practice leaders is managed by the Student Excellence Unit and it is the responsibility of schools and school leaders to communicate any changes of staffing in the role. It is usual for a school leader, either the principal or assistant principal, to be listed on the database.

The high ability practice leader’s role includes:

For more detailed information, see The high ability practice leader: nomination, role and support

For the purposes of coordinating the Victorian High-Ability Program in their school, high ability practice leaders are provided with access to the Victorian High-Ability Program/Virtual School Victoria Portal (VHAP/VSV Portal) at

Please note that the portal works best using the Chrome browser.

Your username and password for the portal will be emailed to you. If you do not receive that email, please contact

The Victorian High-Ability Program

High-ability students in Years 5 – 8 inclusively are enriched and challenged through the Victorian High-Ability Program, which is an online virtual program run over the course of a school term. The program:

  • focuses on tasks that stimulate students’ inferential thinking, problem-solving and creativity
  • enriches students’ understanding of the study of mathematics and English; for example, Primary Maths students deepen their understanding of numeral systems by investigating systems other than base 10
  • prioritises risk-taking in learning, and metacognition.

All four courses are offered each term and are delivered by Virtual School Victoria. See Courses in the Victorian High-Ability Program.

Students have one virtual lesson per week. This includes nine ‘synchronous’ lessons with their course classmates and one ‘asynchronous’ session that may be done in the students’ own time.

Student selection for the Victorian High-Ability Program

Students are selected for the program by the Department of Education using a selection algorithm, which draws on student achievement data to assess student ability and readiness to participate in the program. A combination of high NAPLAN proficiency level and being six months or more ahead of their peers (based on teacher judgement data) is required for selection.

A provisional list of students selected for the program, as well as a timetable and course information, become available about halfway through the previous term on the VHAP/VSV Portal at The portal is best accessed using the Chrome browser.

An update email from Student Excellence is sent about halfway through each term to high ability practice leaders to inform them that the following term’s student selection has been completed. It outlines next steps and actions to take, including:

  • obtaining parental consent for selected students
  • an invitation to nominate any eligible students whose names are not on the school’s list of selected students.

Schools can nominate students who were not selected by the department, including underachieving high-ability students.

Detailed guidance is available through the link entitled ‘Nomination Guidelines’ in the VHAP/VSV Portal. See also Selection and nomination of students for the Victorian High-Ability Program.

Enrolling students in the Victorian High-Ability Program

Students from your school enrolled in the Victorian High-Ability Program will be listed on the VHAP/VSV Portal.

High ability practice leaders need to:

When parental consent is registered on the VHAP/VSV Portal, the student’s account will be created within VSV Online. The high ability practice leader will receive an email with the student’s login details to share with them.

If parental consent is not registered, the student will not be enrolled, their account will not be activated and their details will eventually be removed from the portal in accordance with the department’s data retention policy.

For more information, including how to register parental consent in the VHAP/VSV Portal, see:

Accessing the Victorian High-Ability Program courses

High ability practice leaders:

  • ensure that students can log on to their Virtual School Victoria VHAP Webex classes and access the learning materials
  • are the first port of call if students are struggling to participate in the program productively.

Access to the Webex classes and learning materials is through Virtual School Victoria’s secure online learning environment, VSV Online at This is also accessible through the icon on the front of the VHAP/VSV Portal:

Once you have clicked on the icon, it will ask you to log in. To do this, click the green “VHAP student & HAPL Login’ button, then enter the username and password that were emailed to you.

Arrow pointing to menu item that reads "VHAP Student & HAPL Login"

Full details of how to access the Victorian High-Ability Program sessions are found in the ‘HAPL Welcome Pack’, which can be downloaded from the VHAP/VSV Portal.

For technical support related to the VHAP/VSV Portal, please contact VHAP Support at

Masterclasses for Victorian High-Ability Program students

Each course ideally concludes with a face-to-face (or online, if necessary) masterclass. This is organised and delivered by high ability practice leaders who are encouraged to collaborate with other schools in their network.

Masterclasses provide opportunities for students to connect with like-minded and like-ability peers in order to reflect on their experiences and delve further into some of the big ideas of their VHAP course. It is also a chance to celebrate together what they have learned.

The masterclasses can run for a full day or as a half-day event, either face-to-face or virtually, and take place at a time convenient for the schools involved, towards the students’ completion of the course near the end of the term.

See Masterclasses for students in the Victorian High-Ability Program.

Designing and delivering a masterclass

  • High ability practice leaders could organise the masterclasses in collaboration with other local schools, which could include guest speakers, group projects or area-based competitions.
  • High ability practice leaders can access other schools’ class lists through the Masterclass Lists icon on the VHAP/VSV Portal.
  • They have flexibility in determining the timing, duration and location of masterclasses. 
  • See Masterclasses for students in the Victorian High-Ability Program for links to professional learning videos, running sheets, resources and sample activities for masterclasses.
  • Schools can use their Student Excellence Program (SEP) funding for costs associated with the delivery of masterclasses.

Practical support in administering the Victorian High-Ability Program

Practical support is available for high ability practice leaders who are managing their school’s cohort of students participating in the Victorian High-Ability Program:

  • Icons at the top of the VHAP/VSV Portal lead to resources and information, for example, the HAPL Welcome Pack, Support F.A.Q.s, HAPL Help, and the Student Welcome pack that enables HAPLs to see what selected students receive.
  • Technical support, including issues and information about login details and access to the portal for both high ability practice leaders and students can be obtained by emailing VHAP Support at

The Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series (VCES)

The Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series (VCES) is a program of activities that is offered in addition to the standard curriculum. It provides funded activities for high-ability students in Victorian government schools from Prep to Year 12. These activities cover all areas of the Victorian Curriculum and are designed to extend and enrich students’ learning.

  • Access is provided for up to 100,000 places over 2023–2025 for high-ability students in Prep to Year 12.
  • Content is delivered through webinars, virtual and face-to-face incursions and excursions, online lectures and holiday programs and span all areas of the Victorian Curriculum. Activities are added and expanded on an ongoing basis.
  • Delivery is by expert education and not-for-profit organisations, such as universities, tech schools, science and mathematics specialist centres, and teacher associations.
  • Timing is during school hours, after school, on weekends and during school holidays.
  • Duration typically ranges from 90 minutes to one day in length. Programs are short and may include one or more sessions. A few programs occur over multiple days.

See Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series for more information.

Coordinating participation in the Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series

High ability practice leaders are responsible for coordinating student selection and participation in activities. To browse all available activities, refer to the Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series channel on the Arc event hub.

The registration process differs for activities that occur during and out of school hours.

All students who participate in Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series activities during school hours need to have parental/caregiver consent.

  • Activities delivered out of school hours: Schools will refer students to participate in activities delivered out of school hours.

Parents and carers will be responsible for registering students in these activities and will liaise directly with the activity provider to organise attendance.

See Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series for more information about how to coordinate students’ participation in activities.

Professional learning for high ability practice leaders

Schools may use their Student Excellence funding allocation to support attendance at high ability practice leader professional learning activities. See Student Excellence Program funding and its uses for more information.

Further information

For further information, please contact Student Excellence at

For technical support related to the VHAP/VSV Portal, or for queries relating to Victorian High-Ability Program course content, please contact VHAP Support at