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Many private schools in Virginia believe it is desirable to seek accreditation as a means of strengthening their programs and facilities to assure the public that the established mission, vision and philosophy of the school is being fulfilled.

Twenty-three (23) different associations currently make up VCPE’s direct membership.  Fourteen (14) of these associations have VCPE approved accreditation processes that are, in turn, recognized by the Virginia Board of Education.  All VCPE member associations must be both non-profit and have a nondiscrimination membership policy.

VCPE, while recognizing and encouraging a diversity of beliefs, a variety of educational philosophies, and the independence of each member association, strives to represent and speak on educational issues of common concern and interest.  VCPE is committed to the preservation of pluralism in American education and the right of parents to choose an education appropriate for their children.

VCPE monitors legislation affecting private schools while working with the Virginia General Assembly to promote and protect common interests of VCPE member associations and schools.  VCPE is available to members of the legislature, the VBOE, and the VDOE to furnish information about private schools and to articulate the private school viewpoint on educational matters.


The Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE) was organized in 1974 as the Virginia affiliate of the Council for American Private Education (CAPE), a national non-public school advocacy group headquartered in Washington, D.C.VCPE’s role in approving appropriate accreditation processes for private schools in the Commonwealth evolved through a long-standing relationship with the Virginia Board of Education (VBOE).  The VBOE transferred accreditation oversight for private schools to VCPE in 1985.  Full approval was granted on July 1, 1987.  In November 1993, the VBOE reconfirmed its relationship with VCPE in the form of a resolution.  The 2000 General Assembly passed language granting oversight of private nursery, preschool, elementary, and secondary school accreditation to VCPE in §22.1-19 of the Code of Virginia.  In September 2003, the VCPE Board of Directors determined, in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), that VCPE was also responsible for comprehensive distance education schools.  In 2009, the General Assembly passed HJR 843 commending VCPE on the occasion of its thirty-fifth anniversary.


The Virginia Council for Private Education advances excellence in private education through advocacy and accreditation.


The Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE), the premiere voice of private education in Virginia, is the primary liaison between its membership and the State Board of Education, state agencies and governmental offices, media sources, and the public at large.  VCPE advocates for its member associations in regulatory and legislative matters at the state and national level.  VCPE oversees a viable accountability process through accreditation of preschool, elementary, and secondary private schools as authorized by §22.1-19 of the Code of Virginia.  As a benchmark organization, VCPE extends beyond its membership as a model and resource for state, national and international educational organizations.