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Quality Assurance

As part of our approval and quality assurance (A&QA) of education establishments and qualifications (referred to as ‘providers’ and ‘programmes’ respectively), all providers are required to demonstrate how they satisfy our requirements, as listed in our Education handbooks. We seek assurance from providers in a number of ways, including A&QA visits, notification of reportable events and changes to programmes, conditions management, and annual monitoring.

COVID-19 temporary documents

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on 7 August 2020 we approved temporary changes to the Optometry Handbook and the Supervision policy. The temporary changes are applicable from 1 September 2020 for the 2020/21 academic year only. 

Acrobat Reader icon Temporary Optometry Handbook (2020)

Acrobat Reader icon Temporary Supervision Policy (2020)

Education Handbooks  

Our Education handbooks contain the GOC’s requirements and core competencies relating to the A&QA of education and training programmes which lead to registration with the GOC.

There is an additional supervision policy which applies to all providers.

Acrobat Reader icon Optometry Handbook 2015

Acrobat Reader icon Dispensing Handbook 2011

Acrobat Reader icon Contact Lens Handbook 2007

Acrobat Reader icon Independent Prescribing Handbook 2008

Acrobat Reader icon Supervision policy          


We periodically conduct quality assurance (QA) visits to approved providers to assess whether the standard of education and assessment offered gives sufficient assurance that students have achieved adequate skills and knowledge to practise safely. After each visit we produce a report of the findings that includes any recommendations for improvement. Each visit is carried out by our visitor panel.

A list of our approved providers and visit reports can be viewed here.  

Annual Monitoring and Reporting (AMR)

Providers are required annually to submit an annual monitoring return to the GOC to communicate and reflect on key changes, events and risks to their programme(s), and to provide assurance of their continuing compliance with our requirements.

The sector reports below provide high-level summaries of the outcomes of recent AMR cycles.

Acrobat Reader icon GOC Annual Monitoring & Reporting 2017-18 - Sector Report

Acrobat Reader icon GOC Annual Monitoring & Reporting 2018-19 - Sector Report

Acrobat Reader icon GOC Annual Monitoring Reporting 2019-20 Sector Report

 Notification of Reportable Events and Changes

To assist the GOC in maintaining adequate oversight of approved qualifications, providers are required to report events and changes to a programme to the GOC. Please note that providers are not required to report all events in or changes to their programme(s).

The GOC has provided guidance to assist providers in identifying the events and changes that must be reported, and to explain the notifications process.

Acrobat Reader icon Notification of Reportable Events and Changes Guidance

Conditions Management

Should a provider fail to demonstrate that it meets one or more of our requirements, the GOC will identify the unmet requirement(s) and set a condition in relation to this. A condition will identify the unmet requirement and set a deadline for the provider to demonstrate that the requirement is met.

Failure to meet a condition by the deadline set by the GOC is a serious matter. It reduces the assurance that the GOC has over a provider’s ability to deliver a programme effectively and comply with our requirements. Failure to comply with a condition may lead to the GOC conducting a Serious Concerns Review of the programme, which could lead to the withdrawal of approval by the GOC. 

Acrobat Reader icon Effective Conditions Management 2020


Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

The GOC recognises that many providers are part of institutions that already have well-tested and longstanding systems for the accreditation or recognition of prior learning in other programmes, which may be unregulated or regulated by other regulators.

We have therefore produced guidance that sets out the GOC’s expectations of providers regarding RPL, and the requirements that the GOC expect a providers RPL provision to adhere to.

Acrobat Reader icon Recognition of Prior Learning Guidance






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