How the GOC accredits universities
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How the GOC accredits university courses

Accreditation webThe Opticians Act grants us the power to approve establishments providing training as optometrists or dispensing opticians and qualifications that are recognised for entry to the GOC register.

We currently accredit 15 UK providers of optical programmes and qualifications.

Within the legislation there are no restrictions on the establishment of a new optical training programme or qualifications. Therefore the decision to establish a new course is determined by the provider. We have no control over the number of establishments running courses.

When we grant approval we may specify a limit on the size of intake permitted. However this number must be based on the providers’ ability to provide sufficient resources to support a given number of students.

We do not have the power to limit student numbers or availability of education and training in order to regulate the market as this is outside of our regulatory scope.

How does approval work?

In order for the programme or qualification to be recognised for GOC registration we must first accredit it. We consider applications against our standards for education and training, which are published in the Requirements of UK Education and Training Handbooks. The GOC has a regulatory duty to consider any application made by a training provider or examining body against these standards.

In order to reach a decision as to whether a programme or qualification meets the standards required for accreditation, we use a three stage process:

  • An initial document submission demonstrating that the programme structure, content and assessment framework are designed to meet our standards. Our Education Committee reviews this and grants provisional approval once it is satisfied the proposal meets our standards.
  • A GOC Education Panel will audit the provider to ensure delivery is in line with the approved proposal. This provisional approval status normally lasts 3-4 years during which we conduct regular monitoring visits, speak to staff and students, observe training and assessments and review course material.
  • Only once the Education Committee is fully satisfied that the programme meets all of the required standards does it recommend to the GOC Council that full accreditation status be granted. Council will make its final decision based on the Visit Reports captured during the provisional period. Accredited education and training is awarded after an approval period of 1-5 years, which determines the frequency of future monitoring visits, and institutions are required to submit annual monitoring reports.


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eBulletin August 2012

GOC out and about to talk CET

How the GOC accredits university courses

Recruitment: education visiting panels

Consultation: declarations guidance

Final student retention deadline tomorrow

Fight for Sight's Carrots Nightwalk