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GOC removes 399 student opticians from the registers

1 Sep 2008

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has today removed from its registers a total of 399 student optometrists and dispensing opticians who failed to renew their registration for 2008/9.

When compared to last year’s figures, this represents a three per cent increase in the number of students who failed to complete the retention process. The relevant education providers and examining bodies are being sent lists of students who have been removed.

Acting Registrar and Chief Executive, Dian Taylor warned: “Unregistered students who intend to continue with their studies must make sure they reapply for registration before the autumn term gets underway. Student opticians have a responsibility to demonstrate professionalism and accountability from day one in their careers, which means getting their retention application and fee in on time.”

The GOC has further warned that any unregistered student who carries out reserved functions, such as sight testing, may face prosecution for a criminal offence. Unregistered students should not be allowed to continue with their course or pre-registration training. Nor should they sit any exams until they have re-applied for registration. Council may refuse full registration to any student who has not been continuously registered, and any gaps in registration may be taken into account when determining fitness to practise at a later stage.

To reapply for registration students must submit a completed application for student registration form, and pay the £20 retention fee. Retention forms will no longer be accepted. Application forms for student registration and further information are available from the GOC website, The registration team can also be contacted on 020 7580 3898 (option 1) or email

First year students starting optometry or dispensing optics courses this year will need to register before their course begins. This Autumn the GOC will be visiting all the universities and colleges which are providing GOC-approved courses to give new students an insight into the profession, and to highlight the role of the GOC and requirements for registration.


Notes for editors:
1. There are a total of 3732 students on the Council’s registers, including 1437 student dispensing opticians and 2295 student optometrists.
2. Student registrants removed from the register:
Student optometrists – 133
Student dispensing opticians – 266
3. Optometry and dispensing optics come into contact with patients during their educational courses and practical training. Since 30 June 2005, it has been a legal requirement for optometry and dispensing optics students to be registered with the General Optical Council.
4. The student registration year runs from 1 September to 31 August, and students must apply for retention by 15 July.

For further information, please contact:

Clare Millington
Communications Officer
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3473

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