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GOC reports significant drop in student retention removals

2 Sep 2011

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has removed 217 students from its registers for failing to renew their registration for 2011-12.

The number represents a significant drop in the number of student optometrists and dispensing opticians failing to meet the 31 August late application deadline. At the same time last year, the GOC removed 386 students from the registers.

GOC chief executive and registrar Samantha Peters was pleased with this year’s positive response to this deadline: “We are delighted that so many more students renewed their registration on time this year. However, the impact for those who have been removed from the registers is serious. Unregistered students are now unable to continue their course until they have restored to the registers – at extra cost. They cannot sit exams, nor take part in clinical training, and we will continue to work closely with all training institutions to ensure that only registered students are taking part in their courses.”

This year, 97.5 per cent of students used the GOC’s new online system to complete the renewals process. According to a recent GOC survey, 88 per cent of students using MyGOC found the process ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’, and 92 per cent completed their retention in under ten minutes.

The GOC is now sending lists of those who have been removed to the relevant training providers and examining bodies.

Students who have been removed and intend to continue with their course must apply to have their name restored to the registers before the new term starts. To do this, they must submit a completed restoration form, and pay a total of £40 – double the basic £20 retention fee. This must be done by post, and cannot be completed online. Application forms and further information are available from the GOC website, The registration team can also be contacted on 020 7580 3898 (option 1) or email

This Autumn, the GOC will hold a series of roadshows for first year students enrolled on every GOC-approved course in optometry and dispensing optics. GOC staff will be highlighting the importance of student registration, and explaining the Council’s work.


For media enquiries please contact:
Clare March
Communications Manager
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3473

Notes for editors:

1. 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.

2. The student registration year runs from 1 September to 31 August, and students must apply for retention by 15 July.

3. 72 student optometrists and 145 student dispensing opticians were removed from the registers for failing to renew on time. This represents 5.5% of the student register, down from 9.3% last year. 23 students voluntarily withdrew from the registers.

4. If a student has not been continuously registered throughout their course, the GOC may refuse them full registration. Gaps in registration may also be taken into account when determining an optician’s fitness to practise in the future. Unregistered students who carry out activities reserved for GOC registrants, such as sight tests, may face criminal prosecution.


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