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Student retention deadline passed

19 Jul 2011

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The deadline for student optometrists and dispensing opticians to renew their General Optical Council (GOC) registration has now passed, with the regulator reporting a large increase in the proportion of students applying on time.

By the 15 July closing date 87% of students had applied – up from 78% in 2010.

Philip Hallam, GOC head of registration, put the improvement down to the new online retention system: “The first year of online retention saw an increase in the number of fully-qualified registrants applying on time, and we’re delighted that this has been repeated with students. The new system makes applying for retention quick and easy and has helped a lot more students meet this important deadline. The online system is an important part of being a modern, efficient, regulator and we are very pleased by the success of its first year.”

The number of students missing the deadline was 542, compared with 951 last year. These students must now apply by 31 August, incurring an extra £10 late application charge on top of the £20 fee. If they don’t, they face being removed from the registers in September and will then be unable to continue their studies until they have restored their registration, at a cost of £40.

Mr Hallam added: “Those students who missed the deadline are putting their education and future career at risk. Registration is a legal requirement and students who do not renew may be unable to take part in clinical training or exams.”

Students with registration queries can either contact the registration team on 020 7580 3898 (option 1), email registration@optical.org or send a tweet to @GOC_UK.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Liz Carr
Communications Manager
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3473
e: lcarr@optical.org

Notes for editors:

1. Optometry and dispensing optics students come into contact with patients during their educational courses and vocational 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. Students who renew their registration now but decide not to continue with their course in September should inform the GOC in writing before 31 August to receive a refund of the £20 retention fee.

3. Overall, 3730 out of 4272 students applied for retention by 15 July. 98.3% of those chose to use the new online system, with the remainder sending in a paper application.
 

About the General Optical Council:
The GOC is the regulator for the optical professions in the UK. Its purpose is to protect the public by promoting high standards of education, performance and conduct amongst opticians. The Council currently registers around 24,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.


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