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GOC reports continued fall in student removals

3 Sep 2013

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has today removed 153 students from its registers for failing to renew their registration for 2013-14. This represents just 3.8% of student registrants and is the third consecutive year that numbers removed have fallen since the introduction of online retention.

The figures show a significant fall compared to last year, when 199 students – 4.5% of the total - were removed from the register. In 2010, the last year before online retention was introduced, 386 students were removed for failing to renew, representing 9.3% of the total.

Philip Hallam, GOC Head of Registration, said: “We are very pleased to see that the numbers of student registrants applying for retention on time have continued to increase. However, for those who have been removed from the register the consequences for their studies and future careers are potentially serious.”

Students who have been removed from the GOC registers cannot sit exams, nor take part in clinical training. The GOC works closely with all training institutions to ensure that only registered students are taking part in their courses. Lists of those who have been removed are being sent 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 normal £20 retention fee.

Application forms and further information are available from the GOC website, www.optical.org - the registration team can be contacted on 020 7580 3898 (option 1) or by emailing registration@optical.org

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Simon Grier
Communications Manager
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3478
e: sgrier@optical.org

Notes for editors:
1. Optometry and dispensing optics students 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 GOC.
2. The student registration year runs from 1 September to 31 August each year. The deadline for student retention is 15 July. Students applying for retention after this date but before 31 August must pay a late application fee. Failure to apply by 31 August results in removal from the register.
3. 61 student optometrists and 92 student dispensing opticians were removed from the registers for failing to renew on time. This represents 3.8% of the student register, compared with 4.5% last year. 30 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.
5. The GOC is currently consulting on whether to change the way students are regulated in the future. More information can be found on the GOC website at http://www.optical.org/en/get-involved/consultations/index.cfm

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 26,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.

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