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GOC reports drop in student removals

4 Sep 2012

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has today removed 199 students from its registers for failing to renew their registration for 2012-13. This represents just 4.5% of the student registers.

This is a decrease from 217 student optometrists and dispensing opticians removed last year and is the equivalent of just over half the 386 students removed in 2010, the final year before the introduction of online retention.

GOC head of registration Philip Hallam said: “The vast majority of students completed their retention on time and are now all set for the new academic year. However, for the small minority who failed to renew, the impact is serious. They cannot now continue their course until they have restored to the registers and will have to pay an extra £20 on top of their annual registration fee.”

Students who failed to renew 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 and 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:
Neil Drake
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. 51 student optometrists and 148 student dispensing opticians were removed from the registers for failing to renew on time. This represents 4.9% of the student register, compared with 5.5% last year. 13 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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