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News from Council 9 May 2018

15 May 2018

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GOC to consult on future of optical education and training

Council agreed to consult with stakeholders on changes to both pre-qualification education and Continuing Education and Training (CET) to ensure that current practitioners and the practitioners of tomorrow are equipped for the future roles that will be required to meet the needs of patients.

A part of the Education Strategic Review (ESR), the GOC consulted recently on the concepts and principles that should underpin the system of education and training which prepares students to join the GOC register. The next step will be to consult on new standards for education providers that promote enhanced clinical experience and provide greater freedom to innovate; new learning outcomes for students that reflect the full range of skills and knowledge required to be an optical professional; and on how the GOC should move to a more outcomes-focused approach to accrediting and quality assuring education programmes.  

The GOC will also be seeking views on the timetable for moving to the new system, with the possibility of some early adopter institutions starting in September 2019, with others following a year later.

The consultation will also consider changes to CET to promote continuing professional development by enabling practitioners to tailor their training to their particular scope of practice, while continuing to ensure they are safe to practise.

The GOC will also be seeking views on how to move to this new approach. The intention is to implement changes from January 2020, which means that at the end of the current CET cycle (2016-18) there would be a single CET transition year, rather than a full three year cycle.

Alistair Bridge, GOC Director of Strategy, said, “We know from our stakeholders how the optical sector and the roles of optometrists and dispensing opticians are changing. And we recognise how important it is for education and training to keep pace with these changes and for us to support students and practitioners in preparing for and developing their careers.

"There has been strong support among stakeholders for the direction we are taking.  We are now ready to test some firm proposals with stakeholders and look forward to hearing people’s views on both the changes we are proposing and how to implement them effectively”.

The consultation on the future of education will from June to July. Final consultations on both CET and the ESR will follow from October to December.

Non-EEA Registration

Council approved a new registration process for optometrists outside of the European Economic Area (non-EEA) which will take effect on 4 June 2018.

The new process will involve matching the applicants’ skills and knowledge against the GOC’s stage 1 and 2 competencies, an interview with an expert registrant assessor, further academic training if required, and then require completion of the Scheme for Registration operated by the College of Optometrists. An additional fee of £200 will also be introduced for applicants that progress to the interview stage.

The new process is consistent with the UK requirements for registration and will ensure that the public is protected. 

Other news

Council provisionally approved a BSc (Hons) Optometry programme (subject to conditions being met) at the University of West England, to commence in September 2018.




For media enquiries please contact:

GOC Communications Team

General Optical Council
t: 020 7580 3898 (option 3)


Notes to editors

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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 29,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.

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