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News from GOC Council, 12 September 2018

13 Sep 2018

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Education Strategic Review

The GOC hopes to give education providers more flexibility in delivering their courses to ensure students are equipped for future roles, after its Council approved a public consultation on new proposed standards for education providers and learning outcomes for optical students as part of its Education Strategic Review (ESR).

Alistair Bridge, GOC Director of Strategy, said, “The draft standards are focused on outcomes to allow greater flexibility for education providers and encourage innovation. They will need to be accompanied by a robust approach to accreditation and quality assurance but we hope this new flexibility will make it much easier for providers to prepare students to meet the demands of patients in the future.”

The draft standards are designed to cover the full route to registration for students, both in teaching and in clinical practice. Applying the standards will involve education providers working in partnership with other bodies, such as professional associations and employers, to provide improved clinical experience.

The proposed standards and learning outcomes reflect and build upon the feedback obtained so far through both the GOC’s ESR and its Continuing Education and Training (CET) Review.

The new proposed standards will focus on the following five areas:

  • Patient safety and professionalism
  • Safe and accessible learning
  • Access to clinical experience
  • Developing and delivering curricula, and;
  • Governance, leadership and management.

There are different draft learning outcomes for optometrists, dispensing opticians and contact lens opticians. For the new learning outcomes for independent prescribers, the GOC proposes to adopt the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Competency Framework for all Prescribers.

The GOC also proposes to have one set of learning outcomes for qualified practitioners, which will allow registrants to choose CET that helps them maintain their core skills but also engage in continuing professional development.

Alistair Bridge, GOC Director of Strategy, said: “We want to ensure optical students are better prepared for their roles professionally as the optical professions change fast in the face of new technology, pressures on eyecare changes and an ageing population.

“The draft standards and learning outcomes reflect the principles that we have consulted on previously and which received broad support from stakeholders. We’ve had encouraging support so far but it’s important that we get stakeholders’ views, including on the practical issues that will be involved in moving to the new system - we look forward to hearing people’s views on these proposals.”

The GOC is planning to consult on the draft standards and learning outcomes from October 2018 to December 2018, with final versions brought to Council in February 2019 for approval.

Other news

GOC Chair Gareth Hadley announced that the GOC’s Interim Chief Executive and Registrar Adam Sampson is leaving the GOC to take up a permanent CEO role leading a new charity being created to provide residential and education services to severely disabled children and adults. A new GOC Interim Chief Executive & Registrar will start next week; the GOC will announce their name in the coming days once formalities have been completed.


For media enquiries please contact:

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

Notes to editors
1. Council papers are available at:

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 30,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.

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