2018-19 archived consultation: Education Strategic Review


25 Feb 2019


12 Nov 2018

This consultation was previously hosted on our consultation hub. We have moved it here as part of archiving.


This consultation forms part of our Education Strategic Review (ESR) and follows on from our analysis of key findings from the Concepts and Principles Consultation published earlier this year.

As the regulator for optometrists and dispensing opticians, our role is to protect the public. One of the key ways that we do this is by setting the standards of optical education and then approving and quality assuring education programmes and qualifications that lead to professional registration with us.

We have now developed new draft Education Standards and Learning Outcomes and an impact assessment, which you can access by clicking on the link below. We've also included a copy of the consultation questions.

Draft Education Standards and Learning Outcomes

Education Strategic Review impact assessment

Consultation questions

You will need to look at these draft Education Standards and Learning Outcomes to be able to answer some of the questions in the survey.  You can also access a copy of these after you begin the survey.

Our aim is to provide a robust approach to approval and quality assurance of relevant optical education that ensures the public are protected as our registrants take on new roles in a changing landscape, such as greater delivery of enhanced services. 

We want the education providers that we approve and quality assure to have flexibility and agility in developing their programmes so that they can respond to changing patient, service and business needs in the optical sector. At the same time we feel that our role as the regulator for the UK optical professions is to act in a proportionate way, to avoid unnecessary duplication and burden on those we regulate, whilst fulfilling our primary role of protecting the public. 

We have been working with experts in the optical sector to develop new standards that education providers must adopt when designing and delivering their programmes and learning outcomes that we would expect all students to achieve before being admitted to the GOC register.

Whilst the new outcomes-based approach offers the benefits of greater freedom and flexibility than our current prescriptive approach, it also means new ways of doing things for many of our education providers. The key differences are set out in the main body of this consultation document.

We recognise that there will be challenges in establishing and transitioning to a new approach. We look forward to working closely with our providers to ensure the health and safety of the public is protected at all times, and to ensure that the intended outcomes of changing our approach are realised.

The responses to this consultation will help to inform our risk and impact assessment regarding the introduction of these new Education Standards and Learning Outcomes. We will carefully consider and account for all views before system implementation.

The Education Standards and Learning Outcomes contained within this document are in draft and do not represent the final version.

What we have heard

We have engaged widely across the optical and wider health sector, including with education and training providers, students, patient organisations, the NHS and departments of health across the UK, NHS Commissioners in England, optical businesses and other optical service providers. We have heard many consistent messages throughout the ESR, which have led us to believe:

  • student practitioners need earlier, more varied and regular experience of engaging with patients;
  • we should put more focus on evaluating the outcomes of education and training rather than detailed inputs, such as how programmes should be delivered;
  • professionals of the future need to be able to make clinical decisions confidently and safely;
  • professionals of the future need to be equipped to deliver new, different and innovative services; and
  • we need to have a consistent, fair and proportionate approach to approving and quality assuring education and training that leads to registration with us.

Why your views matter

This consultation sets out our draft Education Standards for providers and Learning Outcomes for students which reflect and build on the evidence and feedback we have obtained through our ESR. The main focus of the ESR is the education and training that leads to professional registration as an optical professional.

We are seeking the views of stakeholders on these current drafts to ensure our final proposals are future-proof and fit for purpose.

We welcome all responses to the consultation which we will consider in the context of our ongoing work on the ESR.

What happens next

We intend to analyse the feedback from this consultation during January 2019 and will use it to inform our final version of the new Education Standards and Learning Outcomes. Subject to what we hear from stakeholders in this consultation and our engagement activity, we have identified the opportunity of introducing the new education standards in July 2019. We will be working with optical education providers to agree implementation plans when this consultation has concluded.