Education Strategic Review

The Education Strategic Review (ESR) was launched in March 2016 as a key priority within our former 2017-2020 Strategic Plan. In our 2020-2025 ‘Fit for the Future’ Strategic Plan we said we intend to build on this work to update our requirements for the qualifications we approve, an enormously important and complex piece of work that will enable us to maintain public protection as the roles of registrants evolve. 

In July 2019, Council gave steers on the ESR proposals. This included the introduction of an integrated form of optical education, combining academic study with professional and clinical experience in a single GOC-approved qualification on a student or trainee’s journey to registration or specialist entry to the GOC register, with the aim of ensuring that the skills and abilities of our registrants remain up to date and responsive to the needs of the healthcare system. Two dedicated Expert Advisory Groups (EAGs) were formed, one for optometry and one for dispensing opticians and following extensive engagement and consultation during 2020, the updated requirements for GOC approved qualifications in optometry and dispensing optics (the ESR pre-registration qualification deliverables) were approved by Council on 21 February 2021. The updated requirements will replace the Education Quality Assurance Handbooks for optometry (2015) and ophthalmic dispensing (2011) and associated policies. The updated requirements for optometry and dispensing optics are published here. This concludes the ESR workstream for pre-registration qualifications. 

In August 2019 the terms of reference and project plan for the development of the ESR post-registration speciality qualifications deliverables were approved by the GOC Senior Management Team. The intention was to replicate (at pace) the drafting, research and consultation process undertaken for the pre-registration qualifications for dispensing opticians and optometrists, with leadership from two dedicated Expert Advisory Groups (EAGs), one for therapeutic/independent (TP/IP) prescribing and one for contact lens opticians (CLO).

Following extensive engagement and consultation during 2021, the updated requirements for GOC approved qualifications in additional supply (AS), supplementary prescribing (SP) and independent prescribing (IP) were approved by Council on 8 December 2021. Our Council papers can be accessed here

Updated requirements for GOC approved qualifications as a contact lens optician are currently out for consultation, these proposals can be accessed via our Consultation hub, and will be considered for approval by Council in March 2022. This will conclude the ESR workstream for post-registration qualifications.