GOC co-commissions research into Regulated Qualifications Framework level for GOC approved qualifications

The General Optical Council (GOC) has co-commissioned the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) to gather evidence and make a recommendation for the most appropriate Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) level for qualifications approved by the GOC.

This is the first piece of co-commissioned research by the GOC and is in collaboration with The College of Optometrists, the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO), the Opticians Academic Schools Council and the Optometry Schools Council.

Under the Optician’s Act, the GOC has powers to ‘approve’ qualifications leading to entry to its register. As part of the Education Strategic Review (ESR), it is developing new standards and outcomes for optical education for both dispensing opticians and optometrists to ensure they have the skills and knowledge required to fulfil the roles expected of them in the future. In conjunction with this research, the GOC is currently consulting on the key deliverables for the ESR, which include:

  • Outcomes for Registration, which describe the proposed knowledge, skills and behaviours a dispensing optician or optometrist must have at the point they qualify and register with the GOC
  • Standards for Approved Qualifications, which explain the expected context for the delivery and assessment of the outcomes leading to an award of an approved qualification
  • Quality Assurance and Enhancement Method, which describes how the GOC proposes to gather evidence to decide whether qualifications leading to registration meet its Outcomes for Registration and Standards for Approved Qualifications

Leonie Milliner, GOC Director of Education, said:

"We are delighted to collaborate with the sector on this important piece of work and to work with the QAA on carrying out this research.

One of the proposed criteria in the new Standards we are currently consulting on is that an approved qualification must be listed on one of the national frameworks for higher education qualifications for UK degree-awarding bodies or a qualification regulated by Ofqual, SQA or Qualifications Wales. These qualifications align to the Regulated Qualifications Framework or equivalent across the four nations.

This project will give us the information we need to specify within our standards a required RQF level for qualifications we approve and given the significance of the decision, it is important that the sector is in alignment, and that the decision is informed by best available evidence."

Douglas Blackstock, QAA’s Chief Executive Officer, said:

"QAA is delighted to be working with The General Optical Council to identify the appropriate Regulated Qualifications Framework level for GOC approved qualifications. As the UK’s independent quality body for higher education, our experience in safeguarding standards and enhancing the quality of provision at universities and colleges will help deliver a framework ensuring opticians and optometrists have the necessary skills and knowledge in their future roles."