GOC issues withdrawal notice to University of Portsmouth Master of Optometry programme

The General Optical Council (GOC) has announced the withdrawal of provisional approval from the University of Portsmouth’s Master of Optometry programme from 10 January 2020. Education institutions require approval for their qualifications to be recognised for the purposes of GOC registration.

This follows on from a notice of intention to withdraw, which was issued on 9 December 2019. The university was given a month to object to the decision and no objections were received during this time.

As part of the withdrawal decision, the GOC has permitted the current year 4 (level 7) students to receive a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Optometry. This will allow them to continue their studies and undertake a clinical placement under the College of Optometrists’ Scheme for Registration which could lead to registration with the GOC.

A further request has been submitted by the university for the current year 3 (level 6) students to be permitted to undertake further teaching and assessment to achieve a BSc in Optometry. This is being considered by the GOC separately.

GOC Chief Executive and Registrar, Lesley Longstone, said:

"The decision to withdraw provisional approval has not been taken lightly. Protecting the public remains at the forefront of our agenda and we have followed robust processes and worked closely with the University to provide the opportunity for them to address our concerns.

Our role as a regulator is to ensure that all regulated education and training meets our standards, and we take regulatory action when those concerns are not resolved. We have notified the Office for Students, the independent regulator for Higher Education in England, regarding our decision.

We recognise this is a difficult time for students and others affected and have been assured by the university that the students’ interests are their top priority."


1. GOC Statement on the intention to withdraw provisional approval: https://www.optical.org

2. For more information, please see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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