GOC launches ESR consultation on updated education and training requirements

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today launched its Education Strategic Review (ESR) consultation on proposals to update its requirements for GOC approved qualifications leading to registration as a dispensing optician or an optometrist. 

The consultation is seeking views on the following:

  • 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

These documents will replace the GOC’s current Quality Assurance Handbooks for optometry and dispensing opticians, which includes the required core competencies students must meet, the numerical requirements for students’ practical experiences, and related education policies and guidance. They will also replace the GOC’s supervision policy, which outlines requirements for the supervision of trainees undertaking practice-based learning, and the GOC’s policy on the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

Their development was led by two Expert Advisory Groups (EAGs) for optometrists and for dispensing opticians with input from the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), which includes feedback from a range of stakeholders including patient representatives, the optical sector and sight-loss charities, the GOC’s Advisory Panel (including the Education Committee) and Education Visitors.

The proposals build upon feedback from the 2018-19 consultation on proposals stemming from the Education Strategic Review (ESR), and analysis of key findings from the concepts and principles consultation published in 2017-18.

Leonie Milliner, GOC Director of Education, said:

"The proposed documents will ensure the qualifications we approve are responsive to a rapidly changing landscape in the commissioning of eye-care services in each of the devolved nations. They respond to the changing needs of patients and service users and changes in higher education, not least as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as increased expectations of the student community and their future employers. 

We need to consult now to ensure that our current requirements do not become out of date and that the qualifications we approve in the future are fit for purpose. It’s also important that we consult now so that the changes we make to our qualifications align with the changes we make to our pre-registration competence requirements as part of our Continuing Education and Training (CET) Review.

We have worked with a wide range of stakeholders from the optical sector to develop these proposals and we look forward to continuing to work with the sector to ensure optical education is fit for the future. We would like to thank everyone who took the time to help us develop our proposals to ensure they protect and benefit the public, safeguard patients and help to secure the health of service-users."

To take part in the consultation, visit the GOC Consultation Hub. The last date to participate is 19 October 2020.