News from Council 10 July 2019

Education Strategic Review update

Council reviewed the recommendations developed in response to the Education Strategic Review (ESR) consultation on draft Education Standards for providers and Learning Outcomes for students, and decided upon the next steps.

Following the steers provided by Council in May on the key issues raised by the consultation, the GOC organised workshops with a wide range of stakeholders to further explore the issues and gain insight into stakeholders’ views.

The stakeholder workshops provided extremely valuable feedback and were instrumental in the development of the recommendations that were presented to Council. Council considered and decided to approve these recommendations, which were:

  • To implement the ‘one accountable provider’ approach;
  • To create a standardised assessment framework;
  • To develop learning outcomes and education standards that increase the clinical content of courses and the emphasis on professionalism and clinical leadership; and
  • To support mentoring schemes for newly qualified professionals and to take forward work to support such schemes alongside an exploration of other options for support through our already established Transition to Practice project under the CET Review Programme.

The GOC Director of Education Dr Subo Shanmuganathan said:

"I would like to thank all of the stakeholders that attended our recent workshops for their commitment and constructive engagement. Our overarching goal is to develop a system of optical education that prepares practitioners for the roles of the future and ensures they can meet the changing needs of patients while maintaining public safety.

"We acknowledge the feedback we’ve received and accept that we need to do further work to shape the learning outcomes to ensure they are fit for the future. We intend to do this through two expert advisory groups, one for Optometrists and one for Dispensing Opticians. We also understand the importance of developing an implementation plan that is realistic for all of our stakeholders. We have undertaken wide ranging stakeholder engagement throughout this review, and will continue to do so as we develop the final standards and outcomes and the timeframes for implementation."

The GOC will publish the final ESR Education Standards and Learning Outcomes consultation response report shortly and will set out a short term, medium term and long term implementation plan for each recommendation at November Council.

Love Your Lenses campaign update

Council welcomed the presentation from Claremont Communications reporting on this year’s Love Your Lenses campaign, which focused on promoting materials to support practitioners to ‘land the message’ when providing contact lens patients with aftercare advice and so raising standards of care.

Council members also considered a report evaluating the impact of the Love Your Lenses campaign and expressed their appreciation for the positive support for the campaign provided by a wide range of stakeholders, including patient representatives, optical businesses, professional bodies and manufacturers.

Council recognised the campaign’s valuable contribution to patient safety and having established and orchestrated the campaign over the last three years, decided that it was now an appropriate time to hand over the GOC’s Love Your Lenses campaign to a sector body to allow the GOC to invest in new areas of work more closely linked to its core regulatory functions. The GOC will be discussing the next steps with stakeholders and will make a further announcement on the future of the campaign in due course.

Education: Approval and Quality Assurance

Council granted provisional approval for the following programmes:

  • A new programme providing two registrable qualifications in optometry and in ophthalmic dispensing at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan); and
  • A new therapeutic prescribing programme at the University of Hertfordshire.

Council granted provisional approval to the University of Huddersfield’s new optometry programme, subject to the Registrar being content with additional mitigating actions, which may include writing to the Vice Chancellor.

Provisional approval means that the provider has been approved by the GOC to run a programme which is considered as all or part of a route to registration. Students recruited to the programme are not guaranteed entry to the GOC register and may be required to undertake additional assessment through an alternative approved provider in the event that any aspect of the programme when delivered does not satisfy our requirements.

Council granted full approval to the University of Hertfordshire’s Master of Optometry programme.

Public perceptions research

Council discussed the findings from this year’s public perceptions research, which tracks the public’s view of eye care services across all four nations. The research report will be published later this month.


Notes to editors:

  1. See previous council papers
  2. The ESR consultation on draft Education Standards and Learning Outcomes ran from 12 November 2018 until 25 February 2019 and received a total of 539 responses. Read the consultation report and other ESR publications.

For further information please contact:

Communications Team

General Optical Council

t: 020 7307 3478 – option 3


About the General Optical Council

The GOC is the regulator for the optical professions in the UK. Its purpose is to protect the public by promoting high standards of education, conduct and performance amongst opticians. The Council currently registers over 30,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.