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GOC Education Report

GOC publishes 2021/22 education annual monitoring sector report

The GOC annual monitoring and reporting sector report,

This provides insights into GOC approved education qualifications between 1 September 2021 and 31 August 2022.

Each year, all providers of GOC approved qualifications are required to submit information relating to qualification changes, changes to qualification delivery and/or assessment (including risks to delivery), lessons learned, and good practice.

Under the Opticians Act 1989, we have the power to approve and quality assure qualifications leading to GOC registration or speciality registration, which includes all elements of training, learning and assessment that a provider must deliver for its students to successfully complete their studies and join the GOC register.

The GOC analysed the information provided to identify:

  • updates regarding key events and changes at qualification level;
  • current risks and issues relating to individual approved qualifications(s);
  • themes, strengths, and risks within the optical education sector;
  • the diversity of students within the optical sector;
  • examples of good practice and lessons learnt; and
  • ways the GOC’s quality assurance activities could be developed.

During 2021/22, there were a total of 37 qualifications delivered across 4,534 optical students.

The report found that providers are still facing a number of issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including: high street opticians experiencing ongoing effects regarding the supply of placements; a higher than normal number of non-progressing students due to mitigation measures imposed such as teacher assessed grades; failure to provide required placements resulting from the post-COVID recovery plans of devolved administrations; and the ongoing physical and mental impact on students and staff.

Optometry (OP) qualifications maintained strong application figures with an average Year 1 cohort similar to the previous year. Meanwhile, applications for dispensing optics (DO) qualifications have sustained the significant increase seen for the 2021/22 Year 1 cohort when numbers more than doubled compared to the previous year. The data suggests that recruitment figures have returned to pre-pandemic levels, which is a significant welcome development.

There was a decrease in trainees on independent prescribing (IP) courses, however despite this, the GOC’s latest registrant survey shows strong continued demand for IP qualifications. Trainees on contact lens optics (CLO) qualifications has remained stable over the last three years.

For more insights, see the full 2021/22 sector report.

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