Guidance on updated optical education requirements published

A collaboration across sector bodies, SPOKE, has completed its first project to produce indicative guidance supporting qualification providers in meeting the new standards

person writing

A cross-sector collaboration to support new qualifications for optometrists and dispensing opticians has completed its first project.

The Sector Partnership for Optical Knowledge and Education (SPOKE) is funded by the General Optical Council and managed by The College of Optometrists, aiming to support the successful implementation of the GOC’s new education requirements, particularly assisting the academic community in the design of new or adapted qualifications. 

Through its first project, SPOKE has created new indicative guidance to aid programme leaders and academic faculties in the roll-out of the new requirements for education and training. 

The guidance provides more detail on the content expected to be included in the new pre-registration qualifications, and also gives examples of the types of assessment that could be included in the new GOC outcomes.

On the completion of SPOKE’s first project, professor Lizzy Ostler, director of education for The College of Optometrists, explained: “Our volunteer writing teams did an amazing job collaborating and agreeing on what students aiming to qualify in these professions need to study, and bringing the GOC outcomes to life for course teams adapting to the new GOC requirements.”

It is hoped that the project will help to “lay strong foundations for the route to qualification in the years to come.”

The AOP is part of the SPOKE Oversight Committee, explained Saqib Ahmad, policy officer for the AOP, commenting on the guidance: "The indicative document was originally proposed by the AOP as a way to provide a level of consistency across new education programmes. We are pleased to see SPOKE working in a collaborative way across the sector to support implementation of the new education system.”

Leonie Milliner, chief executive and registrar for the GOC, explained that, this month, the GOC’s Council will review SPOKE’s minor amendments to the Outcomes for Registration, reflecting the content within the indicative guidance.

Milliner thanked those who contributed to the drafting of the interim guidance, adding: “This has been a highly collaborative effort and the guidance will assist providers as they develop their programmes to meet our new requirements for approved qualifications.”

SPOKE is now preparing to launch project two, which will focus on best practice approaches to teaching and learning for student optometrists and dispensing opticians, including case studies from across the UK and internationally.

The collaboration is seeking examples of good practice, particularly in areas that address the newer aspects of optical education outlined in the GOC outcomes 4-7, and methods to develop clinical competence through Miller’s pyramid. Case studies from other professions are encouraged. 

Individuals with a case study, or recommendation of someone as an example of good practice, should get in contact with SPOKE.

Ahmad commented: “We’d encourage interested members to contact the SPOKE team to get involved in future projects.”

More information about the collaboration, and details on how to get involved in project two can be found online. SPOKE can be contacted at: [email protected]