Supervising a student

Overview of supervision arrangements

The student will still need to be supported by a supervisor, or a supervisory team of suitably qualified staff, drawn from across the multi-disciplinary team. Supervisors should be allowed the time to fulfil this role. The student’s supervisor, or at least one appropriate member of the supervisory team, will need to be in the practice on the same days as the student is working. 

Supervisors do not have to be in the room while the student consults with a patient at all times. However, a judgement will need to be made about what levels of oversight are required. These are expected to be higher in the first weeks or months of the placement. Supervisors will also need to be present whenever the task is considered to carry high risk, or the patient has complex needs.

For the first time, the College will be able to train and approve newly qualified optometrists as well as dispensing opticians as supervisors. They will be supported in this role via College membership.

Key features

The introduction of the GOC’s Education and Training Requirements brings a number of changes to the guidance for supervision. New developments include: 

  • Supervisory roles are different to the current ‘Principal Supervisor’ and ‘Additional Supervisor’, with the new roles of ‘Practice Educational Lead’ and ‘Task Supervisor’
  • More flexibility in the experience requirements for staff fulfilling these roles – there is no set requirement for two years’ post-qualifying experience
  • Opportunities for newly-qualified registrants to become involved in supervision of specific tasks or areas
  • Scope for larger practices, or smaller practices working together, to create a team to support the student, with the allocation of supervisory tasks. 
  • Different rules on the number of students any individual can supervise
  • Enhanced College support for all types of supervisor, including new training courses and the CLiP Portal, which will include logbook and risk framework tool. 

Supervisor roles and requirements

The employer will need to assure the supervisory arrangements. Every student will have a Practice Educational Lead (‘Practice Lead’) to maintain overall responsibility for their work-based learning and experience. The Practice Lead will generally need to demonstrate significant experience of supervising in order to take on the role. This may include supervision on the Scheme for Registration. 

In workplace settings where this is possible, the Practice Lead will be able to delegate supervisory responsibilities to a Practice Task Supervisor (‘Task Supervisor’) or a team of Task Supervisors. 

The Task Supervisor need have no prior experience of supervision and may be a newly-qualified optometrist or a member of another relevant profession. The College training package will enable these key members of the team to approach first-time supervision confidently and develop the depth and breadth of their skills as they undertake and reflect on the role.

All supervisors will need to be College members. Supervisors who are not optometrists can become College Associate Members and will need to complete the required training for their role to become College-approved to supervise on CLiP. All supervisory roles will benefit from the CLiP Portal, College training and support. 

Training and support

We are re-designing training for supervisors and will be making new courses available as e-learning modules, with supplementary online and peer sessions. Our new training programmes will allow both Task Supervisors and Practice Leads to complete training tailored to their role which attracts CPD points in the leadership and communications domains. 

We will also recognise the experience gained by Principal Supervisors on the Scheme for Registration as meeting prerequisites for CLiP supervision. Any Principal Supervisor on the Scheme who is preparing to supervise as a CLiP Practice Lead will only be asked to complete a selection of short CLiP-specific training modules rather than the entire course. 

If you are interested in learning more about new supervision arrangements, please see the CLiP Employer Handbook