Work-based assessment FAQs

Do you have questions about assessment, supervision and training placements? We have the answers.

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Can I find out the name of my College assessor before starting my training?

No, the name of your College assessor will be confirmed in your enrolment letter. It will also be displayed in the My trainee area.

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Can my College assessor be changed?

We can change your College assessor once during your training if you feel it is necessary. The request must be made by the trainee's supervisor and they must also agree to the change. If you would like to change assessor for any reason, the supervisor should contact us.

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Do I need to contact my College assessor once I'’ve received confirmation of enrolment from the College?

No, your College assessor will be given your practice contact details and they will contact you directly at work. This should be one to two weeks from your training start date. If you have not heard from your College assessor within this time period please contact us. When your College assessor contacts you for the first time, they will give you their contact telephone number and/or email address so you can contact them directly in future.

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What should I do if I am not happy about the results of an assessment visit?

In the first instance you must discuss any issues you have regarding the assessment with your supervisor. If you are both in agreement, then your supervisor should raise your concerns directly with the assessor. Following this, if you and your supervisor are still in disagreement with the assessor, your supervisor should contact the Lead assessor who will investigate this further.

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When will my first assessment visit take place?

Your first assessment visit will take place around one month after your start date and further visits will then take place at quarterly intervals. The date of your first work-based assessment visits will be confirmed by your College assessor when they first contact you. All visit dates will be arranged directly between the trainee, supervisor and assessor rather than via the College. You need to contact your College assessor directly with queries regarding assessment visit dates.

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Who are the College assessors?

College assessors are all experienced optometrists who have extensive experience of acting as a College supervisor and/or examiner.

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Will my College assessor be changed during my training?

The College will not change your assessor unless there are exceptional circumstances. For example, if you move placement and your new location makes it impossible for your assessor to continue visiting you, or if your College assessor cannot carry on assessing for any reason.

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If my registered supervisor is absent from the practice can I be supervised by someone else?

Yes, you can be supervised by another GOC-registered optometrist on a temporary basis. If your registered supervisor is unable to supervise you they must ensure they ask another optometrist or another professional recognised as being competent for this function by the Opticians Act, i.e. a GOC or GMC registrant such as a contact lens optician, dispensing optician, ophthalmologist  to supervise you in their absence. You must remember that you cannot perform sight tests unsupervised at any point during your pre-registration period.

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What happens if I have a problem/dispute with my supervisor?

You should discuss any issue with your supervisor in the first instance and try to resolve it with them. It is always best to try to resolve issues in-house. Speaking to the person in the company responsible for pre-registration training may also be helpful. If you are still having problems, you should speak to your College assessor and if the problem is still not resolved, then contact us.

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What happens if my registered supervisor changes during my training?

Visit the Changing my supervision section for details on updating your supervision arrangements.

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What is the role of the supervisor?

The role of the supervisor is explained in detail in the Scheme for Registration Handbook.

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How long does an optometrist need to have been qualified for to become a supervisor and what are the other qualifying criteria?

If they are supervising as an only, principal or joint supervisor then it must be at least three years from the date on which they were entered on the GOC register as a fully qualified optometrist. A second supervisor, who can only do it with a principal, only or joint supervisor, must have been on the register as a fully qualified optometrist for at least one year. A secondary supervisor must be registered as working in the same practice as at least one only, principal or joint supervisor. More information can be found in the Supervision section.

Supervisors must also be College members and have completed the online supervisor training modules.

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Can a supervisor supervise more than one trainee at the same time?

Usually this is not possible. However it is permissible in the following situations that a supervisor could supervise a maximum of two trainees at the same time:

  1. If the supervisor is an only, principal or joint supervisor (with the required three years registration as a fully qualified optometrist) and at least one (or both) of the trainees has completed Stage 1 of their training and is at the Stage 2 or OSCE stage of their training. This is to ensure that having two trainees will not have a negative impact on the experience of either trainee. The supervisor would still need to guarantee both trainees a minimum of 20 hours consulting room access.
  2. The supervisor and trainee are based in a hospital.

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Who can be a temporary supervisor?

Any registered optometrist can be a temporary supervisor. There is no qualifying period, College membership is not required and neither is completion of the College’s online supervision training. It can also be another professional recognized as being competent for this function by the Opticians Act, i.e. a contact lens optician for contact lens work within their remit, dispensing optician, ophthalmologist. Your supervisor should check the eligibility of the person they have asked to supervise you in their absence. You must remember that you cannot perform sight tests unsupervised at any point during your pre-registration period.

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Is any paperwork required for temporary supervision?

No, however, you should check that you have not already reached the limits for temporary supervision for a pre-registration training year. 

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How long can I be under temporary supervision for?

Trainees can be supervised by a temporary supervisor for up to 30 days (six working weeks based on five days) over a 12 month period from their practice training start date. However, if the supervision is for every day of the trainee's working week, it can only be for up to only four consecutive (one after the other) weeks (20 days) and once this has been reached no further temporary supervision days are allowed. If the trainee's time in the placement exceeds 12 months from their start date, then their temporary supervision allowance will be renewed from the anniversary of their start date. For example if they began on 7 July 2016 they would have 30 days of temporary supervision allowed until the 7 July 2017 and then a further 30 days from the 7 July 2017.


  • If the four weeks are non-consecutive, i.e. one week of temporary supervision in July, one in September, one in October, one in January, it would only count as 20 days because the weeks are not consecutive. Therefore, a further 10 days would be allowed throughout the rest of the year to reach the 30 day limit.
  • If the temporary supervision is for every day of the working week but occurs for less than four weeks (20 days) then it would fall under the 30 day allowance. For example,  if the temporary supervision was for every day over three weeks it would count as 15 days out of the 30 day allowance. Any further temporary supervision days, either as part of a working week or the entire working week, would then be added to this and once 30 days had been reached no further temporary days would be allowed.
  • In situations where the temporary supervision occurs on odd days and/or does not cover all the days of a trainee's working week, they are added to each other until the 30 day limit is reached.  For example two days of temporary supervision each week over six weeks counts as 12 days and additional days can then be added to other days until the 30 day limit is reached. Provided that any weeks where the temporary supervision has been for every day has not reached four weeks (20 days), these full weeks can be added to reach the 30 day total.

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Does my supervisor need to sign my prescriptions?

NHS prescriptions
As the person approved on the list to issue prescriptions, the supervisor always had to sign NHS prescriptions.

Private prescriptions
The College advises that it is good practice for supervisors to sign all private prescriptions.  

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Training placements

How much time do I need to spend testing sight?

As part of the terms and conditions agreed by your supervisor on enrolment, the training practice must provide the trainee with sole access to a consulting room for the testing of sight for a minimum of 20 hours per week.

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What happens if I am not spending the required time testing sight in practice?

In the first instance, discuss this with your supervisor. If you are unable to resolve the problem directly with your supervisor, then contact your College assessor. If the issue persists, you should report this to the Lead assessor.

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What is the minimum number of acceptable hours for a pre-registration placement?

As a general rule, the College would expect the placement to be at least 30 hours per week. The College will consider part-time placements but trainees should be aware that their training may be slower as it will take them longer to collect the evidence necessary for assessment purposes.

Please bear in mind that, once you have started your training, you must complete the Scheme for Registration within two years three months of your start date in practice or have up to four attempts at the final assessment (OSCE), whichever occurs first.

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When can I start my Scheme for Registration training?

You can enrol on the Scheme for Registration at any time of the year. Your College assessor will organise your assessment visits according to your start date.

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When can I start seeing patients under supervision?

You may only start practising under supervision once you have received final confirmation of your enrolment by the College. This will take the form on an email and letter sent to the practice. Until you receive this confirmation, you are not allowed to see patients under supervision.

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If I'm not enrolled, do my dispenses still count towards my log book numbers?

No, dispenses only count towards your Scheme for Registration totals once you have been enrolled.

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What equipment and drugs need to be provided in a practice with a pre-registration trainee?

The equipment provided in the practice will be that normally required for refraction, dispensing and eye examination: including access to visual fields equipment, colour vision evaluation tests, facilities for taking intra-ocular pressure and equipment for the evaluation of the ocular motor state and binocular perception.


Also the supervisor needs to give the trainee access to, and encourage the use under supervision of, those drugs and solutions normally used in the practice of optometry, e.g. cycloplegics, mydriatics, topical anaesthetics, stains, decongestants and prophylactics.

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Do you have any further questions?