Supervision on the Scheme

We have a flexible and intuitive system for supervising pre-registration trainees. This upholds quality and patient safety whilst allowing a wider range of professionals to be involved in supervision.

Pre-reg trainees MUST update their Scheme for Registration record in My College if their practice, fee payer or principal or joint supervisor changes.

Supervision types

Each trainee needs to have a principal supervisor. This must be an optometrist with at least two years continuous registration with the GOC. The principal supervisor has overall responsibility for a trainee’s supervision, and can supervise up to three trainees at a time (as long as no more than two of their trainees are at the same stage of the Scheme). Trainees can also have additional supervisors

Find out more about the principal supervisor and additional supervisor roles below.

A principal supervisor:

  • is the registered supervisor for a trainee at the point that they register or enrol on the Scheme,
  • takes overall responsibility for their trainee’s supervised practice
  • manages all supervision arrangements for an individual trainee, including the safe, appropriate input of additional supervisors,
  • can supervise up to three trainees (as long as no more than two of their trainees are at the same stage of the Scheme),
  • must supervise for at least 50% of each trainee’s total practice time.

To become a principal supervisor, you must:

Joint principal supervisors
Two optometrists who meet the criteria above can share the role of principal supervisor equally (50% of supervision time) for one trainee. Both principal supervisors must register with the College when the trainee registers or enrols.

Additional supervisors are regulated eye health practitioners, with at least two years’ post-qualification experience, who can contribute to a trainee’s supervision. These could include optometrists, dispensing opticians, contact lens opticians, orthoptists, ophthalmic nurses and ophthalmologists. This will allow greater flexibility, and use the skills, expertise, and experience of colleagues from across the eye care sector.

Principal supervisors retain overall responsibility for ensuring that additional supervision is appropriate. Although there is no limit to the number of additional supervisors a trainee can have, we recommend that principal supervisors consider how much active supervision an individual is doing for their trainee. An additional supervisor should be responsible for no more than three trainees at any time.

Additional supervisors who are not optometrists only have clinical responsibility for a specific activity, for example, a dispensing optician supervising dispensing. They will not need to be formally registered with the College. Trainees will record the names and registration details of additional supervisors in their logbook with sign-off from their principal supervisor. College assessors will also check these arrangements.

Additional supervisors must:

  • be an eye care professional, with at least two years’ continuous registration with the relevant regulator,
  • be sufficiently qualified, experienced and current in their scope of practice to undertake the functions they are supervising
  • comply with the GOC’s code of conduct, and/or equivalent regulator conduct standards, in their professional practice
  • be a College member, if they are an optometrist
  • be in a position to oversee the work undertaken by the trainee, and intervene, if required, to maintain patient safety
  • comply with all legal requirements relating to the activity that they are supervising.

Principal supervisors are responsible for ensuring that additional supervisors fulfil the above criteria.

Accepting a trainee

For a supervisor to accept a trainee, they must follow these steps:

  1. Login to the College’s website
  2. Click “My College” at the top of the page
  3. Click on the Scheme for Registration
  4. Click on Trainee
  5. Click the trainee name and accept.

Changing a supervisor or practice

If you would like to make changes to your supervision arrangements, visit the Changing your supervisor or practice page.

Frequently asked questions

Trainees can divide their supervision equally between two joint principal supervisors, as long as they both meet the principal supervisor criteria above.

No, trainees will only need to register their principal supervisor/s with the College. Principal supervisors will need to approve all additional supervisors, and each one will need to be noted in the trainee’s logbook.

Yes, but we recommend that you plan ahead as far as possible and ensure that you have additional but you should try and plan ahead and ensure that all additional supervisors are listed at the beginning of the year.

The GOC now requires that all supervisors must have two years of continuous registration with a regulator.

Yes, however, no supervisor should be responsible for more than three trainees at one time.

There is no limit, however we recommend that principal supervisors consider how much active supervision an individual is doing for their trainee.

Yes. No supervisor should be responsible for more than three trainees at any time.

We no longer have temporary or secondary supervisors – these are replaced with the additional supervisor role. We recommend trainees have at least one of their additional supervisors signed off by their principal supervisor, as soon as they start.

We encourage trainees and supervisors to be proactive in setting up additional supervision arrangements, to avoid having to make last minute decisions in cases of unexpected illness.