College of Optometrists conducts report into Scheme for Registration

  • 7 Jun 2016

The report provides detailed information of trainee performance over a single year, related to several factors, including their undergraduate degree classification and common areas of failure.

Share options


The College of Optometrists has today published a report analysing pre-registration trainee’s performance on its Scheme for Registration (SfR). The report provides detailed information of trainee performance over a single year, related to several factors, including their undergraduate degree classification and common areas of failure. 


The report is based on demographic and performance data of a single cohort of 594 pre-registration trainees enrolled on the College’s SfR between 1 June 2013 and 31 May 2014. Key data emerging from the report is listed below: 

  • The largest proportion of trainees (49%) entered the SfR with a 2.1 classification, with 23% achieving a 2.2 and 20% achieving a first class degree.  
  • There is a correlation between university performance and performance on the SfR. For example, 70% of those trainees with a first class degree required no additional visits or resits in contrast to the 25% of trainees with a 2.2 degree. 
  • 42% of trainees required no resits or additional visits at any stage of the pre-registration training. 
  • 71% of trainees needed a maximum of one resit at Stage 2 to complete the Scheme successfully.
  • If a trainee in this cohort struggled, it tended to be at the beginning of the SfR during Stage 1, with progress improving through the stages. 14% of students were classed as ‘struggling’ at Stage 1, with only 3% and 5% classed in this category during Stages 2 and 3 respectively. This suggests that the assessment that takes place in Stage 1 identifies and addresses gaps in knowledge and competence at an early stage. Stage 1 in this way, prepares candidates well for Stage 2 and the OSCE (Final Assessment).
  • Over half (53%) of trainees passed Stage 2 at the first attempt and 97% passed on their second attempt. 
  • The first time pass rate for the OSCE was 82%, with only five per cent of trainees needing more than one resit. 
  • Female optometrists in this cohort far outnumbered their male counterparts (68% versus 32%). The College’s Optical Workforce Survey findings also showed a balance in favour of females, with 57.5% of respondents being female and 42.5% male. 
  • Females also outperformed male trainees, with the number of females classified as ‘best’ being 11% higher than that of males (45% versus 34%). 
  • 20% of those undertaking the Scheme are registered with a London address, with 1% registered with an overseas address. The findings broadly indicate that students tend to undertake their pre-registration training in the same region as their chosen university. This corresponds with the findings of the College’s Optical Workforce Survey. 

Jackie Martin, Director of Education at the College of Optometrists said; We hope this report will provide useful information for trainees, supervisors, universities and employers. It will give helpful insight into where students need to be better prepared and help supervisors, universities and employers to identify areas in which trainees typically need support. For the wider sector it can be used to provide a snapshot of demographic information about the future of the optometric workforce including gender, ethnicity and distribution across the College regions. 

“The College is satisfied that the SfR is doing its job in terms of setting and maintaining the highest standards for the profession and in identifying and improving the performance of those trainees who struggle in the early stages of the scheme.”   

This is the first time that such a report has been made available and will be published periodically in the future. The report can be read by downloading the document below.



Note to editors: 

  1. The College of Optometrists is the professional, scientific and examining body for optometry in the UK, working for the public benefit. Supporting its 15,000 members in all aspects of professional development, the College provides pre-registration training and assessment, continuous professional development opportunities, and advice and guidance on professional conduct and standards, enabling our members to serve their patients well and contribute to the wellbeing of local communities.
  2. The Scheme for Registration represents the principal route for entry into the optometric profession. It assesses graduates from each of the GOC-approved universities offering optometry at undergraduate level and assesses competence against the GOC’s Stage 2 elements of core competence for optometrists. It is run and administered by The College of Optometrists. 
  3. The Optical Workforce Survey was conducted between December 2014 and November 2015. The sample for the optometrist’s survey was a randomised sample of 2,000 College members registered to practice in the UK. For dispensing opticians a census approach was taken via ABDO with over 90% of registered dispensing opticians being invited to respond to the survey. More information on the survey is available on the College website.
  4. The College hosted its first event, exclusively for pre-registration trainees, in 2015. Insight, which took place as a half day event packed full of information on Stage 1, Stage 2 and the OSCE, will take place again on two further dates in November 2016.  




Back to News