Consensus is all well and good but sometimes change needs leadership, tough love and a modicum of living on the edge to achieve.

The General Optical Council’s announcement that 2019 was to become a 12-month transitional period to allow time for the Educational Strategic Review findings to be digested came as a shock. All stakeholders agreed that education reform was needed and had to be right. But the creation of the buffer year was a fudge. The ESR work wasn’t ready so implementation was kicked a year down the road. It’s now been given another two-year long boot.

The complexity and sheer number of factors makes the ESR a fascinating exercise. Education is at the heart of everything optical professionals do so its scope is very wide ranging. The problem is that the range and scope of the discussion will continue to twist and turn. Seeking a full and final solution to an educational structure for optics is an asymptotic exercise. In three years’ time the profession will all be wrestling with new factors: students who want to complete their degree in two years, refracting dispensing opticians and web-based eye examinations.

The imposition of the buffer year would have created a lot of extra work for Optician, a re-think in our programme of CET and concern among our readers, but we would have coped, so would others.

The point of the ESR should be to create a situation in which continuing professional development is both pertinent to the professional and rigorous to complete. The optical profession has conspired to create a situation in which an entire three years’ worth of points can be gathered over a single weekend in January of the opening year. That’s not good.

Earning CET points simply for turning up continues, at least for another three years.