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Information for education providers

In order to practise legally as osteopaths in the UK, practitioners must be registered with the GOsC. For graduates of osteopathy training courses to be eligible to apply for registration with the GOsC, the course they take must be recognised by the GOsC.

Recognition of osteopathy qualifications

Standards for osteopathic education

Osteopathic Practice StandardsOrganisations wishing to establish a new osteopathic course or organisations with existing courses that wish to introduce new qualifications, should refer to the Osteopathic Practice Standards. A guide to the standards of osteopathic education are provided in the Osteopathy Benchmark Statement developed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) in conjunction with the GOsC and the osteopathy training providers. The Guidance for Osteopathic Pre-registration Education supports the Osteopathic Practice Standards and provides a reference point for students, educational institutions, patients and others. It describes the professional aspects of osteopathic pre-registration education, and the outcomes that graduates are expected to demonstrate before graduation.

Assuring standards

Recognised qualifications are awarded following an extensive and detailed quality assurance process undertaken on behalf of the General Osteopathic Council by the QAA. For further information see the QAA website at www.qaa.ac.uk/reviewing-higher-education/types-of-review/general-osteopathic-council-review

The QAA report is scrutinised by the GOsC’s Education Committee before Council decides whether to recognise the qualification. When such a decision has been made, it must be formally ratified and approved by the Privy Council.

Applying for recognition of a qualification

To apply for the recognition of an osteopathy qualification, please complete and submit the GOsC Initial RQ Application Form. For further information contact the Professional Standards Department on standards@osteopathy.org.uk.

Notification of a change to a Recognised Qualification

Educational institutions must inform the GOsC of any change, or proposed change, to a course that would have a potential or actual impact on the delivery of the Osteopathic Practice Standards, maintaining patient safety and public protection. The process an institution should follow is set out in the document Recognised Qualifications: notification of change process and form, and the institution should inform the GOsC of the changes using the form in the document, and send the completed form to Kabir Kareem at kkareem@osteopathy.org.uk

Guidance on advertising non-recognised qualifications

It is important to ensure that educational institutions’ advertising literature about osteopathic qualifications is accurate so that the public and potential students are not inadvertently misled.

The GOsC Education Committee has agreed a form of standard wording to be recommended to all educational institutions for use when advertising courses which have not been confirmed by the GOsC as Recognised Qualifications. This is to ensure that the public and potential students receive a clear and consistent message.

Osteopathic education institutions are asked to use the following wording in all advertising materials, in both electronic and other formats:

‘Only individuals holding qualifications approved by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) may register with the GOsC and practise as osteopaths in the UK. In order for a programme of study to lead to a qualification which is registerable with the GOsC, the programme must be approved by the GOsC and granted ‘Recognised Qualification’ (RQ) status. The [insert name of qualification] programme of study offered by [insert name of institution] has not been awarded RQ status. An application for RQ status has been made to the GOsC but there is no guarantee that such an application will be successful. The GOsC assumes no responsibility for students who enrol on this course prior to recognition being granted.’

The advertising should also include the following, where appropriate:

  • Confirmation that the institution is working with the GOsC towards recognition of the qualification.
  • A clear statement of the options available to the students should the qualification not achieve recognition at an appropriate time.

Once a qualification has been recognised by the GOsC it can take some months for the Privy Council to give its approval. However, legislation requires that the decision to recognise the qualification must be notified to the institution as soon as it is made by the GOsC.

In such circumstances this website will state that the qualification has been recognised by the GOsC and is awaiting Privy Council approval. Institutions in this situation could use the following wording in their advertising materials:

‘The General Osteopathic Council has agreed to make a decision to recognise the [insert qualification title] and this is awaiting final approval from the Privy Council at the time of going to press.’

International students and osteopathic education

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) requires all educational institutions in the UK to obtain a Tier 4 licence in order to enrol students requiring a visa to study in the UK. Further information can be found on the UKBA website at www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/employers/.

Osteopathic educational institutions are regularly reviewed by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) on behalf of a statutory regulator (the GOsC). The UKBA has therefore announced that it will not need to carry out separate reviews of the osteopathic educational institutions in order for them to apply for a Tier 4 licence and highly trusted status to enable them to accept students who require a visa to study in the UK.

Reports of the the GOsC/QAA reviews are available on the Training courses page of this website.


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