As A-level results day approaches, Carly Hegarty discusses the importance of clearing and the opportunities available for current orthoptists to promote their profession.

The universities have received an increased number of applications for the orthoptic undergraduate course this year.  However, they will still need to go through Clearing to recruit sufficient number of students.  Following the publication of the Scottish exam results on 6th August, Glasgow Caledonian University received a lot of interest via clearing.  Congratulations to those who have secured their places to study in September.  Students in England and Wales are looking forward to their A Level results on 15th August.

Clearing 2019

During the final countdown to results day BIOS and the universities have taken to social media to promote clearing places for orthoptics.  BIOS also has a dedicated Instagram page for Students.

Clearing is a very busy and exciting time for our universities as students explore alternative subjects and university options. For those who are still undecided, did better or worse than expected or changed their mind, clearing is a great opportunity to find out what makes orthoptics such a fantastic career choice.

We are also hoping to attract students from a strong science background that are eligible for Adjustment.  This allows students to hold their current offer with UCAS whilst considering other options.

Promoting the profession

To stabilise the orthoptic undergraduate course for the future, admissions tutors are encouraging all orthoptists to raise awareness of our profession in every way.

Currently there are only 21 orthoptists enrolled with the Inspiring the Futures initiative, aimed at recruiting NHS ambassadors in England.  Please sign up to be matched to careers events in your local area at All orthoptists can enrol as an NHS ambassador with their Trust’s Widening Participation teams.  If you are already involved with career promotion events, then we would like to know.  It is important for us to map where more events are needed to ensure a widespread reach of promotional activity and allocation of resources.  Please send the details of your event to

As part of the I See the Difference campaign, Liverpool and Sheffield universities have each been assigned an outreach officer.  If you need support with coordinating your event, then we can put you in touch.  The members area of the BIOS website has downloadable resources for ambassadors.  These can also be used in waiting rooms to highlight the work that orthoptists do.  Please contact BIOS if you have any ideas for promotional materials that you feel would be beneficial.

My Eyes My Orthoptist

Orthoptists are being recognised more and more for their expertise and value.  The #MyEyesMyOrthoptist campaign supports an awareness strategy to promote the vital role of orthoptists among healthcare practitioners, commissioners and policy makers.  The campaign supports the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan to ensure adequate career progression so that orthoptics remains an attractive career choice for young people.  You can read more about active awareness campaigns, and how to get involved here.

We will continue to share patient stories as these deliver powerful messages which have attracted interest from potential students and the general public on social media.  Please send your patient stories to and we will continue to promote the valuable work orthoptists do every day.  Read Amelia’s story here.

Student feedback

We encourage feedback from students to enable the universities and clinical placements to provide an excellent learning experience.  Good student feedback helps orthoptics continue to be an attractive undergraduate course, especially during Clearing when students turn to university comparison websites.  The National Equitable Placement Allocation Scheme has enabled the universities to provide sufficient placements for orthoptic students.  Students scored 100% when asked if they had enough opportunity to meet their practical learning outcomes.

We hope all our applicants are successful in securing a place to start this September.  Thank you to all our orthoptic colleagues who continue to celebrate our profession and promote the valuable work we do.

If you are interested in finding out more:

  • Find out more on the I See the Difference campaign page

  • Find out how to become an Orthoptist here.

  • Watch the videos here.

Liverpool and Sheffield orthoptic undergraduate courses are open for pre-clearing registration now.  Students can register their interest for clearing and adjustment online via the university websites.