Principles for the Graduate Outcomes review

The Graduate Outcomes review will be a significant piece of work for the RCVS and its partners over the next two to three years and its outcomes could have far-reaching consequences for the veterinary profession. Its scope draws together a variety of strands and, as recommendations begin to emerge and decisions start to be taken, there will be a need to consider both the impact of each decision on other strands of the work and unforeseen consequences across the board.

The set of principles outlined below has been developed to act as a ‘touchstone’ throughout the life of the project against which each recommendation/decision can be checked. The principles are intended to guide emerging policy and also to help to identify commonalities and shared objectives across partners who may hold very different views about some of the issues under consideration.

The Working Group agreed that it wished to clearly state its intention to take a collaborative approach to the work and that consultation with the profession would be important at key stages of the review.



Principle: The UK continues to play a leading role in veterinary education

We can achieve this by:

  1. Ensuring that decisions are informed by the latest research and evidence
  2. Placing the focus of accreditation standards on outcomes that allow continued innovation in programme design
  3. The veterinary degree continues to meet international standards in order that UK-qualified veterinary surgeons will be eligible to apply for registration overseas
  4. The regulatory burden on veterinary schools does not increase


Principle: Veterinary education prepares students to join the veterinary profession

We can achieve this by:

5. Ensuring a major focus of veterinary education is on preparation for generalist practice, and that graduates understand the function of and are equipped to work as part of the veterinary team, have the confidence to deal with complexity and uncertainty and to apply their skills and knowledge in whichever veterinary role(s) they choose to pursue

6. Ensuring that veterinary education equips graduates to embrace future innovation and change and to become future leaders and innovators

7. Making non-technical professional skills a central part of the veterinary curriculum

8. Better managing the transition from student to practitioner, by considering content, methods, sequencing and situatedness of professional learning to ensure that new graduates thrive

9. Engaging with employers, recent graduates, students and veterinary schools in order to ensure that:

a. all viewpoints are fully understood
b. the whole profession has input to and takes ownership of its future professional learning
c. all stakeholders have an understanding of what can be expected of new graduates
d. all stakeholders have an understanding of the role that they play in ongoing professional development


Principle: Veterinary careers and pathways remain attractive and veterinary degrees are valued

We can achieve this by ensuring that:

10. Potential career choices and pathways are made clear to potential students, students and veterinary surgeons in order to allow them to make informed choices

11. Future registration/licensing arrangements do not include unnecessary barriers to changing career direction once qualified

12. Costs to students do not increase significantly

13. Costs to vet schools do not increase significantly

14. There is recognition of the wider higher education context in which universities have to operate, for example, issues of funding, the impact of the National Student Survey and the Teaching Excellence Framework and the increasing emphasis on the student as a partner.