What is it?
All PCO drivers that are applying for private hire licences will be required to demonstrate an understanding of the English language. This applies to all applications from 14 October 2016. It also applies for drivers that are renewing their licence.
TfL have introduced this because they believe that all PCO drivers have to be able to communicate with riders in order to do their job well.
Any application for a private hire driver’s licence that was received on or after 14 October 2016 have until 30 September 2021 to provide evidence that they comply with the English language requirement (ELR).
From 1 October 2021 onwards, all PCO drivers will need to satisfy the English language requirement before a private hire licence will be granted.
How can I prove my English level?
PCO drivers have two main options.
1.) You can visit one of TfL’s Secure English Language Testing facilities and obtain a certificate which confirms that you have a satisfactory level of English. The passing grade for this is a B1 or above.
2.) You can provide evidence of any previous qualifications (inside or outside of the UK) that can demonstrate your English language capabilities. This includes the following documents:
- UK GCSE level (or equivalent) certificate at grades A* to G.
- UK AS-Level / A Level certificate.
- UK NVQ*/BTEC/City & Guilds qualification. This should come with confirmation that the qualification provided is equivalent to GCSE or above (for example, a Blue Badge Guide qualification).
- UK BA Hons, BSc Hons degree or higher i.e. master’s, PhD.
- UK HNC/HND qualification
- SELT certificate at B1 level or higher, issued by Trinity College London or IELTS showing proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening.
A scanned copy of these documents can be sent to [email protected]
Who can help me with my level of English?
There are currently two approved interim English language test providers: Trinity College London and IELTS (International English Language Test System).
Trinity College London has specifically put together a new online virtual learning environment, where you will find free information and activities to help prepare you for the ISE I (B1) test (English Test).
Everything from reading and writing material to speaking and listening, it’s all available right now online.
You can check out Trinity College London’s own website here.
How can I find a lost certificate?
If you were an existing holder of a private hire driver’s licence before 14 October 2016, you only need to prove that you comply with the new requirement when you renew your licence.
Any PCO driver that renewed or received a new license from the 14 October 2016 has until 30 September 2021 to provide evidence of their English language ability.
New applications received on or after 30 September 2021 will need to prove that they comply with the English language requirement as part of their PCO licence application.
How much will the English test cost
The test must be completed at a provider appointed by TfL and is expected to cost applicants between £180 and £200.
For more details on the test you can visit TfL’s dedicated english language test page.
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