With the announcement that the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in the UK has changed its English language proficiency requirements for overseas applicants, the British Council in Sri Lanka has identified the change as an opportunity for nurses and midwives seeking to work in the UK. The British Council administers IELTS (International English Language Testing System) across Sri Lanka and provides many resources to guide those wishing to take the test.
Under the change, the writing score requirement has been lowered to 6.5 from 7. This writing score will be accepted alongside a score of 7.0 in the reading, listening and speaking sections of the test. This means that nurses and midwives wishing to work in the UK may submit a lower writing score of 6.5 while still meeting the minimum overall band score requirement of 7.0.
In Sri Lanka, the British Council has been active for almost seven decades as the UK’s international organization for cultural relations and education opportunities. The British Council is a trusted provider of English language education in the country, offering programmes for learners of all ages. “The NMC has made its decision independently, as the British Council does not play a role in determining scores required for specific purposes. We advise that applicants contact the NMC directly on their English language proficiency requirements,” noted Rob Low, Director, Examinations Sri Lanka of the British Council in Sri Lanka. “That said, we look forward to continuing to provide support and guidance to nurses and midwives wishing to work in the UK, so that they may achieve the IELTS score requirements announced by the NMC.”
Widely used in migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK, IELTS is the world’s most sought-after proof of English language proficiency by immigration bodies, employers, schools, and universities. The test is recognized by more than 10,000 of these bodies, including all universities in Australia and the UK and many leading higher education institutions in the USA. The test’s success is attributed to its rigorous testing criteria, measured across four key language skills- listening, reading, writing and speaking. It is administered in over 140 countries around the world and taken at least 3 million times each year. IELTS is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English.
Dr. Kithsiri Edirisinghe, CEO/Founder/Director Academic IIHS, one of the leading Nursing education learning centres in Sri Lanka welcomed this news: “We welcome changes to the English language proficiency requirements for overseas nurses from the UK Nursing and Midwifery Council as this gives our nursing students motivation and confidence when applying for employment in the UK. IIHS is an IELTS registration and learning center for IIHS students as well as for individuals in the Gampaha district, and works closely with the British Council to support and prepare IELTS candidates. We hope these changes to the IELTS requirements will encourage more nurses to apply to the UK.”
“At British Council we have a variety of preparation support both as free and paid services, to cater to the different needs and wants of the IELTS candidates. They range from preparation classes to online resources and can be accessed through our offices in Colombo, Kandy, Matara and Jaffna. We also support an island-wide IELTS partner network where one can get information and support, for nurses and nursing students spread across the country,” said Dileepa Manawadu - Head of Business Development, UK Qualifications.