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UK – EU Transition, and UK Civil Aviation Regulations

To access current UK civil aviation regulations, including AMC and GM, CAA regulatory documents, please use this link to UK Regulation. Please note, if you use information and guidance under the Headings below, the references to EU regulations or EU websites in our guidance will not be an accurate information or description of your obligations under UK law. These pages are undergoing reviews and updates.

In accordance with Regulation (EU) 2015/340 as retained (and amended in UK domestic law) under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, the validity period for level 6 (expert) English language proficiency endorsement for Air Traffic Controllers (ATCO) is set at 9 years.

During the transition from Regulation (EC) 805/2011 to Regulation (EU) 2015/340 in 2015/2016 and the award of a revised Regulation (EU) 2015/340 ATCO licence, the retained level 6 language proficiency endorsements had validity dates set from either; the date of original language proficiency assessment, or the date of Regulation (EU) 2015/340 ATCO licence issue.
It has been established that a number of these endorsements are due for revalidation over the approaching years.

In order to lessen the impact on operational units required to revalidate a large number of ATCO’s, and as no process is available other than a full language proficiency assessment (to be conducted at one of the two ATCO language assessment bodies (LAB’s)), the CAA has produced reduced assessment processes for revalidation/renewal of Level 6 language proficiency endorsements.

Operational ATCO Licence holders should revalidate their ELP Endorsement by following Process A.

Non-Operational ATCOs should revalidate/renew their ELP Endorsement by following Process B.

This processes are approved by the CAA in accordance with UK (EU) Regulation 2015/340 ATCO.AR.A.010 and should be carried within the year prior to ELP expiry date and not before.

Process A. Operational ATCO Licence holders/Revalidations

The revalidation of an operational ATO licence holder's English Language Proficiency (ELP) level 6 is to be carried out at the unit by either the SATCO, ATC unit manager or Unit training manager who must first appraise themselves of the ICAO level 6 English language proficiency descriptors, contained in Regulation UK (EU) 2015/340, Appendix 1 of Annex I, replicated below for ease of access.

Once familiar with these descriptors the individual concerned is to e-mail their CAA Inspector ATS (Operations) with the following statement:

I have read and understood The ICAO level 6 English language proficiency descriptors, contained in Regulation UK (EU) 2015/340, Appendix 1 of Annex I and have been appointed as the ELP Level 6 Assessor for (Unit)

Once this statement has been sent this person may assess the operational ATCO at their unit, for revalidation of level 6 English language proficiency endorsement.

The assessment shall be conducted during operational activity and should enable sufficient language to be sampled prior to the assessment being made.

The CAA may sample any assessment to ensure that the criteria defined in the descriptors are met. If this is not the case the person conducting the process will be requested to conduct further education and familiarisation of the ICAO descriptors prior to carrying out further assessments at the unit.

Should any of the elements of the scale descriptors be assessed as below level 6 of the ICAO Scale, the ATCO licence holder shall be informed of the result and withdrawn from operational duty, and will require to undertake a full language assessment at an approved UK ATCO LAB. The CAA Inspector ATS (Operations) shall also be informed of the result.

On successful completion of the assessment the assessor is to issue the ATCO being assessed with an ELP certificate available for download.

The ATCO and the Assessor are to complete an SRG 1426 form for submission to ATS licensing to enable an amended licence to be issued.

Close Process A. Operational ATCO Licence holders/Revalidations

Process B. Non-Operational ATCO Licence holders/Renewals

The licence holder should contact the Inspector ATS (Training) at ats.enquieries@caa.co.uk in order for a remote English Language Proficiency (ELP) assessment to be arranged.

This assessment will consist of a short interview by a remote video conference facility (such as MS Teams etc.). The interview will consist of communication on non-operational and operational elements.

Should any of the elements of the scale descriptors be assessed as below level 6 of the ICAO Scale the ATCO licence holder shall be informed of the result, and will require to undertake a full language assessment at an approved UK ATCO LAB.

On successful completion of the assessment the assessor is to issue the ATCO being assessed with an ELP certificate available for download.

The ATCO and the Assessor are to complete an SRG 1426 form for submission to ATS licensing to enable an amended licence to be issued.

Close Process B. Non-Operational ATCO Licence holders/Renewals

Language Proficiency Rating Scale

The table below shows the descriptors for ELP Level 6. Level 5 descriptors are included for comparison.

Language proficiency rating scale: Expert and extended levels

Level

Pronunciation

Uses a dialect and/or accent intelligible to the aeronautical community

Structure

Relevant grammatical structures and sentence patterns are determined by language functions appropriate to the task

Vocabulary Fluency Comprehension Interactions
Level 6 Pronunciation, stress, rhythm and intonation, though possibly influenced by the first language or regional variation, almost never interfere with ease of understanding. Both basic and complex grammatical structures and sentence patterns are consistently well controlled. Vocabulary range and accuracy are sufficient to communicate effectively on a wide variety of familiar topics. Vocabulary is idiomatic, nuanced, and sensitive to register.

Able to speak at length with a natural flow. Varies speech flow for stylistic effect, e.g. to emphasise a point.

Uses appropriate discourse markers and connectors spontaneously.

Comprehension is consistently accurate in nearly all contexts and includes comprehension of linguistic and cultural subtleties. Interacts with ease in nearly all situations. Is sensitive to verbal and non-verbal cues, and responds to them appropriately.
Level 5 Pronunciation, stress, rhythm and intonation, though influenced by the first language or regional variation, rarely interferes with ease of understanding. Basic grammatical structures and sentence patterns are consistently well controlled. Complex structures are attempted but with errors which sometimes interfere with understanding. Vocabulary range and accuracy are sufficient to communicate with relative ease on common, concrete, and work-related topics. Paraphrases consistently and successfully. Able to speak at length with relative ease on familiar topics, but may not vary speech flow as a stylistic device. Can make use of appropriate discourse. Comprehension is accurate on common, concrete and work-related topics and mostly accurate when the speaker is confronted with a linguistic or situational complication or an unexpected turn of events. Is able to comprehend a range of speech varieties (dialect and/or accent) or registers.

Responses are immediate, appropriate, and informative.

Manages the speaker/listener relationship effectively

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