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English language competency for teaching in Aotearoa New Zealand

In New Zealand, registered teachers, regardless of their role or setting, need to be competent in the languages of New Zealand’s national curricula - English or te reo Māori. 

Teaching is a linguistically demanding profession.  High-quality teaching depends on a deep understanding of the curricula and effective communication with learners and whānau.  Every child is entitled to high-quality teaching and learning; so every member of the teaching profession must meet a high standard of English or te reo Māori competency.  

We are shifting our approach to how we measure English language competency – read the media release. This will come into effect from 1 January 2019, please click here for the current language requirements

About the shift in approach

The Council is shifting its approach to focus on evidence of a teacher’s English language competency, and not on whether English is an additional language.  Many candidates for initial teacher education (ITE) and teacher registration speak a number of languages and are highly competent in English. These candidates bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our profession, and we need an approach that recognises this.

From 1 January 2019, the Council will require all candidates for ITE and teacher registration to provide evidence of their English language competency, and not whether English is an additional language. The full policy detail will be available after 1 January 2019; however, below we have an overview of the new approach.

We will be broadening the types of evidence we accept of English language proficiency to provide candidates with more ways to demonstrate they meet the standard.  We will also make the requirements the same for ITE and for registration. Up to 1 January 2019 we will be assessing applications using the current requirements below.             

Current approach New approach
Can a candidate prove that English is their first language, or is it an additional language? Can a candidate provide one of the following types of evidence?

A candidate is required to show:

  • English is the first spoken language AND
  • English was the medium of all schooling AND
  • All school qualifications are in English.

 

  • Schooling records from New Zealand, Australia, England, Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States and Canada (excluding Québec) as proof of competency; as well as in New Zealand and Australia OR
  • Tertiary qualifications - a Bachelor’s Degree, Bachelor Honours Degree, or Master’s Degree; taught in English as the primary language of instruction and through face-to-face learning and assessment such as tutorials and labs; and from New Zealand, Australia, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada (excluding Québec) as proof of competency OR
  • Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) OR
  • Trinity College London Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CertTESOL) as evidence OR

If a candidate can’t prove this then they must sit and obtain:

One of the following language test results (score must be achieved in all bands):

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) –7 
  • Cambridge English exams C2 Proficiency (CPE); C1 Advanced (CAE) - 185 or Cambridge English exams B2 First (FCE) - 185
  • International Second Language Proficiency Ratings (ISLPR) – 4
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic - 65
  • TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) - Listening 24 - Reading 24 - Writing 27 - Speaking 23 - minimum overall score of 94
  • Trinity ISE III (3) – pass with merit

     

 

For ITE: 

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) –7 
 

For registration:

  • Cambridge English exams C2 Proficiency (CPE) or C1 Advanced (CAE) - 185 with no band score less than 185
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) - 7.0 in each band of the Academic test
  • International Second Language Proficiency Ratings (ISLPR) – 4 in all modules
 

Frequently Asked Questions

Read the FAQs.

Helpful links 

Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic 
TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT)
Cambridge English exams 
IELTS
Trinity ISE III (3)