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Covid-secure at a Trinity SELT Centre

If you are taking an English exam for immigration purposes in the UK, you need to go to a Secure English Language Test (SELT) Centre, but how can you be sure they are Covid-secure?

We asked Ailsa Longmuir, who runs two of the 16 Trinity College London SELT test points in Britain to explain.

How has Covid-19 changed the way you run a SELT centre?

At Trinity College London we always aim to strike a balance between excellent customer service and thorough safety and security standards. But in these challenging times, we have been working hard to ensure that all government guidelines are met and there is not only a safe working environment for our teams but also a safe and supportive setting for our candidates taking their test.

What can candidates who visit a Trinity SELT centre expect to see?

They can still expect the same high levels of customer service we are known for. They will receive a friendly greeting by a named Steward, who will accompany them around the centre.

A Steward, you mean like on an aeroplane?

Yes. Our Stewards are there to look after you, they understand that some candidates may be feeling anxious – perhaps this is the first time they have used public transport or been on a busy street in several months – and will do everything they can do to put them at ease.

How do you protect your staff?

Front-facing staff members have all been issued with PPE – Personal Protection Equipment – and will be wearing a plastic face shield or a fabric face mask. For the safety and comfort of all our customers, we politely request that all candidates also wear a face covering in the centre, and we have a supply of disposable face masks available if they are needed.

How have you changed the Centres themselves?

All excess furniture has been removed to allow for two-metre social distancing, and we have posters and floor markers in place to help support and give guidance. Hand gel is placed at convenient locations throughout the centre, which candidates are invited to use.

What are candidates expected to do?

Candidates will be required to switch off their electronic devices and place all their belongings into a locker, and these lockers are sanitised regularly.

Before they sit their test, one of our trained Registrars will check all their registration details and carry out a few security checks.

The registration desk is at a safe distance away from other candidates, and the Registrar will be sitting behind a clear plastic screen. Any used pens or clipboards are placed in a box to be disinfected, and desks are thoroughly cleaned in between each registration.

“Our Stewards are there to look after you, they understand that some 
candidates may be feeling anxious.”

Trinity College London is famous for its speaking and listening test, which always used to be done face-to-face. Will this still be possible?

Candidates still take their speaking and listening test one-to-one with a Trinity examiner but they take it online via video conference.

The Steward will set everything up, so the examiner’s face will be on a screen in front of the candidate when they enter the exam room. There is no change to the exam length or content, and each test is still personalised to the individual candidate.

What happens at the end of the test?

Once the exam has finished, the candidate will collect their belongings from their locker and the exam room will be sanitised ready for the next candidate.

How have candidates reacted to the new style SELT Centre?

We have received great feedback so far from our candidates, and several have made contact through social media to thank us for making them feel safe and welcomed. Trinity are proud to continue to support our candidates in these unprecedented times and carry on our standard of customer excellence.

Further information on what candidates can expect when they visit a Trinity SELT centre can be found here: ns/SELT/UKVI.

Images courtesy of DRAGANA GORDIC/SHUTTERSTOCK and Ron
Ailsa Longmuir
Ailsa Longmuir
Ailsa Longmuir is the manager at the Trinity College London SELT Centres in Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland. This interview is based on an article first published in Economic Focus – the magazine of the Arab British Chamber of Commerce.
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