Whos teaching you to drive?
However, is the professional driving instructor as good as you would expect or hope for?
Qualified or trainee driving instructors?
When taking driving lessons you will normally expect to pay someone for the tuition but they must be an approved driving instructor (ADI) (car) or a trainee licence holder (PDI). Look for the the certificate on the windscreen of the tuition vehicle.
Approved driving instructors must pass a rigorous three part examination to qualify whilst trainee instructors have not yet passed their final instructional ability examination.
In recent months the Driving Standards Agency's instructor training system has come under fire for allowing PDI's to train learners without making them fully aware of their qualification status.
The government recently admitted it was reviewing the regulations due to continued abuse by trainee's, driving instructor trainers and driving schools.
The regulations state, trainee's must undertake and complete a minimum of 40 hours of training before a trainee licence is granted to enable them to gain instructional experience.
However, as a trainer myself, I know for fact that this is exploited and in turn not policed at all well usually for financial gain of the instructor and more alarmingly by the schools that they work with.
This impacts on a pupil as many PDI'S fail to qualify as a driving instructor and are therefore unable to see a learner through from start to finish.
Current pass rates for our local test centres (Basildon test centre, Brentwood test centre, Chelmsford test centre, Hornchurch test centre & Tilbury test centre) are at an average of just 39%.
This figure is extremely low and we could argue that there are many contributory factors, such as, pupil dynamics and test routes, the quality of instruction is vital to consistent success.
The third largest driving school has recently revealed that from this month, PDI's will no longer be accepted as franchise holders, joining the AA and BSM. It should be noted that the AA's parent company now own BSM.
At this time, Karen's School of Motoring franchised driving instructors are all fully qualified.
However, I have to say that some trainees, with the correct guidance have gone on to be successful driving instructors.
Driving Instructor grades
Are you aware, that fully qualified driving instructors are graded periodically through their career from 1 through 6?
What would you consider to be the best grade?
The quality of instruction of any instructor is based on a 1 hour lesson observed by a DSA driving examiner.
Only about 7% of all driving instructors hold the top grade 6 qualification whilst the majority are a grade 4.
Very simply, a grade 6 driving instructor has demonstrated a very high standard with no significant instructional weaknesses.
A grade 5 rating will have shown only a few minor weaknesses in their instructional techniques.
A grade 4 (the minimum acceptable grade) will have demonstrated only a competent overall performance. There would have been weaknesses on several of the instructional techniques.
This demonstrates that there are good and much better driving instructors but all equally qualified to teach for reward.
So how do you choose the correct driving instructor for you?
Finding the correct instructor for you is a difficult task but normally by asking friends or relatives
about an instructor with a good reputation will help.
Typically students will look for instructors that are reliable and punctual based on unsatisfactory previous experiences.