When your kids are old enough to drive, it can be pretty scary. Often it’s the first time they are given real responsibility, and you want to make sure they get taught to drive properly.
The daunting task of picking a driving instructor can be enough to put you off them driving for a while, but we’ve put together a guide so you can pick the perfect driving instructor for your child. This guide has been put together for the UK, but you can follow the same steps in various countries.
Make a list
There will be a load of questions you want to ask any potential driving instructor, but it’s easy to forget them when you’re talking to the instructor. Make a list of questions you want to ask, things such as ‘What availability do you have, What car are you teaching in, Manual or Automatic, Do you have a website or Facebook page to look at, how much do you charge’ These are the basic questions you should be asking, you shouldn’t choose a certain instructor because of the car they drive of the cost of their lessons. Still, they are important factors – it’s important to remember price or car doesn’t change the quality of the tuition your child will receive.
The second list you should make are of instructors you want to speak to. You can tell a lot about people when you speak to them. You should only be looking for instructors in your local area. Most instructors will only work a small area a couple of miles wide. Find some instructors in your area and make a list of them, and keep some space to add your own comments. After you have spoken to a few instructors, it could all become a blur.
One of the oldest myths around picking a driving instructor is to choose an independent driving instructor. This may have been right before the internet come along, but in more modern times, there are great driving instructors everywhere. The trouble is picking the right instructor for your child.
The problem with picking an instructor for your child is you making assumptions for them. Speak to your child about what they would like, would they prefer a male or a female, manual or automatic. Getting a base requirement will help your child feel more comfortable when learning. Students who are more relaxed and comfortable learn better.
It starts with reputation!
One of the best ways to find a good instructor is to ask around, post on your local community page on Facebook or asking friends and family who have recently had somebody learn. Recommendations should be the instructor’s main source of work, good instructors are often raved about, but recommendations are never their sole source of new learners.
Hit the web
Search online or on social media for driving instructors near you and find instructors that you like the look of. Remember, not all instructors will have an online presence, so we should always start with the reputation step first!
Once you have a list of instructors, you like the look of its time to start contacting them and finding out more about them. Some may work for a driving school, which is great as it means they spend more time focusing on teaching – if so, when you enquire with the driving school, enquire about that driving instructor specifically. Here are our top 8 questions you should be asking them:
- What is your current availability for lessons
- Do you cover my area
- What car do you drive, and is it manual or automatic
- Do you have a website or Facebook page to look at
- How much are lessons
- How long do lessons last
- Are you an ADI or a PDI
- How much experience do you have
You’ll notice some things we haven’t asked and some things you may not know. Firstly asking if they are an ADI or PDI is pretty simple. An ADI is an approved driving instructor meaning they have passed all of the tests to become approved, and a PDI is practicing, or a potential driving instructor meaning they haven’t passed their final exam yet. This shouldn’t be a major factor in your decision as they have all had the same training. If anything, the PDI has been trained more recently, but they lack the experience of an ADI. Remember, all driving instructors (ADI or PDI) will have had a criminal record check and are safe to work with children.
Another thing we haven’t asked is about the pass rate. The pass rate is another myth that people think highlights a great instructor. It just isn’t true. For an average ‘pass rate’ to be applicable, you would have to base it on all students getting the same amount of lessons, learning in the same conditions, and having the same examiner for their practical test. It’s quite easy for instructors to influence those pass rates or keep students learning longer than they need to-to guarantee a pass.
Instead of asking them what their pass rate is, we ask for their website or social media. Any modern instructor will have one or the other, have a look online and see how many passes they get, bear in mind some instructors won’t work as much as others, but you want to see a nice steady supply of passes being advertised, if there are little passes being shared then ask yourself why.
The last question we haven’t asked is what grade the instructor is. A few years ago, driving instructors were graded as 1-6, with 1-3 being a fail, four being acceptable, five being good, and six being great. The grading system has now changed, so instructors are either A or B, Grade A instructors being better than grade B. The reason we don’t feel this is applicable to ask is it depends more on how many passes they get. The driving instructors’ grade is based on a 1-hour assessment that takes place between every year and every four years or so (with some instructors having them even less than every four years)
You shouldn’t discount a driving instructor you like because they didn’t score a certain amount of points in a 1-hour window – some people aren’t great at tests but do great at coursework – instructors can be the same.
According to thedrivingacademy.com, The most important thing to remember – your child needs to be happy with the instructor and comfortable with them if at the end of the first lesson they aren’t happy, don’t be afraid to have a look around for another instructor, everybody is different, and not everybody clicks, instructors won’t take it personally if your child decides to try somebody else.