Supporting Parents of Learner Drivers
Parents go through many stages of preparing their children for adult life and will reach many milestones during their child’s upbringing (from the first time they crossed the road alone, walked from home from school without you, were trusted to be at home alone and were supported in key choices, such as career paths and/or university options). Learning to drive is another key milestone (for parent and child) where your child (now a young adult) can establish a sense of independence and opportunity, along with the (legal) responsibility that comes with it. While some parents choose to teach their children themselves, the majority of parents see their primary role as helping to choose (or influence the choice of) a driving instructor. As a parent myself, my two key considerations would be that the person teaching my child is a suitable person and qualified to do it.
– Suitable Person
All Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) have to pass a ‘fit and proper’ person test to register with the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). This includes obtaining an Enhanced Criminal Records Certificate check at least once every four years. My last certificate was issued on 12th September 2019. In addition, I have also agreed to abide by the DVSA’s Voluntary Code of Practice and the Driving Instructors Association’s (DIA) Code of Conduct.
Many driving instructors are not fully qualified but operate under a trainee licence. While trainee instructors will have passed a test of their own driving ability, they have not yet been assessed as suitable to instruct. Prior to DVSA qualification, I spent a year being trained by AA Driving School. Since qualifying, in 2011, I have been a self employed driving instructor (operating independently within a franchise agreement with AA Driving School). The AA is a reputable brand within the driving school industry and only uses qualified instructors. In addition to being fully qualified, I am committed to ongoing professional development and, like all qualified instructors, subject to periodic assessment by DVSA.
My DVSA (ADI) Reference Number is 460309 and my current certificate of registration is 34014250, confirming that I am included on DVSA’s register of Approved Driving Instructors (valid until February 2024). My certificate is displayed in my car during lessons and is presented at an introductory meeting (before lessons commence). If you are not able to attend that meeting (e.g you are the parent of a univeristy student studying in Nottingham) a scanned jpg image of the certificate can be provided on request.
Where a parent is actively involved in seeking a driving instructor, paying for lessons, or where the child is under 18 years old, I offer to meet up (with both the parent and the learner) prior to the first lesson. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, this meeting was held in the parent’s home or in my car and lasted about 30-60 minutes. Given the current restrictions on meeting people from other households and that social distancing cannot be met in a car, this meeting could be provided in your garden (subject to changes in local Covid-19 restrictions) or, if you live close to a suitable public area, in a nearby park. The introductory meeting is aimed at being an informal way of getting to know each other and covering:-
It is really important to share and understand expectations and motivations prior to commencing driving lessons. This will help shape the plan for lessons (e.g. duration and frequency) and any practice sessions.
– Driving Lesson Structure
Although my driving lessons are planned to follow a structured syllabus, focused on the DVSA’s Essential Driving Skills, I aim to incorporate individual needs and expectations and adapt it to previous experience and learning style. The meeting is also an opportunity to outline a new way of working (introduced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic).
– Practice Session Plans
As driving lessons focus on transferring knowledge and developing specific driving skills, it is helpful to practise what has been learnt in between lessons. Given this, I encourage and fully support practice sessions that complement lessons provided by a fully qualified instructor and I always welcome a discussion prior to practice sessions taking place or discuss situations that arise during those sessions.
To note, where the parent/guardian does not live in Nottingham (e.g. the parent of someone at univeristy in Nottingham), I usually suggest a phone call with the parent and follow this up with a socially distanced meeting with the learner (usually in a public park or an outside location within campus grounds), prior to starting lessons.
At the end of each driving lesson, there is a review of the subject matter covered in the lesson as well as a review of progress overall. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, this has become a verbal session (usually outside the car) at the end of the lesson. To support verbal reviews at the end of each lesson, I provide an email summary on a periodic basis (usually every 5 lessons but this can be more or less frequent, depending on individual circumstances). The aim of the email progress review is to reflect on the previous lessons, track progress against the initial expectations and plan goals for the next set of lessons. I’m happy to copy in the parents to any emails containing a review of progress (with the learner’s consent) as it can be opportunity to explore how to make the best use of the future practice sessions.
If you are looking to book driving lessons for your son and daughter and wish to explore your requirements in more detail, please contact me using my contact form, by telephone or send me a message (text, WhatsApp or through Facebook) using any of the contact details at the bottom of this page.