Supporting Parents of Learner Drivers

For teenagers, learning to drive is a key new life skill and starting lessons is usually an exciting milestone, especially for those who see driving as gaining independence or where older friends have already started lessons. For parents, it is another step in seeing their child grow up and, for the eldest or only child, is also a new experience.

For many teenagers, still at school or college, learning to drive can be the first time that they’ve been taught a subject on a one to one basis and, similarly, the first time they’ve learnt a practical skill in a live environment. This can bring new challenges for the most confident of people but, for young people with known anxieties, it can be quite stressful. Parents will have experience of how their child has coped in stressful situations and be well placed to share any insights with a driving instructor.

While some parents choose to teach their children themselves, the majority of parents see their initial 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 6th October 2023 (Certificate Number: 001850547287).  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.

– Qualified

Some 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 or contract with AA Driving School). 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 university student studying in Nottingham), a scanned jpg image of the certificate can be provided on request.

Introductory Meeting

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. While I usually hold the meeting in my car, where a parent is involved, the meeting can be held in the parent’s home.  The introductory meeting usually lasts for about an hour and is aimed at being an informal way of getting to know each other and covering:-

– Expectations

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.

– Learning/Teaching Style

The introductory meeting gives me the opportunity to discuss and explore your child’s learning style and also allows you to share any pertinent information (e.g. any medical conditions, learning difficulties, anxiety issues, previous experiences such as being involved in a car accident) and understand my approach to teaching.

– 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.  I use the meeting to outline how the first few lessons will be conducted and what they will cover.

– 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 university in Nottingham), I usually suggest a phone call with the parent and follow this up with a meeting (in my car) with the learner, prior to starting lessons.

Progress Review

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.  To support verbal reviews at the end of each lesson, I use an App to summarise progress. The pupil can download the App and not only view my input but add their own reflections after each lesson. The aim of the progress review is to reflect on the previous lessons, track progress against the initial expectations and plan goals for the next set of lessons.

While I would expect a learner living with their parent to share their progress after each lesson, I also offer the parent a monthly email summary of progress but am also happy to have a chat at anytime.

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 or WhatsApp) using any of the contact details at the bottom of this page.