Invoking the spirit of our very own ‘Agony Aunt’ in the form of the lovely and well-versed Lou Walsh, we hope to provide solutions to your professional queries and answers to your industry questions.

Going Pink

I’m thinking of taking a trainee licence to help me prepare for my Part 3. What are the rules about the number of training hours I then have to do?

Alex, PDI

Answer: In term of ‘rules’, there are conditions you have to satisfy. Before applying you will need to have completed at least 40 hours of relevant training from a qualified ADI, at least 10 of which must be done in-car. These need to be recorded on the ADI 21T declaration form. Then you can apply for a ‘Pink’ trainee licence. Then you need to do one of the following options:
1) Be supervised for 20% of all lessons you give while you have your trainee licence, or
2) Do at least 20 hours of extra training while you have your trainee licence

If you choose Option 1, you have to be supervised for 20% of all the lessons you give, keeping an accurate recording of the hours you are teaching and the hours you are being supervised while teaching. These are documented on the ADI21S form and must be sent to the DVSA when your trainee licence runs out. If you choose Option 2, you have to do at least 20 hours of extra training in the topics on the training programme, of which at least 25% must be practical in-car training. You must do the training before you book the ADI Part 3 test, but also book the test within three months of getting your trainee licence. The training must be recorded on the instructor training declaration form and sent to the DVSA before the end of the three months, or the day after you book your ADI Part 3 test, whichever comes first. Once you’ve made your option choice, you cannot change your decision. So, talk to your training provider about the best option choice for you, your needs and their syllabus.

A Verdict

I’ve been called up for Jury Service. Do I have to do it as I’m self-employed?

Craig, ADI

Answer: Jury Service is a legal obligation, so the answer is yes, you have to do it. You can appeal and defer, claiming that being self-employed doesn’t allow you to let down clients who have tests booked, you have no work colleagues to take up the load, and two weeks off would affect your business for months, but ultimately it’s a judge’s decision and being self-employed is NOT considered a valid reason in itself, so be ready to accept that. Also be aware that if you do manage to defer the first time, you cannot refuse a second time. However, you can claim expenses. It may not be much, but it’s there to claim: In the majority of jury service cases you will get one, or maybe two short trials, so maybe a few days at the most. You would usually then be dismissed and not needed for the rest of the two weeks. However, there’s no guarantee. Having done jury service, I’d say embrace it. It’s a duty, it’s fascinating, a little scary, eye opening, sometimes boring, but it’s most certainly a great experience!

Less Is More

I’ve heard you say ‘Keep it Simple-Exploit Simple’ when talking about structuring a Standards Check or Part 3 lesson. What does this
really mean?

Tony, PDI

Answer: Instructors often add too much to a Part 3 or Standards Check lesson plan, falling into the trap of having lots of content, but failing to encourage the pupil to learn deeply enough. The idea behind ‘Keep it Simple – Exploit Simple’ means taking a simple concept/skill/subject and REALLY going in-depth with knowledge, understanding and ability to ensure deep learning takes place. Let’s take moving off from the side of the road as an example. This could be seen as a simple exercise based around the POM routine. So, not much to be taught, right? But let’s look at what a pupil needs to know and, gain experience of, in order to pull away safely: car control, awareness, planning, anticipation, judgement, decision making, the influence of passengers, post-test scenarios, moving off from behind or in front of a large vehicle, doing the same but on the right, glaring sun or other challenging weather conditions, as well as many other ‘what if’ moments. This shows that we can take ‘simple’ and encourage learning – and that’s what I mean by ‘Keep it simple – Exploit simple’

Two-way Mirrors

Can I use the side mirror as a reference point, lining it up with the Give Way line for pupils who are struggling to judge where to stop the car at a junction, or do you have any other tips?

Ellie, PDI

Answer: If you are using a door mirror as a reference point for the line, you need to be aware of three things.
a) This is an instructor led reference point and doesn’t encourage the pupil to find what their own reference point is
b) That reference won’t work if the car bonnet is longer/shorter, the pupil is tall/short, the line is angled or the pupil follows a kerb around, or there is no line!
c) If you are encouraging them to look at the mirror and the line, you are distracting them from looking where they should be looking… to the right and left and at the general situation!

Here’s some other solutions:
● If they are either over shooting or under shooting, then this is a judgement issue and often linked with speed. Control the speed on approach, and this will allow the space and time to work on the skill of making a judgement.
● Encourage them to stop where they think it’s right (keep safe!) and get them out of the car and have a look! They are often massively surprised! Then repeat with them trying to correct it. When they get it right, ask them for their own references and how they might be able to recreate and repeat it at the next junction. Then repeat again and again to allow the brain to reprogram its own references until it becomes subconscious and more instinctive, allowing the pupil to be focusing on the ever-changing dynamics at a junction, rather than mirrors and lines. Practice makes perfect!

On Notice

I’m thinking of a career change and planning to give up instructing sometime this year. How much notice is reasonable for pupils?

Denise, ADI

Answer: I think two months is more than enough. In preparation you could forewarn your local colleagues and compile a simple handout for your pupils of local instructors – names and phone numbers – they can contact. If most of your pupils then found other instructors quickly and you find yourself with an empty diary sooner than you wanted, you could always take on a couple of intensive courses, or ‘babysit’ pupils for another local instructor who is temporarily unavailable for lessons. Start diary planning now based on your needs so that any disruption for pupils is kept to a minimum, but your own financial needs are met.

If you are interested in finding out more about some of the courses Lou has to offer, visit her website –