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Dog Ate My Homework

I’ve misplaced my Standards Check letter! What do I need to take with me?

Mark, ADI

Answer: Just a car, a pupil, your green badge and yourself! Other suggestions include your training records for that pupil, your CPD evidence, a bottle of water and all your usual in-car tools and teaching aids. But, whatever you’re packing for the days adventures, the first four are the only compulsory items.

Instruction on Coaching

I am currently training for Part 3 and on a pink licence. I feel I am getting to grips with the client centred learning, but I’m anxious about getting the balance right. Am I right in thinking ‘client centred’ is about the learner saying how much help they would like? What if circumstances occur where I feel, from a risk management point of view, they may need more help?

Matt, PDI

Answer: Don’t get ‘client centred’ confused with ‘level of instruction’ and ‘control’! Client centred is all about the lesson being tailored to the individual… their needs, their learning style, their ability, their motives for the drive… For example: What if I was doing a lesson in the morning on country roads with a 17 year-old Lucy who has a test booked next week, then a lesson in the afternoon on country roads with a 76 year-old, Harold (his wife normally drives but she’s poorly at the moment and he wants to be able to take her for their normal drive in the country on Sundays), but he’s not actually driven for four years. Both lessons are the same topic, same car, same me, same route, but totally different in-car conversations. With Lucy we’re talking about times of day or night she’s on these roads. We’re talking about passengers who are drunk and having a lift home after a party. We’re talking about breaking down on her own at 2am. We’re talking about journey planning and so on. With Harold we are talking about which lay-by is best to go into, the one with the best view but easy to get out of again, the one not near a bend and so on. Do you get the picture? That’s client centred! Level of instruction is, yes, still very individual to the ‘client’, but it’s far more fluid and responsive to the moment. The biggest misunderstanding instructors suffer from, particularly on Part 3, is NOT getting the level of instruction right. Under instructing is a particular problem – letting things happen that were unsafe or potentially safety critical and needed that control and help from the instructor. So, you are on the right lines as far as stepping in and upping control and instruction, or giving back responsibility as and when appropriate, and according to the situation and the needs at the time.

Pause for Thought

My pupil asked me if she would be allowed to pull up for a minute or two to calm her nerves down during her driving test. I’m not sure what the answer is!

Wayne, ADI

Answer: Sure! Reassure your pupil that as long as she chooses a safe and appropriate place to pull up and secures the car, she can stop the car to calm her nerves. The examiner will be asking her to pull up a number of times during the test anyway, so perhaps you could encourage her to use these opportunities to take a little breather. It’s worth practising this because, despite your reassurance, it’s likely that during the test itself she will feel under pressure and not want to do so, even if she is feeling the need. Encourage her to make the decision to pull over unprompted during your lessons, especially if you do a mock test, so she gets used to it.

No Response

My ADI number never works when students use it for the reference number to book a test. Any suggestions as to why not?

Marc, ADI

Answer: Have you registered with the Government gateway and got a user ID and password? You need to have done this to then register your ADI number and set your preferences for test times with the DVSA, so that pupils can’t book their tests outside of your preferred working hours, around your other commitments, while you are on holiday or when it may clash with another test. If you haven’t done so already, follow the link here and get set up: https://www.gov.uk/government-gateway. This next link then allows you to book tests, and state or make changes to your preferences: https://www.gov.uk/book-pupil-driving-test. Alternatively, just give your pupils clear instructions for when to book a test if they plan to use your car, or perhaps even book it during a lesson when you are together!

Prepared For Anything

I’m think about training to be a driving instructor and I’m just doing some research before committing. From experience, what would you say people find the most difficult during their training, and what do people find easy?


Answer: Well done for doing your homework before spending time and money, and then possibly discovering it’s not for you. If you were to ask a room full of ADIs for their answers, without doubt, top of the most difficult aspects of training would be ‘role playing with a trainer’. Instructors will tell you that trying to fake teaching with a driver who is pretending to be a pupil when you are fully aware that they are just pretending, is incredibly difficult to get your head around. There are ways to avoid this awkwardness, with many trainers now choosing not to do role play, preferring to spend more time practising with real pupils. However, like most things, time and practice make role playing easier. When it comes to the easiest part of learning to be a driving instructor and, perhaps as a polar opposite to the first point, instructors say that they are often surprised at how quickly they become settled with the real teaching bit! After a few hours of teaching, and once you become familiar with the area and build rapport with some pupils, it all begins to flow and you’ll realise that the hard work up to that point was all worth it!


Lou Walsh – https://driving-instructor.site/

Marmalade – https://www.marmaladenetwork.co.uk/