Are you looking to start driving lessons in 2017?
For the last five years, I’ve noticed that the busiest time of year for people making enquiries about driving lessons is from Boxing Day to the first week or two in January. In addition to the usual cycle of people turning 17 or returning to one of the universities in Nottingham, a combination of Christmas presents and New Year resolutions (where many people set out goals for the year ahead) seems to the reason for this sudden surge in enquiries. With a couple of my learners passing their test in December, and a couple more tests due in January, I do have availability to take on two or three new learners from the beginning of January (depending on where you live and when you are available for lessons).
If one of your goals for the new year is to learn to drive, you may be looking for a driving instructor and it can be difficult to know where to start. Perhaps the most difficult decision is deciding on the right instructor for you. Asking family and friends for a recommendation is a good place to begin as well as doing some research (looking at their website/testimonials). However, given that most people require about 50 hours of driving lessons (which is a long time to spend in the company of someone you probably don’t know), I think that it is probably best to draw up a short list and speak to, or meet, any potential driving instructor BEFORE you decide to appoint them. With this in mind, I offer a free introductory meeting and am happy to speak to any one considering me as a driving instructor.
Please do have a browse through my website and, if you are interested in considering me as your driving instructor, please complete the contact form, call me on 0798 011 1234 or send message via text or WhatsApp.
At the end of each year, I take the opportunity to reflect on the people I’ve supported during the previous twelve months by performing a review of all the tests taken during that year.
With no more tests booked for 2016, I’ve undertaken a review of all the practical driving tests taken by my learners in 2016. This review has revealed that 85% of learners, who took lessons with me during this year, passed their test. Of those people who passed, 80% were first time passes and 20% passed on their second attempt.
The latest publication from DVSA showed that, during July to September, the national average pass rate was 47% (51% for men and 44% for women). This figure closely mirrors the trend over a period of several years. Further statistics released last year highlighted that only 21% of tests result in a first time pass (53% of tests were failed and 26% were passed by learners who were on at least their second attempt).
Although many driving instructors and driving schools claim to have good/high/excellent pass rates, very few publish any statistics to support such claims. If a pass rate is an important factor to you, when choosing a driving instructor, ask them for more details and consider their response (especially if they seem uncertain, unaware or unwilling to give you any statistics). I should highlight that it is very difficult to compare pass rates with other driving instructors as there is no standard by which each driving instructor calculates their pass rates and there is no way of checking the accuracy of any figures provided anyway. It is also important to remember that the driving test is a test of a learner’s abilities displayed on the day of the test (including how they control their nerves during the test) and, therefore, does not necessarily demonstrate the quality of their driving instructor.
Well done Alex on passing your test this morning at Clifton Test Centre, just a few days before you go home for the Christmas/New Year holidays. This was my last test in 2016 so it was great to have finished the year with another pass. Although I have only been your driving instructor for a couple of months, you really are one the most competent learner drivers I have ever seen so I’m so pleased that you have been rewarded with passing first time.
While I do offer driving lessons 7 days a week, with two sessions in the mornings and two in the afternoons, I only offer regular evening lessons between March and September (where there is sufficient daylight). I schedule these to start at 6:30pm or 7pm but can start earlier or later (especially if planning to learn to drive in rush hour traffic or a driving in the dark session is planned). Evening sessions between October and March are generally reserved for experienced learner drivers or for qualified drivers taking Pass Plus courses or refresher sessions. Weekend slots tend to be in high demand and slots only become available once someone has passed their test, so these sessions need to be planned for well in advance.
My standard morning slots begin at:-
8.30am (for 2 hour lessons) or 9am (for 1½ hour lessons)
11am (or 11:30am), depending on the duration and location of the first session
My standard afternoon slots begin at:-
* 1pm, 1.30pm or 2pm
* 3pm, 3.30pm or 4pm
* Please note that the start time of afternoon sessions is variable as it depends on whether earlier sessions were for 1½ or 2 hour lessons and where the learners live. Please also note that driving test times are variable and require a 2½ hour slot in my diary. Therefore, on days when I have a test scheduled, my slots available for lessons are likely to change.
Many learners have different schedules each week (especially shift workers) or do not know their plans until the week before. Taking into account the location of each learner and the fact that not many learners tend to have lessons at the same time on the same day every week, scheduling lessons can be a very complex matter!
The new structure of my driving lesson prices is effective from 1st January 2017 – the first change in 4 years – with standard PAYG prices increasing very slightly (by between 50p and £1 per hour, depending on the duration of the lesson). In addition, there will be changes to my discounted packages (blocks of 10 lessons), focusing on the discounts offered for weekday lesson times and reducing discounts for evening and weekend lessons (the slots which are most in demand). In addition, during 2017, I will also be introducing periodic promotional offers (designed to help fill any specific slots or attract new learners who live close to me).
Please note that pupils already registered with me will not be adversely affected by any changes i.e. the current price charged will remain unchanged, providing that they are actively taking lessons with me at the moment (ignoring any breaks from lessons over the Christmas/New Year period).
My Free Introductory Session will continue to be offered with the Taster Session extended to 2.5 hours and the Assessment Session re-branded as a Taster Session (but tailored to the requirements of the learner). While any introductory offers may change from time to time, they will continue to be based upon providing the opportunity for potential new clients to meet me, discuss plans and have a lesson with me before committing to a decision on appointing a driving instructor. The mock test service (designed for learners who are not learning to drive with me) is currently being reviewed (as only one person opted for this last year).
Sessions for qualified drivers (Pass Plus, Motorway Driving & Refresher Sessions) have been reviewed and prices changed to reflect the extra time (and cost) involved in planning and performing these sessions. However, these prices will be discounted for people who passed their test after learning to drive with me as well as for people who take these sessions in their own car.
Finally, my terms of business have also been reviewed and revised, largely focusing on the approach to lessons that are cancelled at short notice. Given the number of lessons that were cancelled in 2016, there will also be a greater focus on rewarding learners who do not cancel any of their lessons. More details to follow.