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 a 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 (ADI) 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 November 2015. In addition, have also agreed to abide by the DVSA’s Voluntary Code of Practice and the Driving Instructor’s 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 not only a reputable brand within the driving school industry (only using qualified instructors) but offers other products (notably breakdown services). In addition to being fully qualified, I am committed to ongoing professional development and, like all qualified instructors, subject to periodic assessment by DVSA.
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. This usually takes place in the parent’s home and lasts about 30 minutes. It is sometimes scheduled just prior to the first lesson but prefer to meet on a day prior to first lesson, if possible. The introductory meeting is free and 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 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.
- Practice Sessions Plans
As driving lessons focus on transferring knowledge and developing specific driving skills, it is helpful to practice 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. Since passing your own driving test, it is likely that driving rules and techniques have changed. I offer a FREE in car session for parents of people learning to drive with me (to help bring them up to date and outline the key areas to focus on during practice sessions) and welcome the opportunity for a parent to sit in the car during a lesson (providing the learner is willing). For parents of children who may be at one of the Nottingham universities, I am happy to provide support over the phone.
At the end of each driving lesson, there is a review of what’s being learnt in the lesson as well as a review of progress overall. This is held in the car with the pupil. 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. There is the option, providing that the learner is willing, for a parent to sit in the back of the car during a lesson and be present at the end to listen in to/contribute to a review of progress to date. For parents supporting their children with practice sessions between lessons, it is an 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, please complete the contact form or call me today on 0798 011 1234 (or send a text message) to discuss your requirements in more detail.
Driving Lessons in Nottingham with Martin
(AA Franchised Driving Instructor)