Developing your skills, knowledge and understanding
Driving instruction as a profession
As with any other profession, those at the top of their game make sure that they keep up to date with what’s going on in their industry. As an ADI you will need to keep up to date with changes to road rules and driving practices, so that what you pass on to your clients is correct. In addition, you should keep up to date with training industry issues and recognise when you need to update your skills, knowledge and understanding.
One way to do this is to join an industry association (GOV.UK). Another way is to talk to other ADIs in your area, or join an online forum.
Once you’ve identified a training need you can plan to meet it – this might be by attending a training course, but equally it might be by reading up on a subject and trying things out for yourself. You will know how you prefer to learn!
Keeping a reflective log is a good way of monitoring your own progress.
Code of practice
The Driving Standards Agency and the driving instruction industry have an agreed voluntary code of practice (GOV.UK) that you can sign up to.
Professional development is an important part of being a driving instructor. The skills and knowledge you’ll need to teach your pupils change over time, as do the driving tests and the way driving is taught. To give your pupils the best chance of becoming safe, responsible drivers and passing their tests, you’ll need to keep your skills and knowledge up to date. It’s also important to show your pupils that you’re still improving your skills: no one ever really finishes learning to drive.
Client-centred learning is an approach that’s being used increasingly in the driving tuition industry. It’s a way of teaching that puts the focus on the learner, as these core principles show.
- Actively listen to what your pupils are trying to tell you about what’s getting in the way of their learning so you’ll be well-equipped to help them achieve their learning goals.
- Do not hide behind a façade, patronise your pupils or pretend to be something you’re not. Your pupils will be much more likely to be willing to listen to you, and share their problems, if you’re ‘real’.
- Show them you trust that they’re trying to be constructive and find solutions. Your pupils will be much more likely to take your advice and guidance if you accept and respect who they are.
You may already be following these principles at least some of the time. The more you use this approach, the more effective your instruction is likely to be. There are lots of different techniques for managing learning in a client-centred way: this is an area you could explore in your professional development.
The approved driving instructor (ADI) standards check replaced the ADI check test on 7 April 2014. The ADI standards check assesses your ability to teach pupils. You have to take a standards check even if you do not have a car or are not working as an ADI. You can only take standards checks in English or Welsh.
When to take your standards check
Based on 12 months’ data, DVSA call you for a standards check when trigger points are reached for the:
- average number of driving faults per test
- average number of serious faults per test
- percentage of tests where the driving examiner had to take physical action in the interests of public safety
- overall pass rate over the rolling 12 months
First, a DVSA ADI examiner will call you to arrange a date and time for a voluntary 30-minute phone call. That will take place about 8 weeks before your standards check.
When the examiner has confirmed the appointment details with you, they will email you a copy of your ‘ADI driver test analysis report’ in PDF format. This gives information about the different indicators.
You’ll get a letter from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency asking you to go for your standards check. It will say when and where to go. There is no additional fee for a standards check.
Continuing professional development
Continuing professional development (CPD) is a good way to keep your skills up to date. You choose how and when to do the training – it could be a formal course or research on the internet, for example. Your CPD should link with the driver trainer competence framework.
Special test for instructors
As part of your CPD you can take a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) special test, which will test your skills to the highest standards and demonstrate your commitment to CPD. This test is only available to fully qualified instructors and includes a test of your general driving skills and manoeuvres.
Registering as a Pass Plus instructor
Becoming a Pass Plus instructor will help you generate more business by allowing you to offer an extra service to pupils after they’ve passed their driving test. Pass Plus helps your pupils become safer drivers by continuing their learning and development beyond their driving test, teaching extra skills such as motorway driving.
Becoming a fleet driver trainer
As an ADI, you can register as a fleet driver trainer if you specialise in training fully qualified drivers of fleets of cars and vans. This will enable DVSA to provide your details to people looking for fleet driver training, and you can advertise yourself as a DVSA-registered fleet driver trainer.