New theory test service
DVSA is changing the way the theory test is provided in England, Scotland and Wales. From 6 September, the number of theory test centres in Great Britain will increase from 180 to 202 and many theory test centres will move location.
A new booking system will launch at www.gov.uk/book-theory-test on 19 July, with tests available from 6 September onwards. ADI part 1 and DVSA enhanced rider scheme trainer theory tests will be available to book at www.gov.uk/book-your-instructor-theory-test.
Tests on or before 3 September can still be booked, where available, on the current booking system on GOV.UK.
Practical test centre locations are not affected by the changes we are making to our theory test centre network.
Theory test centre location changes We’ve attached the list of changes to theory test centre locations that will be introduced from 6 September to this message. We'll send you a copy of all available addresses later this week. These will also be available on 'find my nearest' service from Monday 19 July.
Unfortunately, some changes to theory test centre locations will not be confirmed by the time we open the new booking system on 19 July. We will add these test centres to the booking system as soon as the addresses and opening dates are confirmed. We will write to you to let you know when they have been added. We apologise for any inconvenience these delays may cause you and your pupils.
Candidates who want to book a theory test before their closest theory test centre opens can use ‘find your nearest theory test centre’ on GOV.UK to find the nearest alternative centre. We are sorry for any inconvenience this might cause.
We will update the ‘find your nearest theory test centre’ service on GOV.UK when the new booking system goes live on 19 July.
Booking or changing a theory test date When the new booking system opens on 19 July, from the green ‘start’ button, you will be asked to choose a date for your theory test. You will automatically be directed to the correct booking system depending on the date you select.
The new theory test booking system will look a little different because of new web pages and the software being used. We have worked with theory test candidates and the Government Digital Service to improve the new booking system, making it easier to use.
Dates for bookings at new theory test centres where the address is yet to be confirmed will be added to the booking system as soon as the address and opening date is confirmed.
If you want to change a theory test appointment from a date booked for before or on 3 September, to a date on or after 6 September, you will need to cancel your current theory test on GOV.UK and rebook online using the new booking system. This is because the 2 booking systems are separate. Refunds will be issued for cancelled tests as normal.
Theory test bookings with additional support can only be cancelled or rescheduled by contacting the customer contact centre.
Customer enquiries For booking enquiries about theory tests due to take place on or before 3 September only, please continue to contact Pearson VUE:
By managing the service ‘in-house’ DVSA can update and improve questions and clips more quickly when we need to make changes.
Booking system launch We will provide you with an update on the launch of the theory test booking system before it goes live.
Letting your pupils know If any of your pupils are planning to take their theory test on or before 3 September and have to change or retake their test on or after 6 September, they will need to be aware the location of their nearest theory test centre may have changed.
We will write to all candidates with a theory test booked to explain this and would be grateful for your support in reminding any affected pupils.
New theory test service (govdelivery.com)
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Professional developmentDeveloping your skills, knowledge and understandingDriving instruction as a professionAs 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 practiceThe 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 learningClient-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.
Check testsStandards testsThe 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 at least 1 ADI standards check during each 4-year period that you’re registered as an ADI. 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 checkYou’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.
Find out more about the standards test on GOV.UK.
Continuing professional developmentContinuing 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.
Find out more about ADI professional development on GOV.UK.
Special test for instructorsAs 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.
Find out more about the special test for instructors on GOV.UK.
Registering as a Pass Plus instructorBecoming 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.
To register as a Pass Plus instructor, go to GOV.UK.
Becoming a fleet driver trainerAs 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.
To find out more about becoming a fleet driver trainer, go to GOV.UK.
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Pupil resources There are many websites, books and apps to help learner drivers. We’ve provided links to some of the key resources here.
Available from our online shopThe official range of Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) materials has been developed with education in mind. Rather than just teaching learners how to pass the test, the official products focus on providing the background information that learners need in order to become thoughtful, safe and confident drivers for life. Whatever their learning style, your pupils will find the right product to suit them.
View the full range of official DVSA materials on our shop.
As a driving instructor, you’re entitled to a discount when you order directly from the publisher (TSO). Give us a call on 0333 202 5070 to find out more.
There are many other non-official products available for learners, at a range of prices and in a variety of formats. Before recommending a particular product to your pupils, it’s advisable to do your research to make sure you’re giving them the best advice.
Running your own driving instruction business can give you the flexibility to choose how much work you do and, to some degree, when you work. While it can give you a great deal of freedom, it will also require you to develop a range of business skills and to be able to work independently.
For example, you’ll need to think about these factors.
As an approved driving instructor (ADI), you can use the services on GOV.UK to help manage your licence and to book your pupils’ tests on their behalf.
Managing your ADI registrationYou’re responsible for keeping your registration up to date when any of your details change, and for renewing it every 4 years.
Use these links to update your registration online.
Use the guide on GOV.UK to check your rights if your ADI registration is suspended.
You can appeal against the decision of the ADI registrar if you disagree with it. See GOV.UK for more information about making an appeal.
Managing your pupils’ testsThe Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) provides an online business service through which you can book multiple tests, manage your availability for tests and view records of your business transactions.
Start using the DVSA online business service (GOV.UK).
You can register as a trainer or a business (GOV.UK) to allow you to book theory and practical tests for pupils online.
When you’ve registered you can
Are you fit to teach?Most of your time on driving lessons will be spent in the passenger seat. It may be tempting to think that, as you are not driving, you do not need to be fit to drive. But if anything, you need to be even more aware of your surroundings, and able to react quickly if a hazard arises.
Is the learner fit to drive?Make sure that your learner is fit to drive. Even minor ailments, such as a cold, can affect people’s ability to concentrate. Emotions can also have an effect. If you’re unsure, explore the subject with your learner. Such a discussion can be a learning process in itself, preparing them for when they have to make these decisions by themselves.
Managing safety on the roadBefore you get out on the road the responsibility for keeping the learner, other road users and yourself safe should be agreed. As the driving instructor, much of the responsibility rests with you. But the learner needs to know when and how you might intervene, so that they do not panic.
Once you’re moving, make sure that your instructions are clear, so that the learner does not get confused. Look well ahead so that you can anticipate hazards and be ready to deal with them (either verbally or physically) if the learner does not spot them.
Choose a route that is at the right level for the learner. If it’s too simple they will not learn anything new; if it’s too complicated then they will be overwhelmed.
If you do have to step in to deal with a hazard, make sure that the learner understands what happened. You can turn this into a learning experience – but do it as soon as possible.
Other safety risksBe aware of any other safety issues that could arise when you’re on the road, such as road rage from other drivers or even aggression from your learner if things are not going their way. Think about how to reduce the risks of this happening.
If you’re delivering any training in a classroom you need to make sure you follow health and safety requirements.
What to teach and how
Safe and responsible driving The Driving Standards Agency has set out exactly what it takes to be a safe and responsible driver. This is the National driving standard (Category B). It sets out what drivers need to be able to do, and the knowledge and understanding they need to be able to do it. You should use this as the basis for what to cover in your driving lessons.
How’s your driving? This is always a contentious question – most drivers think that they are better than average! But to teach others to drive you need to be a safe and responsible driver so that you can demonstrate how it should be done. You also need to understand what makes you a safe driver – so that you can help others to become safe too!
What is your aim? As a responsible, professional driving instructor you’ll want learners to have the skills to be safe and responsible drivers for life when they leave you. Sometimes you’ll find that you need to balance this against their aims – they might want to pass the test quickly, and with as little expense as possible. This is not an easy balance to achieve – you may need to persuade your learners of the benefits of not just learning to pass the test.
What is client-centred learning? People learn in different ways and at different speeds. If someone who likes time to reflect on their learning is forced to move on to the next thing too quickly it could slow down their progress. Or if someone who likes to learn by trying things out is made to watch too many demonstrations without having a go they will get frustrated.
Client-centred learning is an approach to learning that takes into account how the learner prefers to learn. When people learn in this way they are more likely to retain information and skills. People are also more likely to keep learning if they are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning at an early stage – this is the second aim of client-centred learning.
How to teach in a client-centred way At its simplest, this means listening to your learner (the client) to find out how they like to learn, the things that are getting in the way of their progress and how you can help.
What is coaching? You might want to use some coaching techniques with your learners. These are tools that help you to teach in a client-centred way. For instance, you might use scaling to help a learner assess their progress, or mind-mapping to help a learner to explore a subject. If you’re a driving instructor you may already be using coaching techniques with your learners without even knowing it.
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Most approved driving instructors (ADIs) rent or own a training vehicle. Some specialise in training those who need to use a modified vehicle – and they may only use their pupils’ vehicles. Whichever applies to you, make sure that the vehicle you use is fit for purpose.
This means doing all the normal checks to make sure your vehicle is legal and safe to drive, as well as whether it is suitable for teaching people to drive.
Is it suitable for driving tests?Some vehicles are not suitable for driving tests because it is difficult for the examiner to get a good view from the passenger seat. For that reason, these vehicles would probably not be ideal as training vehicles! There is a list of vehicles not suitable for the driving test on GOV.UK along with other rules for cars used on test. There is also a list of vehicles that have been recalled by the manufacturer for known safety faults. If your vehicle is on this list it may need to be checked and, if necessary, fixed before it can be used on test.
What about insurance?You’ll need insurance that covers driver training and, unless you specialise in post-test training, provisional licence holders. If your vehicle has dual controls, or any other modification, you will need to tell your insurance company so that your insurance is still valid. There are companies that specialise in cover for ADIs.
Do I need ‘L’ plates?If you’re teaching learner drivers then, as a minimum, you need to fit ‘L’ plates (or ‘D’ plates in Wales) that are visible from in front of and behind the vehicle. You might want to use your car as an advertisement for your services – if you do, make sure that any signs are secure and do not affect your insurance.
Make sure that you can legally teach people to drive.
The lawIf people are paying you for lessons then you must be on DVSA's Register of Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs). Even if they are just paying for the petrol you use, you will be breaking the law if you are not an ADI.
Find out about becoming an ADI (GOV.UK) or renewing your registration on GOV.UK.
Make sure your driving licence is valid, and make sure you report any motoring or non-motoring cautions or convictions to DVSA – these may affect your licence to teach.
On the roadDisplay your ADI certificate in the passenger-side edge of the front windscreen when you’re teaching – this is a legal requirement.
When you’ve passed all three driving instructor tests and you’ve got your approved driving instructor (ADI) badge, you can choose which direction you’d like your career to take.
Working for a large driving school or franchiseMany of the large driving schools will either employ ADIs or offer franchise packages, enabling you to set up your own driving school business quickly using an established name.
If you’re a franchisee you’ll have to pay a weekly fee to the franchising company; in return you’ll get benefits such as
Working for an independent driving schoolInstead of working within a large organisation, you can join an independent driving school operating locally. This type of company might be more flexible than a larger driving school and you’ll have the benefits of being employed, such as holiday and sick pay, rather than paying for a franchise. The driving school is also likely to provide a car.
Setting up your own businessStarting your own driving school will give you the most flexibility and control over how you run your business, but it also means you will not have the support that you’d get from being employed or running a franchise.
You’ll need to buy and maintain your own car with dual controls; you’ll also need to manage your own advertising and business development.
There are several national driving instructor organisations that can provide support and guidance including the ADI Federation, the Driving Instructors Association, and the Motor Schools Association.
There’s more information to help you grow and develop your career in our Instructors section.