Advice for Parents
Hi, I'm Dave Phillips the owner of DPA School of Motoring, I’m also a Dad and like all parents wanted to give my children the best, when my daughter reached 17 I wanted to make sure that she had the best instructor and driving school to teach her to drive. Did I teach her myself? Anyone with a 17 year old knows the answer to that question…of course I didn’t, but I used the simple list below to make my decision on which instructor to choose.
All our Instructors allow time on the first lesson to meet with the parents of our younger pupils, we like to introduce ourselves and allow you to meet the person who will be training your son or daughther.
What are the key decisions to be made when selecting a driving Instructor?
1. Are they fully qualified, green badge, Approved Driving Instructors, approved by the DSA (Driving Standards Agency)
2. Are all vehicles modern and fitted with dual controls?
3. Is the school professional? Have they been around for some time? Local schools rely on recommendations, bad schools and instructors don’t last long in this industry. Take a look at the schools web site, it should be very clear what the prices of lessons are and also what services are offered. If you find it difficult or impossible to find out what the actual standard block lesson price is BEWARE!
4. Do the school provide (Free of Charge) a written format training methodology which can be utilized outside of the car and between lessons to reduce the number of lessons required? Or is all of the training done in the car? (DPA “A” Cards)
5. What is the price of lessons? Value for money is the key criteria, If it takes 60 to 70 lessons at an average price of £20 a lesson to get to a test pass then it is poor value for money, compared to say 35 to 45 lessons at £24. All driving schools offer specials, there is nothing wrong in this, the intention is to try to convince you to start with them. The idea being that once your son or daughter is driving with an instructor they will not want to change, but beware of free or extremley low cost lessons at the start which have lots of strings attached. Also ask yourself if a school is charging way below the normal rate what is the reason? It could be that they have a poor reputation and find gaining new pupils difficult hence they have to cut prices, the old adage you get what you pay for needs to be kept in mind.
6. You know your kids, are they quick learners adept at physical skills or maybe they are a little slower to pick things up? Assume that the number of lessons at the lowest end will be around 30 and at the high end 60 then calculate the costs by adding up the special offer lesson block you purchase at the start, plus the standard price lesson blocks you purchase in the future to see just what the true cost is. Buying single lessons is always more expensive as the school have no guaranteed future income from this method.
The standards required today are very much higher than they were 20 years ago so please understand that it is quite normal to take 40 to 60 lessons to attain the current standards for a test pass.
7. Unsolicited recommendation is one of the best indicators, the schools web site should have real recommendations from previous pupils (with photographs) why? Well it is simple to list a stream of Miss A from Southend or Pete from Canvey Island, when a school places photography of each pupil alongside the comments is rather more difficult to invent recommendations.
8. Last but not least don’t be put off when you ring a local school and you go to an answering machine, the reason your local school can provide better value for money is that they have much lower overheads than the big corporate schools like AA/BSM or Red. No big offices, no multi-million pound advertising budget and certainly no full time person to answer the phone. A professional school should call you back within 12 hours. Any instructor who is receiving calls via a mobile phone whilst instructing should not be considered.
All of our current Instructors were actualy trained by either the AA or BSM and that includes me.
Driving is a life skill, we teach pupils to drive safely, not just to pass a driving test. The first year’s Insurance premium your son, daughter or you have to pay, will be far in excess of the total amount paid for lessons. There are areas of life that we can save on, good driving instruction and the safety of your children is not one of them.
If you’re still not sure or have any questions just give me a call, I promise no hard sell, no pestering call backs and advice based on 35 years experience as an Instructor and 40 as a Dad.
DPA strongly recomend that at least 2 hours tuition a week is taken in our experience this will reduce the total tuition time required to attain test standard. Intensive courses are available but we believe the maximum lesson time each day should be limited to 2 hours.
All our vehicles are fitted with Internal/external CCTV and audio recording equipment for your safety
All our Instructors are CRB Checked
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