Enrol your children onto a course of driving lessons and – provided you’ve chosen a well-known, reputable company – you’re guaranteed tuition from an expert driving instructor, right?
Well, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) reckons that isn’t always the case, and has introduced a new grading scheme for its register of approved driving instructors.
Becoming a driving instructor has become a popular way for people to boost their income in recent years, and the authority, formerly known as the DSA, is concerned that standards in tuition are slipping.
I want all instructors to strive to achieve the new ‘A’ grade. – Alastair Peoples, DVSA
Currently, all qualified instructors are assessed at least once every four years. Now, upon completion of this assessment, they will receive one of three grades:
• A grade (85% or over) – an overall high standard of instruction
• B grade (60% or over) – a sufficient level of competence
• Fail (less than 60%) – an unsatisfactory performance
This replaces the current 1-6 grade structure, and forms part of the DVSA’s plans to modernise the driver training industry and provide greater clarity for customers.
DVSA Chief Executive, Alastair Peoples, said: “The new standards check will enable qualified driving instructors to better demonstrate their competence to deliver effective training. A high level of tuition can make a real difference in helping new drivers to become safe and responsible and the grading structure will make it easier for learners and parents to identify the best instructors.
“Most driving instructors are grade 4 on the current structure, which means that they have demonstrated sufficient competence to remain on the register. I want all instructors to strive to achieve the new ‘A’ grade. I also want to work with the industry to identify ways that we can help top grade instructors to promote the higher level of competence that they have worked hard to achieve”.
Instructors who fail assessment three times can be struck off the DVSA’s register.
Learner drivers are urged to check that their driving instructor is fully qualified, by looking for a green DVSA certificate, which should be displayed in their car’s windscreen. A pink certificate indicates that the instructor is a trainee who is gaining experience as part of the qualification process.