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Choosing a driving instructor

Anyone who has held a full car licence for four years and is over the age of 21 may supervise a provisional learner driving a car. But to receive payment for driving instruction the instructor must be registered with the Driving Standards Agency.

An Approved Driving Instructor must display the green octagon certificate in the windscreen of the car when teaching.

The Driving Standards Agency carries out periodic checks on instructors to ensure that teaching standards are maintained. If an instructor's standard falls below that required they can be removed from the register and must return their certificate.

At each check the Supervising Examiner instructors are graded according to the quality of instruction. Grade 6 is the highest, Grade 1 the lowest. All instructors registered with us must be Grade 4 or higher.

To qualify for registration a driving instructor must pass a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check and pass three exams within a two year period.

Part One is a test of driving and instructional theory and includes a hazard perception test (HPT). Similar to the learner theory test but with three times as many questions and a higher pass mark required for the HPT. The two year qualifying period starts from the day that this test is passed.

Part Two is a driving test lasting for an hour, the candidate is expected to drive to an advanced level and is only allowed 6 Driver Faults whereas the learner test is just over half an hour and 15 Driver Faults are permitted. A potential instructor is allowed three attempts to pass this test within the two year period or must wait for the end of the two year period before starting again with Part One.

Part Three is the test of instructional ability. For this test a specially trained Examiner plays the role of a pupil and drives the car under the instruction of the test candidate. Obviously the Examiner is an expert driver and knows exactly what 'mistakes' are being made and how the would be instructor should be correcting them. Instructors are assessed on their ability to identify, analyse and remedy any faults, as well as their instructional characteristics and techniques. As with Part Two only three attempts at this test allowed within the two year period or wait until the end of the two year period before starting again with Part One.

A trainee driving instructor may be granted a temporary Trainee Licence to teach once they have passed the Part Two test and completed a minimum amount of training. Trainee instructors must display a red triangular badge in the windscreen of their car whilst teaching.

Many large driving schools use trainee driving instructors. Unfortunately many are unable to pass the exams in three attempts and are forced to give up driving instruction. requires that all driving instructors registered with us are fully qualified driving instructors registered with the Driving Standards Agency.

Not all driving instructors are the same. But any qualified instructor should be able to put you at your ease and make your driving lessons enjoyable.