- How much are your lessons?
Please telephone or join our mailing list and we'll give you details of current prices and offers. Prices depend on individual circumstances as well as your chosen course, and are subject to change.
- How many hours will I need?
DSA figures say that statistically, pupils that pass first time have arrived to test having had, on average, 40 hours tuition with a driving instructor, with additional private practise. Though these figures are average and as such, a true estimate can only be reached through a driving assessment. It will depend how well you assimilate new information and skills, as well as whether you have existing road experience.
- How long a lesson should I aim to book?
Statistics show that two hours gave, on average, the best results in pupil progress, though what suits you will be as much to do with your attention span, as it will be about cost!
I'd recommend that the assessment session is two hours, as it will help me to assess how you learn, and help me to be more accurate with my estimate of the hours required to train you.
With two hours we are able to introduce more, but you also have longer to practise, understand and remember.
With two one hour sessions you will have to adjust the car (cockpit drill) twice, have two briefs at the beginning and two debriefs at the end, giving less time to learn!
If you just can't concentrate for two hours, or can't quite afford it, one and a half hours is a fair compromise between the two.
- Are you police checked?
I am enhanced CRB checked (Criminal Records Bureau), for your piece of mind.
- Why aren't your lessons the cheapest?
Cheap lessons and amazing deals tend to be the mark of illegal, unqualified instructors, PDI trainees and lower grade ADI's, who keep their prices the lowest in the market to attract business through their prices alone, rather than relying solely on experience and reputation.
I invest alot of time and money in maintaining my grade through Continuing Professional Development (CPD), as a result my reputation is exemplary. As well as the time spent teaching, I spend additional time working at home, on designing and creating materials for your benefit, booking and rearranging lessons, sourcing latest statistics, facts and figures, researching latest methods and developments within the industry as well as routine maintenance on the car. It would be commercial suicide to not try to recoup my investment by not being the cheapest. By choosing 1st Young Driver Training, you are purchasing the best!
Everyone loves a bargain! (until it costs them, at best, extra £££'s or at worst, their life).
Instead of cost per hour, think in terms of the total spend and quality;
Gerald Ratner, famous jeweller, once said of a pair of earrings in one of his London shops:
"A Marks and Spencer prawn sandwich will last longer". His jewellery outlets went bust!
- What should I look for in a driving instructor?
Try and stick to qualified (ADI) instructors. Larger driving schools BSM, The AA, Sally's, Red, New Driver, Drivers UK, to name but a few, are just as likely to send you a trainee and charge the same rate for, often, poor tuition. Costing you more in the long run.
Smaller, well established, independent driving schools are a good bet. They've invested a lot in going it alone, and if they've been around for more than a few years, it shows their confidence in themselves is justified. Always ask lots of questions!
Are they members of industry bodies; I.A.M, D.I.A, ROSPA, M.S.A, A.I.R.S.O, FSB etc? these give a hint at professional pride (and gives you someone else to complain to, should things go wrong)!
Try to ask around friends to recommend people who have given them good service. Failing that, do your research; ring around, or surf the net. Don't be afraid to ask lots of relevant questions!
Ask the ADI's grade; the variation of style, content and accuracy is frightening! Grades are explained in the 'SO WHICH GRADE ARE YOU'? FAQ below.
Is the car able to fit you? Important for drivers at the upper and lower height ranges!
- Are there any instructor 'scams' I need to be aware of?
The worst that could happen is that you are approached by an illegal, unqualified instructor; please check this site (Choosing a Driving Instructor page) and look at the licence badges that legal instructors have to display in the windscreen by law. If unsure, walk away; their advice may be dangerous.
Even amongst qualified instructors there are some unscrupulous people who will charge very slightly less to encourage you to book with them, but will not tell you how they can afford to be cheaper; reasons can be as follows:
- The 'lesson' you booked is only 45 minutes, instead of the hour the others priced for you. Mine are a full hour, and pupils regularly receive more, now and then, free!
- The lesson is 'group' or 'tandem' not one to one, there are others in the car and you take it in turns to drive.
- The first ten hours for ££'s deal had hidden proviso's, which you've not surprisingly, since you were unaware of them, failed to meet and are not now entitled to!
- The lesson is a 'Piggy Back', where the first part of your lesson is to drive the previous pupil home, you will finish at the next pupils house/college/work, and they drive you home.
- The lesson is a 'Cut Down', where the instructor drops you off early enough to make it to the next pupil before your session ends; thereby getting paid travelling expenses, at your expense!
- The instructor gives you a low estimate of hours required to pass your test, only to seriously exceed that figure. costing you more than a quality instructor with higher prices! There needs to be flexibility in the figures, but they shouldn't be too far out!
I neither condone nor undertake any of the above practises. Anyone who does, should have told you that this would be the case prior to booking, if they haven't, complain to the DSA, who'll look at the case for you.
- What's an ADI?
Approved Driving Instructor; registered and regulated by the governing body; the DSA, and fully qualified to teach you, having passed all three exams.
- What's a PDI?
Potential Driving Instructor; registered and 'regulated' by govening body, the DSA, not qualified, but training to be able to teach you better (you're their guinea pig), so they can attempt to pass the third exam (ability to teach).
- What does DSA stand for?
Driving Standards Agency; the governing body of Driving Instructors.
- I'm really nervous; are you patient?!
See my testimonials page for proof, but I can assure you that I'm patient and will not shout at you!
Years ago, while working for BSM, our only female instructor had left a while since, and there was a queue of women waiting for the next female to arrive before starting lessons, because of a varying range of 'issues'. The manageress pursuaded two of these timid women to 'try a lesson with a gentle instructor called Keith' and see if they got on ok. They both stayed with me, both passing first time, with one, Fiona (whose son had Cerebral Palsy), saying "I really enjoyed that. I'm glad I didn't wait for the woman"!
- How does the insructor's grade work?
Fully qualified instructors (ADI's) are 'Check Tested' (a senior examiner sits in the back while the instructor conducts an hour lesson, then gives a report and grade). Please ask to see the report for proof of grade, as unscrupulous instructors will 'increase' their grade if they feel that it will sway your decision in choosing them.
My report is available, in the car, to be viewed at any time, just ask!
Grade 4 is judged satisfactory, Grade 5 is judged good, and Grade 6 is judged excellent.
Trainees have no grade, as they are still learning to teach.
- So which grade are you?
I've been a grade 6 for many years.
- What areas do you cover?
Taunton, Wellington, Bridgwater, outlying villages and areas between i.e. Milverton, Wiveliscombe, North Petherton, to name a few. If you're unsure please ask!
- Is your car petrol or diesel?
The Mini Cooper's petrol. I passionately believe that it gives you the best training experience; a diesel is less likely to stall, requiring little or no gas to get moving. People who learn in a diesel go on to have a hard time driving a petrol, stalling because they aren't used to pressing the gas. However, put a petrol car driver in a diesel and there's no issue... Magic!