We all know where we should go if we need to learn to driver – but who trains the driving instructors? And how can you be confident that a driving instructor is competent? Instructors undergo a lot of training before they can teach and also need to keep their registration up-to-date through attending a regular ADI Standards Check Course.
An Approved Driving Instructor – or ADI – must be over 21 and have held their license for over three years. Before starting their training, they will also have completed a DBS check.
Instructing the instructors
There are three tests that need to be passed before someone can become an ADI. So it is important that they are taught by a good trainer. The DVSA holds a register of all approved driving instructor training course providers – sometimes known as ORDIT. If an ADI training provider is listed then the provider has passed regular inspections to ensure that they are maintaining the correct standards of instruction.
The ADI Theory Test (Part 1)
Before a person can start teaching they need to pass the ADI Theory Test. This is similar in nature to the initial driving theory test and includes both multiple choice and hazard perception sections. An ORDIT approved test center will be able to provide mock questions to prepare the candidate fully.
The ADI Driving Test (Part 2)
In order to teach people to drive it is important that driving instructors can drive themselves. Again, this is similar to the driving test and is designed to ensure that the candidate can drive safely and confidently before they are allowed to offer instruction.
Once Parts 1 and 2 have been passed the candidate can apply for a trainee instructor license. The prospective instructor will need to have attended 40 hours of teacher training, at least 10 of which were in car, before they can apply for a license. An ORDIT approved training facility will be able to advise on which type of license – supervised teaching or extra lessons – is most appropriate. The trainee license is valid for 6 months and the final part of the ADI qualification must be booked within 3 months of getting the license.
The Instructional Ability Test (Part 3)
The final stage of becoming an ADI is passing the instructional ability test. The driver instructor examiner will watch as the candidate gives a lesson to their client. There are 17 areas in which the candidate needs to be assessed and the final score is determined by their competency in each area.
Once a driving instructor is fully qualified they may give driving instruction provided they remain registered as an ADI. In order to do so they will be invited for regular re-testing every four years. ORDIT approved facilities offer courses which will refresh and build upon the skills that the driving instructor has, ensuring that they remain up-to-date with the latest legislation and teaching methodologies.
A typical course will cover both in-car and observational training and will prepare the candidate for the Standards Check through understanding form SC1 and by discussing what the examiner will be looking for. Different instructors will have different requirements depending on the experience the have accrued and their own personalities so often 1-2-1 training is more cost-effective, allowing the instructor to schedule their own training around their teaching and to focus upon the areas they feel weak in. Proper preparation for the standards check could mean the difference between being graded “A” or “B”, or even whether or not the candidate passes!