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What you told us in the ‘Working as a driving instructor’ survey

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Driving instructors, Driving test, Ready to Pass?

Today we’ve published the results of our ‘Working as a driving instructor’ survey. This was previously known as the ADI Demand survey.

Thank you for taking the time out to respond to our survey. We received over 3,250 responses and we’ll be using your responses to this survey and the previous results findings to inform our future decisions, what to focus on, and when to do it. 

You can find the full the results on GOV.UK.

In this blog, I want to go into further detail about why we introduced new questions in to the survey and share the main findings with you.

I’ll also explain how we plan to use your feedback and update you on how we’re using this to help develop the updated terms and conditions for using the Online Business Service (OBS).

New survey questions

Since introducing the survey in July 2021, we included the same questions to help us to measure the impact our actions are having over time.

This time around we added some new questions to help us understand more about:

  • how the move to electric vehicles is changing your business
  • how you are managing pupils who may be pausing training while waiting for their test appointment
  • how you are using our services to swap driving tests

The main findings

Your responses provided us with extremely helpful information and revealed that:

  • 89.6% of you said that high driving tests waiting times are leading to your pupils taking a break in lessons
  • 25% of you provide lessons in a car with automatic or semi-automatic transmission (this includes hybrid vehicles)
  • 3.2% of you currently use electric vehicles and 37.3% of you plan to change the vehicle type for which you offer lessons in the next 5 years
  • Half (50.6%) of you swap between 1 to 5 test bookings every month
  • Most (51.2%) of you think it would be effective to set a test swap limit for each organisation based on the monthly average of driving tests they book to stop abuse of the service

NASP's view on the survey

The driving instructors’ National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) chair, Peter Harvey, said: 

"NASP is pleased to see DVSA engaging with the ADI community via surveys such as this, and seeking to understand the challenges trainers are currently facing. Gathering such feedback is important in deepening all our understanding of the issues trainers face, and of the environment they are operating in. But it's particularly crucial DVSA have this insight, given so much of what the agency does impacts trainers and their pupils.

NASP will continue to work closely with DVSA to use feedback such as this, and that which we feed in from our members on a regular basis, to improve the services on which our member trainers rely. "

Electric and hybrid vehicles

We live in a technological age, and the rise in electric and hybrid vehicles will impact the future of the profession. Research shows that 62.4% of new cars sold in 2021 were automatic which is up 24% from 2011. This trend has had a direct impact on the driving test as our data shows that over the last decade candidates taking their test in an automatic vehicle has trebled over the last 10 years.

As over a third of you plan to change your vehicle type in the next 5 years we want to understand this in more detail to see what other ways we can support you and your pupils with this transition. We’ll be looking to carry out further research into this, and we’ll update you when we can.

Helping you to manage your waiting lists

As ADI Registrar, I speak to many of you regularly and listen to your concerns about how difficult recent times have been. Most of you (65.1%) currently have a waiting list to take on new pupils, with 68% of you having up to 10 pupils waiting for lessons. We know that this also means potentially having to miss out on new pupils.

As part of the Ready to Pass?’ campaign, we will encourage your pupils to not take a break in lessons while waiting for their tests. To help us to do this, we’ll explain the benefits of regular on-road practice and the combination of professional lessons and private practice. We have also created 'supervise a learner driver guidance' for parents and guardians of learner drivers to assist this.

As part of this, we’ll explain to pupils that they will need to consistently achieve level 5 (reflection) in each area that they are learning in. This means they can adapt to situations and see why perfecting the skill makes them safer and more fuel-efficient.

We want to prepare more learners to drive safely for life, pass their tests, and help to clear your waiting lists so that you can start supporting new learners.

Online Business Service terms and conditions update

For the first time, we asked you about swapping driving tests because we wanted to find out more about the reasons why you swap tests, and how regularly you do it.

The reason for doing this is because we have seen an increase in organisations using the ‘book and manage driving your pupils driving test’ service. This has resulted in increased traffic to our Customer Service Centre (CSC) and an increase in learners failing to attend their test.

As mentioned before, we are planning to update our terms and conditions for those of you who use OBS. The information you have provided in this survey has been extremely useful in helping us shape our planned changes, and we hope the updates will allow more users to book earlier tests.

We plan to share our updated terms and conditions with you in the next few weeks.  We recommend that those of you who use the  regularly to keep an eye out for this.

We’re also exploring the possibility of introducing a function which would allow users to search for 2 booking reference numbers when swapping tests. This functionality would be available for both business users and ADIs.

Read the fullWorking as a driving instructor’ (October 2022)' survey

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  1. Comment by Lea bird posted on

    Again a long drawn out solution that will have little to know impact,makes me wonder how much store we really can put in this organisation,
    Hardly any instructors I come into contact with back up these so called statistics,
    Simple answer to these problems,make all students have a minimum of lessons 40-45 regardless of ability,has to be sighed off by instructor,even if student is ready they will just be more confident and will add up to higher pass rate and safer driving,your solution’s fall a long way from being helpful and it seems that whoever is implementing them has little to know knowledge of the instructors needs,
    A waste of time.

  2. Comment by Graham Carroll posted on

    Given that it's understood now that the driving test is less about vehicle technicality, and predominantly about, attitude, behaviour, awareness observation, road sense etc.. Its time I feel to phase out the manual/auto seperate tests, creating less of a stigma for non petrol heads to pass in an auto, without having the pressure of a often considered, lesser licence.

  3. Comment by Bruce Scott posted on

    Booking a driving test before you're ready does nothing to help the learning process. It creates an unrealistic target if booked too soon or causes people to take a break if they're ready but have to wait to take a test. This over simplifies deeper problems but by reducing the diary to two weeks instead of 4 months would reduce the stress of teaching and learning to a target.

  4. Comment by DZ SoM posted on

    Since the lockdown restrictions ended tying to book a test for students has become virtually impossible.

    As a school we are having to book tests as far ahead as 6 months just so we have dates for student in 6 months time. Current students who are ready now or in very near future become despondent knowing they could be waiting for months before their driving test date.

    However if we missed the release times then we get no tests. The bots are literally sweeping them up.

    Even if we happen to be on the booking system as new test dates are being released they go instantly before you can click the date. There could be 14 available test flash up for a particular date but they will be no longer available as you click because the bots have grabbed them all.

    DVSA had promised to stop the bots but clearly the bot designers are finding ways around the new "measures" put in place.

    Maybe release dates to instructors on the booking system 1st seeing as we are in a better position to judge students suitability for dates then release them to the public.

    If the online booking service opened to the public from 8am-10pm daily but test dates were released at 6am then only instructors could book via the booking system and by 8am the general public and the bots are able to book.

    However still allow the general public to cancel their test between hours of 6am - 11:40pm.

    This would most definitely improve the pass rates.

    The amount of queries we receive for last minute lessons with test next day or 4 days time is staggering. Many of these people have paid in the region of £150 upwards for tests that they are ill prepared for.

    So many students are falling into this trap. They hear on the news that it could be over a year's waiting list for a test so find these companies who charge exorbitant prices for tests and despite having minimal driving experience they pay upto £155 for a test in 2 weeks time but can only afford 1 lesson a week.

    Minimising the amount of time on the business booking system does not help. It would definitely be more useful if instructors could have more flexibility .

  5. Comment by Carlos posted on

    Since the Lockdowns many instructors have become greedy and money orientated instead of Road Safety orientated!
    The main reason for pupils to be less ready for a test is mainly the fault of Some driving instructors that couldn't care less if the pupil is ready or not as their main interest is the ridiculous amount of money they are charging to take someone to a test. In Central London a pupil is charged anything from £150 to £200 + the use of the vehicle for 1 hour previous to test start.
    Together with that situation is the fact that the price per hour that instructors are charging which in most cases is £45 or more forcing pupils to cancel lessons due to lack of financial means to keep up the number of lessons required...
    Also, the fact that there is an option within the booking process that allows for the original test candidate to swap with the name of another candidate; many of those swaps are made not by the pupils but by driving instructors that are charging candidates around £200 for the "swap" !!! Stop the swaps and this "business" will stop thus creating more test dates availability. Just yesterday I started with a pupil that failed 4 times and, each time her instructor found an earlier test date at the cost of £200 - her driving standard is pitiful ... !
    If you ask DVSA Examiners they will tell you about candidates that were failed and how stressed they were because that test day had already cost them anything between £400 to £500 due to the "business" of test swapping!!!
    Myself, I refuse to help any candidate to find an earlier date with this kind of business which I'm strongly against. I refuse to take candidates to a test that contact me at short notice whilst other instructors are willing to do charging them enormous amounts of money regardless of driving standard!, thus most of these instructors taking their instructor badge off the windscreen...
    Has per a previous comment about introducing a minimum of training hours required and signed off by an instructor I truly believe it won't help as some instructors will sign them off, at a cost ...
    I decided to become a Driving Instructor to become one of the many that Care about Road Safety - I have many different qualifications in my CV and didn't need to become an instructor to provide the financial support that I require! After 15 years in the job I'm, somewhat, disappointed with the all situation.