We believe that it should be the paying customer who decides how often they practice their driving. So we dislike the notion of fixed-time intensive courses just as much as the pay as you go driving instructor who dictates to their pupil when they next get a driving lesson.
It is an important distinction because the DVSA driving standard clearly states:
“It is about maximising learning by taking into account the status, prior experience and particular needs of the learner”.
When a driving instructor tells a pupil when they are allowed to have another lesson and how long it can be, they ignore the learner’s needs by placing more importance on the needs of their business. And by doing so, they can limit the learning potential of the pupil.
There are many reasons pupils may not appreciate hearing when they are allowed to practice. Certain times or days of the week may be unsuitable for religious reasons. Certain times may be inappropriate as the pupil’s schedule is such that they would be physically and/or mentally tired. Being told how long a driving lesson has to be does nothing for respecting the schedule for other events in the pupil’s life. It also ignores that some pupils know that they benefit most, from a learning perspective, with a certain duration personal to them. By limiting the duration, the instructor is also limiting how far a pupil can travel in a session, so the running of their business potentially limits pupils’ progress.
This is why at BIG TOM, we carefully design a programme and the schedule prior to reserving one of our courses. This is important because we tailor the learning programme to maximise learning for the pupil. So you now start to see how we are revolutionising driving training. BIG TOM customers may choose to spread their intensive course over 4 days, 4 weeks, or 4 months. It is not our place to tell the customer when they are ‘allowed’ to train.
We understand that many driving instructors will not appreciate this way of working because they feel like they are losing control of organising their diary. At BIG TOM, we do all that diary scheduling on behalf of our instructors after giving us direction of when they are available (and we strictly stick to those directions). Customers reserve programmes weeks in advance, so our instructors have clear, advanced notice of their schedule. But we happily admit that by doing so, we commit our time to the customer, and that commitment is contractual. So, if you happen to be a driving instructor who habitually likes to cancel driving lessons last minute, then this franchise is not for you.