Running a better driving school business
10th December 2023
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11th December 2023

Teaching methods

One aspect of driving training that BIG TOM has always avoided is the goal of teaching a pupil to pass the driving test rather than increase their driving skills for better ability.  

Some people in the industry criticise providers of intensive course training because they feel that the training standards are worse than when an instructor gives training on a pay-as-you-go basis. The fundamental reason for this conclusion is based on a false premise, and that is that the training programme has a fixed number of hours regardless of the needs of the pupil. While some intensive driving course providers only offer a training programme of a fixed number of hours, BIG TOM has never fallen into that category.  

The common concern goes along the lines that in order to get a beginner pupil to take a driving test at the end of a fixed programme e.g. 20 hours, there has to be some reduction in the scope and depth of training that is given. This might come in the limited experience of a range of different driving conditions, but it might also result in ‘coaching’ a pupil by practising only on driving test routes.  

Examples of this restricted training programme might include: 

Only teaching pupils how to do the parallel park that is conducted on the driving test i.e. parking behind one car rather than between two 

Not teaching pupils how to do the full range of possible manoeuvres that crop up in day-to-day driving, instead only covering the ones that might crop up in the driving test 

Limited experience gained due to the lower number of practice hours 

Not teaching a pupil how to merge on and off a dual-carriageway when there are not any entry/exit slip roads used by a certain driving test centre 

Failing to offer any experience of driving in different towns or cities 

Repeatedly practising on a test route so that the pupil knows the static hazards rather than being able to independently assess and deal with unknown static hazards 

Providing limited or perhaps even no experience of driving in the dark, in adverse weather, in busy ‘rush hour’ traffic 

The owner of the BIG TOM Franchise has provided driving training via pay-as-you-go driving lessons and intensive courses and in this video he describes how some training providers can concentrate on the know-how of passing a test versus developing increased ability with permanently used driving skills. 

There are many skills required of a driving instructor to develop competent, confident, efficient and safe drivers. There are less skills required to ‘coach’ a pupil to pass a driving test. The types of skills that are needed to be a BIG TOM approved instructor include: 

  • Recognising and managing pupils’ learning attitudes that threaten driving ability outcomes 
  • Creating safe and enjoyable learning environments with respectful working relationships
  • Identifying obstacles to learning and utilising techniques to maximise progress levels 
  • Transferring the responsibility of the learning outcomes to the pupil 
  • Providing clear, accurate communication of the pupil’s progress between the pupil and funders of the training 
  • Identifying the most appropriate training programme schedule to match the pupil’s learning preferences 
  • Developing self-evaluation skills to recognise strengths and weaknesses 
  • Utilising a variety of DVSA-approved training resources 
  • Accurate and evidenced assessment of driving ability 
  • Having teaching skills to enable learning for pupils with difficulties in communication, cognitive processing, sensory issues, social/emotional/mental health or disability 
  • Using a variety of techniques to adapt training to achieve learning goals 
  • Helping pupils improve their ability to root cause why certain driving situations or errors develop 
  • Being creative with how feedback is given to maximise learning for different pupils 
  • Assisting pupils to identify differing levels of safety-critical incidents 
  • Systematically tracking progress and maximising a range of unique driving modes e.g. town, country, dual-carriageway/motorway, manoeuvres 
  • Providing clear communication of training standards goals and different methods available to achieve the goals 
  • Effectively identifying and correcting incorrect/inadequate driving skills 
  • Provision of authentic and accurately graded mock tests 
  • Possessing good risk assessment skills for training purposes and developing these skills in pupils
  • Ability to manage the training programme accurately to reflect and address different pupils’ needs i.e. choice of location, frequency/duration of practice sessions, effective use of breaks, balance of feedback given pulled-over versus on-the-move 


Existing DVSA registered driving instructors will certainly possess a variety of these skills, to differing degrees due to their previous experience, and for those instructors who are newly qualified, there is sufficient induction training provided to meet your needs. The use of these skills is required as explained in the above video to maximise the efficiency of the training: part of the reason why customers choose BIG TOM for their driving training. There are additional benefits to the franchisee in terms of managing stress levels while giving training. But also, ensuring pupils are trained in the correct place for the current ability they have, will result in fewer collisions or near misses. 


To discover more about our teaching methods, call us on 01928 508 833