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Discussion Starter #1
Currently trying to get my wife through her driving test and having an absolute nightmare. She's got a full bike license from ages ago, and so doesn't need to do the theory. Simply needs to get used to handling a car and get through her practical test. Booked her a bunch of lessons with the AA, as I had a good experience with them (albeit about 10 years ago) and they gave a discount since we're have their breakdown cover.

Problem is, she's been through two of their instructor; the first was terrible, filthy car, stank of ****, persistently 30-45 minutes late, if at all turning up and generally an unpleasant chap to sit next to. Second was a little better, but has a complete lack of urgency (she's had 8-10 hours of tuition and yet to use reverse!), always cancelling. Offering free lessons in exchange, but it now turns out he had been deducting them from the block we booked and even deducting for lessons my wife never took!
Not happy at all. Really tempted to just cancel AA cover as well and just giving the whole brand the middle finger. :mad:

So any recommendations for decent driving instructors in the East London/Essex area? Any good/bad experience with the other big driving names, BSM etc? Anyone gone through those week long intensive driving courses? Though they maybe a bit awkward due to two small kids needing baby sitting - one being a 5 month baby...
 

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Its usually better to go with smaller driving instructors; where their only mode of income is teaching people to drive. It usually means that they are more inclined to give a much better service than the big names that can do without driving lessons. Good luck!
 

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I’m not going to make any comments about schools but you might like to ask what grade the instructor has.

It should be at least 4 but you might like to find one that has a grade 6 rating as the higher the grade the better the instructor should be (in theory).

If he is a fully qualified ADI he should have a green badge displayed on the car or a pink badge if he is a PDI

I would certainly write to a school about any instructor who you feel falls below a certain standard and technically they should not smoke in their car as it is their place of work.



Its usually better to go with smaller driving instructors; where their only mode of income is teaching people to drive. It usually means that they are more inclined to give a much better service than the big names that can do without driving lessons. Good luck!

Whilst there is some truth in that the instructors that work for schools such as AA, BSM etc have to pay franchise fees and very often need to work harder than a small school just to pay their fees.

My advice would be to look at their cars, are they clean? fairly new? Base models or something a bit better? Does the instructor turn up in t.shirt and jeans or shirt and tie etc
 

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Speaking of instructors, i just spoke to my instructor there today for the first time since passing 2 years ago, shes a lovely lady, made me feel so comfortable during lessons, we were always laughing, i think if you can have banter with your instructor, thats half the battle (Y):D
 

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I failed numerous tests with an independant instructor, it got to the stage where i would get in the car and just drive where he told me too. I was getting no help or advice from him.

Switched to BSM and had a few lessons with them, doing mock tests and driving actual routes. I passed my next test.

If its not working then definately swap.
 

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My instuctor was brilliant (Y) Had a Mini Cooper S GP200 , she turned up always in jeans and a nice T-shirt :D:D :lol: very friendly and always told me if its 20mph, do 20mph, if its 30 do 30, not 25.(Y) She never once shouted or raised her voice, and was always very clean with a nice smell of perfume in the car (Y)(Y)

Took 8 lessons and sat my test passing 1st time with no minors. She gets a bonus if anyone she has taught passes without any minors. I never knew that before.

Unfortunately shes in Aberdeen. But it does show that smaller private firms are sometimes better (Y) She was a bus driver before, and then turned to teaching to drive. (Y)

James

:)
 

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I learnt with the AA, nice chap called Steve. I learnt in one of their Ford Focus cars, and thought it was a brilliant car to drive and learn in. I had no problems with him.. It's all down to the instructor. My Dad on the other hand... he was insistent on trying to teach me in spare time so I could save paying for a few lessons. Let's just say that 20 minutes into the first "lesson" with him, I wanted to hit him. :look:

As he's in South East London, I'd have recommended him, but he's since quit driving tuition and become a prison guard :(
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yep its definitely all down to the instructor. Just not 100% sure where to go with this current one, as far as the AA is concerned my wife has a balance of zero hours, but unofficially she's owed 5.5 hours ish. Which is also the problem, its been really hard to track exactly what she's taken and what she's owed. So many lessons were cancelled and substituted with short free lessons and he keeps mentioning a different number of owed lessons every time you speak to him. :-\

Would swap instructors (again), but don't want to end up out of pocket.

Will check out the BSM though, seen loads of their cars local.
 

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I did a weeks intense with a self employed instructor. Worked out cheaper and I found it really beneficial. Only did 20 hours with her, passed first time. Cost about 340 quid, which included theory and practical test costs too. (Y)

To be honest the girl wasn't that great at teaching. She didn't seem to actually know much about cars. She thought the handbrake locks up the front wheels, and tried to convince me I was wrong when I tried to tell her otherwise. :lol:

I could already drive ok though before I used her as spent a lot of time in my own car with my dad, with the old L plates on.

In my opinion, this was the best way to do it. I got confident at being able to drive a car first, then used the instructor to learn the official rules of it all. It meant I didn't waste the 20 hours with the instructor because I was too worried about being nervous and stuff. It really all paid off. :)

Good luck to your wife though! Hope it all goes ok. (Y)
 

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Well, my wife had a right old rant at the AA, they had the instructor on the line at same time and put him on the spot as to why he had claimed for lessons when my wife wasn't even in the county! Still in the process of claiming the owed hours back and being reallocated (yet another) instructor. Hopefully third time lucky.

Have been looking into intensive courses, however I don't think its going to work at the moment due to little 'un, simply ain't going to be able to spend long lengths of time away until he's at least onto solid food. She had a recommendation of an independent (female) instructor, who has passed a few of her friends (3 or 4 first time), so we will still have no joy with the AA, we'll try her.

My wife has the opposite problem to yourself, she's not used to driving a car, but has full bike license, so has no need of theory test, is up on highway code/rules etc. and is confident in traffic. Its just the handling of the car and manoeuvres she needs to sort out.
 

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Have you put/tried putting her on your insurance?

Rather than spend a few hundred pounds getting her lessons might be easier (maybe even cheaper) if you just let her drive yours? :)
 

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Passed mine in 1997 with a great independent guy up here, Fiesta SI if I remember rightly, suppose its just your luck and if you dont get on with the person and they dont with you then you are the customer at the end of the day and can vote with your feet.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Checked on adding her to my insurance - £170! and that's just for the remaining 3 months before next renewal.
The problem is, I got the car in Jan, having not owned one in about 6 years (living in London), so I've no no-claims. :( Figured me trying to teach her is just a recipe for arguments, especially with two kids in back, so would rather put the cash towards some decent tuition.
 

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It all comes down to the instructor, fella. I had 2, the first being a 'dinosaur' (as my second put it) He was fairly old, and just made me feel nervous..I never liked learning:( When i started with the second, he was a laugh. Fairly young bloke, we had a shared interest in bikes, and he made me feel comfortable. Always stopped for a *** after first half, had a chat, and he would then explain the plan for second half. Never raised his voice, and always gave me praise:D and admitted on the way back from my first test (pass) that he never once had to use the spare pedals, he used to sit cross legged as he trusted me(Y) It al comes down to enjoying it. If you enjoy the time, your more likely to take it in, But if they make you feel nervous and 'snap' when you forget or do something wrong, you will be petrified.
 
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