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Driving agency 'keen to engage' with parents over children's lessons

Published 22/10/2015

Parents are being urged to better understand how the driving test process is changing
Parents are being urged to better understand how the driving test process is changing

Parents are being urged to sit in on their children's driving lessons to stop themselves from undoing the work of professional instructors.

Learners could be hampered if their parents take them out for private practice without understanding how the testing process is changing, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) warned.

Instructors are now being urged to give learners more autonomy over what skills they want to develop in a lesson, while new driving tests are being trialled which involve the use of sat navs and manoeuvres that are more relevant to real-life driving.

Mark Magee, head of policy and registrar at the DVSA, said the combination of professional tuition and private practice was the most beneficial in terms of passing the test.

But he noted: "W e need to get across the message that leaning to drive is changing.

"It's not about vehicle control, it's wider aspects.

"Parents also need to understand what we're trying to encourage ADIs (approved driving instructors) to do, so that they work with them and not against them and actually undo some of the work that's being done."

Speaking at a road safety event hosted by the Transport Research Laboratory, Mr Magee explained that plans to stimulate "better engagement" with parents were at an early stage but the agency was "quite keen to do a lot more".

He said a handful of schemes had been launched around the UK to promote the concept, but revealed that some parents were reluctant to get involved.

"We're particularly keen (but) there are some local schemes where, if I speak to ADIs quite often, they will say 'I encourage parents to come and sit in on a lesson and they never want to'," he said.

Mr Magee added that sitting in on lessons would also enable parents to find out about the quality of the tuition their children were receiving.

"We want to help the parents of the leaner to appreciate that training can be good, bad and indifferent," he said.

"We want to help them to identify who are the better instructors and therefore (their children) will get the best training.

"It may be they need to understand that they may pay slightly more for that, but in the longer run we think there's a financial and safety benefit in doing that."

Qualified driving instructor Richard Gladman, who is standards compliance manager for the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: "We agree with the idea of encouraging parents to be aware of the sort of training their offspring are getting from an ADI.

"If it's their intention to supplement the training with independent practice, it will be much more beneficial if this takes the same form as the professional input.

" A good ADI will encourage parental involvement so everything the student learns carries over seamlessly from instructor to them."

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