John Billingham - Hello Driver Training, a manual driving school in Stevenage
For most of my working life I have lived and worked in Stevenage and spent most of the time driving. In 2002 I decided to train as a driving instructor and quickly developed a desire to help people not only learn to drive but be safe, confident drivers. I started working for Hertfordshire County Council, which referred drivers who had issues with their driving to me. The training and skills I developed doing this has been invaluable in all the aspects of driver training and development, especially for the learner driver. I set up Hello Driver Training as a driving school in Stevenage that focuses on helping our pupils to not only pass their driving test but become safe, confident drivers.
Why should you let me teach you to drive?
I am a qualified and approved driving instructor (ADI) and am registered with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). I am also a Diamond Accredited taxi driver trainer and NVQ A1Assessor Level 3 for Passengers and Transport.
I regularly attend relevant driver training courses which has enabled me to develop a client centred training programme that suits the learning style of each pupil. Client Centred Learning (CCL) has transformed the rate at which our pupils learn to drive. Pupils learn in different ways and at different speeds so I always take into account how a pupil prefers to learn.
This ensures that pupils are more likely to retain key information and skills. Pupils are also more likely to want to keep learning if they are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning at an early stage.
When a pupil starts their driving lessons with me, I allow them to choose what they want to learn. If they ask to do something beyond their ability, we can discuss it and then consider the options available.
This method is very positive for the pupil and in most cases the topic they want to learn is within their ability. This helps them to become a confident driver.
Hello Driver's candidates pass rate is 52% above the local test centre average.
At the end of every lesson the pupil completes a self-assessment of their progress on an iPad which is then emailed to them. They can also show this to their parents or guardians. I let the parents know they can speak to me at any time.
Teaching pupils to be safe drivers
We do more than simply teach a pupil to pass their driver test. We teach our pupils to be safe and responsible drivers. For example, pupils will spend at least an hour safely performing an emergency stop. The information that is imparted to them creates a lot of reflective thoughts for them to consider. Pupils that have a smart watch can check their heart rate. We have had some interesting results!!
Independent driving – the Luton challenge
In 2004 I designed a two-hour independent drive that pupils call ‘the Luton challenge’. This involves the pupil planning their route from home to Luton Airport. The next part is unplanned and they have to read direction signs that I ask them to follow with no advanced planning. We then go into normal lesson mode and I show them some unusual junctions. These are challenging and great fun. Then we go back into independent driving to find our way back home. This is one of the most talked about lessons between pupils and is mentioned loads of times in our testimonials. As far as I know, we are the only driving school in Stevenage that offers this service.
After the pupil has passed their test
I offer motorway training on the A1M between Baldock and South Mimms and M25 if we have time. I also offer Pass Plus.
Pass Plus is a practical training course that takes at least 6 hours and is for drivers to improve their skills and drive more safely. It consists of six practical modules which cover driving in town, in all weathers, on rural roads, at night, on dual carriageways. The course is recognised by some insurance companies and can reduce car insurance premiums.
If you'd like to know more please call me for a chat on 01438 233079
John Billingham, Hello Driver Training - the Stevenage Driving School with a high pupil satisfaction
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