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So this article was written, 1) because I was invited into a Standards Check Group (which I don’t mind but got me thinking that there are lots of ADIs out there preparing for the standards check and worried about it and how the SC is the same as the Part 3) , 2) Because I’ve always believed that the instructor has a large part to play in how someone performs on an L test (whereas some feel bizarrely it’s nothing to do with the instructor!), and a recent comment I read on FB was did this apply to PDI Trainer as well. (Well in my opinion it does), and finally because of rescue training I’ve been contacted for recently.

The Part 2

If we look back ten years at the Part 2 Pass rate in 2010 the rate was 51%.

The number of people taking the test gradually went down from over 5000 to 2659 in 2015-16 while the pass rate went up to 56.9%.

One possible reason for this may be that due to the 2008 financial crisis, a lot of people suddenly found themselves looking for a job and decided that teaching people to drive must be easy. Those numbers fell away over the years and left more people that were specifically committed to becoming a driving instructor. (rather than just because it was a job option that presented itself.

The numbers of passes for the following year started to increase until 2016-17 when it dipped slightly from the previous year to 54.7%. Interestingly this was when the Part 2 test changed to the new format. A potentially easier format given that less manoeuvres are now tested, and I also suspect the slight dip may have been due to an unfamilaritiy by many trainers in what was expected of the new manoeuvres.

Now the majority of people (stats don’t exist for this, but I didn’t and I do occasionally hear of other people that say they didn’t either) take instruction for the test. So why is the pass rate so low? It’s only slightly better than learners, and bearing in mind you are starting with experienced drivers, not from scratch and they’re being taught by ADI trainers!

Now the Part 2 isn’t a difficult test. I remember once years ago having a coffee with a couple of ADIs and saying “you could train a monkey to pass the Part 2″and then one of them announcing they’d failed first time. When people come directly to me for Part 2 training my first time pass rate is 100%. It always has been. My overall pass rate overall is 100% but I’ve had a handful of people go to second tests because those people have come to me via external providers.

You see when you train people from external providers they are usually allocated a specific amount of in car training as part of the franchise or package they’ve purchased, usually around 8 hours. But it’s usually 2:1 and giving them around 4 hours at the wheel. And for most people that simply isn’t enough practical experience to guarantee a pass first time. Many come after study and research on the internet worrying about eradicate habits such as going neutral and then handbrake or doing a six point check every time when the examiner couldn’t care less, and that’s actually the least of their worries when it comes to meeting the standard, and if you’ve just paid out a lot of money for a training course, most people are just going to go for it rather than pay for another couple of sessions training. So you do you best to tell them what the issues are, and how to practice and do your best to sort them, they go to test fail on the issues you’ve identified and come back to you after all for additional training and then pass. Rinse and repeat.

So what is the reason? Read on to the Part 3 section to find my thoughts.

Part 3

Now the Part 3 Pass rates:

2018-19 37.1%
2017-18 36.1%
2016-17 35.8% (Test format changed 2017)

(The previous years back to 2010 gradually increased from 30.4% to 34.4% which were the old role play system)

Now I am willing to bet that 99% of people take training for the Part 3 and a much larger majority since the change go on a pink badge so they’ve had 60 hours of training with an instructor. And yet the pass rate isn’t under 50%, its under 40%!

Would you have an operation with a surgeon who had a 37% success rate? If your boiler blew up would you accept a plumber that turned up with a 40% change of fixing it?

Now again my part 3 pass rate is 100% – I’ve had off the top of my head I think only three go to a second attempt similar to the part 2 and again from an external provider. When dealing with external providers you often provide the 40 hours and then a minority will go off elsewhere for the 20 hours and you never find out what happens until they are on the third attempt and suddenly contact you and you have to rescue the situation and get them them through.

You see I have a specific method in that I teach people how to teach and how to adapt. It’s a method that covers  the competencies quite well, and its a method that works. It works because I was trainer in all sorts of disciplines before becoming an ADI and so I know how to teach, I know how learners react and I know how to teach people to teach them.  Trainers from some of the larger schools have no teaching background prior to becoming ADIs. This means they are reliant on training (if at all) on how to deliver “set pieces”  or how to “Teach driving” or “teach driving subjects” , and  certainly in my case I teach people how to teach! I’m not interested in the old fashioned set pieces.

I’ve always had the view that teaching is separate from the subject. You need to know your subject inside and out, but you also need to know how to teach. Once you know how to teach you can teach any subject you are well versed in. Too many of the larger schools forgo all this, and focus solely on “teaching PDIs” or “Teaching learners” often based on their experiences around the old PSTs!

Then to make it worse they sit in the back observing a PDI giving a lesson saying nothing, and then giving  retrospective instruction by way of a marking or debrief at the end!

I like to get in there.

When I’m teaching a PDI I don’t sit in the back an debrief at the end. I like to get involved. When the PDI has missed something I’ll start the conversation or prompt them for the conversation on the points they’ve missed. “hen they are struggling I’ll swap around and hop in the instructors seat for a bit to demonstrate in real life to the PDI with the pupil they are teaching, how to overcome the issue the pupil is facing. You wouldn’t teach someone to drive by sitting in the passenger seat and saying nothing until the end and then marking them on the DL25 but it’s amazing how many “Trainers” from some of the larger schools do this when observing PDIs giving lessons. And that’s because I believe the proof of the pudding is in the eating. It would be incredibly easy for me to say “you should have said or done xyz there” and the PDI agreeing but thinking to themselves “That’s a load of rubbish that would never have worked“, but being active in the training proves to the PDI it works as well.

Now you might be reading this and think that ORDIT is the answer. The current ORDIT is a good start, however remember the register also includes people who qualified under the previous ORDIT regime and includes no assessment of the ADIs own driving standard. (A point I’ll discuss in more detail at the end). A regime that was deemed ineffective to start with!

I’m also not calling for mandatory ORDIT either, firstly because we’re yet to see how effective it is (perhaps that’s the subject of a FOI request at some point), secondly because it would effect such a small number of people as to be not worth it.

The Joe Blow’s wouldn’t bother because they’d know they wouldn’t qualify and some of the more experienced trainers who are good would also think it wasn’t worth the hassle.

The real issue is there is no “Train the Trainer” qualification.

Many of the people in the ADI industry had no previous experience in teaching. Yes you can go and get your NVQ (Not Very Qualified) in various things, but fundamentally the original part 3 qualification did not teach you how to teach. It taught you how to deliver 30 minute set lesson plans on around 7 subjects. Then not knowing how teach, many ADIs stayed with the franchise long enough to be “promoted” to PDI Trainer.

In my time I’ve come across trainers asking me for examples to demonstrate the competencies because they’ve quite literally never heard of the ADI 1 !. Joe Blow passes his SC at Grade B/36, puts his name down for a one day workshop and next month he’s out teaching PDIs as the latest trainer for XYZ Driving School.

This is why the pass rate is so low, because the majority of candidates are coming through some of the larger national driving schools who have poor trainers, concentrate on teaching subjects not skills, and have limited understanding of the competencies, or more importantly how to adapt to the pupil. Why should an ADI who hasn’t achieved high marks themselves be able to get a novice through? It’s the same argument with regard to the driving standard.

And the Part 2? – Most trainers cannot teach people to be better than themselves. The majority of Part 2 candidates I suspect come from the larger schools and again the ADIs training them probably have no experience beyond teaching learners, and what they remember from their own Part 2 so its no wonder the pass rate is so low. The DVSA should promote (but not mandate) a Cardington “Special” test to be taken locally as the minimum standard for Part 2 trainers, (Perhaps grandfather in those with a RoSPA GOLD, Diploma, or Diamond Elite. This would increase at a stroke the standard of training for Part 2 trainers. Would you rather be taught be someone that struggled through a part 2 on the 2nd attempt ten years ago or someone who has been regularly retested every 3 years for a higher standard of test?

The ORDIT register is not a magic bullet to resolve issues in ADI training. The DVSA should be accrediting training organisations to train people to be on the ORDIT register and using the Special Test or equivalent as a driving test for the minimum standard. Then we might start to see an increase in the pass rate.

If you are looking to qualify my advice is to seek out a well qualified independent ADI who is either  Grade A has qualified under the new (not old) ORDIT regime.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts on your own PDI training and SC training.

*The numbers referred to in this post cover individual tests because that’s how the data is presented.
It doesn’t show the result overall, for this I mean in 2017 6907 people were tested for a part 2 but only 3752 passed. The 3,155 could have all have gone on and passed Part 2 the next year or not bothered again, or within those 3,155 there could be lots people that have had three tests and failed three tests. You can get a rough idea buy rolling over the percentages and numbers year on year but that’s besides the point for now)