So you are looking for a Driving Instructor?

Obviously we recommend CB's for all your driving needs! But what should you look for when you are searching for Instructors?

You have decided you want to learn to drive, you have applied for your licence and now you are looking for someone to show you the ropes. What you are looking for is a DVSA-ADI (Driving & Vehicle Standards Agency - Approved Driving Instructor). These are the only people legally allowed to charge for driving lessons.
You should check that they have an ADI  licence displayed in their vehicle. This should be one of two types.
a) Green Badge - ADI. This is a fully qualified instructor. They have passed all the tests and are constantly assessed and monitored.
b) Pink Badge - PDI (Potential Driving Instructor). This is a Trainee instructor. They have been or are receiving their training and are yet to pass the qualifying test. It will look something like the badge shown here with Name and Photo on the rear. If you have any doubts about your instructor contact the DSA.

Which instructor to choose? Check that they are familiar with your area. At CB's we are experts on the Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells test routes, as well as the surrounding areas - this means we know where the tests can be passed or failed, and train you for success. So ask where they normally take their tests & where they are based. Check that they provide FULL hour lessons and NOT 50 minutes, some try to appear cheaper when they are actually not! Make sure you compare like for like. Don't pay out for 20 hours before the 1st lesson. Have a 2 hour assessment or starter session - or we offer a 5 hour taster - see how well you get on, what you learn and if you like their style of instruction. Then consider saving yourself some cash and book a bulk rate of lessons - maybe 10 or 20 hours. But only if you are certain the instructor is right for you!

You may be surprised to learn that the national driving schools do not check or maintain the quality of their instructors! So it doesn't matter who the driving school is, but which instructor you get. A driving school is only as good as the instructor that is teaching you. Don't take pot luck, choose your instructor not the school. It is therefore often easier to use a local instructor who has been recommended rather than AA/BSM/RED/Etc. potluck booking. Also, beware of Self-Assigned merits such as What Car?'s"5 Star Driving Instructors" - This means Nothing and is just a company tactic to make themselves stand out. The qualifications to work as a 5 Star ADI are minimal.

You should expect to learn:

  • How to control and operate a car
  • How to read, understand and predict the roads and other road users
  • Junctions, Crossroads and Roundabouts
  • Dual Carriageways
  • Clutch Control
  • Parallel Parking
  • Reversing Around a Corner - Left AND Right
  • Turning in the Road
  • Bay Parking
  • Controlled Stops (Emergency Stops)
  • Anything you wish to cover that is relevant to your future on the road - a good instructor should teach the individual, in the best way for them

These may not all be on your local driving tests but you should be competent in performing them to succeed as a safe and positive driver.

REMEMBER: A busy Instructor will not always be able to answer his /her phone while instructing. So leave some messages and see who gets back to you. Don't take the first one to answer you. Ask questions and see who explains things the best. Good instruction on the phone means good instruction in the car! Time spent giving advice normally leads to an Instructor who cares about their pupils.

A Note on Your Personal Safety:  During the course of your lessons it may be necessary for your Instructor to take action to prevent incident. While there may be brief physical contact (touching your hand while correcting the wheel) this should never be of a level which would make you feel uncomfortable. You should never feel that your personal space is being violated.
If you have any concerns about your Instructor you should contact the DSA directly and report the issue. If possible include their ADI number, name, company name and car registration. All ADI's have heard stories of situations where inappropriate situations have been experienced, and we all hate to think that it reflects on us as an industry. If you experience something that seems odd, but you are unsure about it please take time to contact either us at CB's or another local instructor to put your mind at rest. All Qualified ADI's are CRB Checked and every effort is made by the DVSA to remove unsavoury characters from the profession. CB's support this 100%.

DON'T GET CAUGHT OUT - Some website charge huge booking fees for test booking services. Use the links and prices below, Don't pay more!
Theory Test - £31- Book Here / Change Here
Practical Test - £62- Book Here / Change Here

If you decide to do driving practice in your own car you MUST make sure you are Insured (See Collingwood Insurance below for short term learner insurance) and that the accompanying driver is 21+ and has held a valid licence for 3+ years.

Do they do Pass Plus?

Pass Plus is an essential part of every new drivers learning - at CB's we think this should become a legal requirement before motorway driving is allowed.

Are they registered for local authority discount. Living in Kent? We are KCC registered.

See our Pass Plus page for details

Theory Training?

To pass your test you will first have to pass the theory test. This consists of both MCQ's (Multiple Choice Questions) and Hazard Perception video clips. Get an Instructor who is willing to give you theory support and assistance.

Remember to use our downloads and advice page

Need to save money?

Private Practice is the key. A good instructor will be willing and supportive for you to go out and practice with a qualified driver aged 21+ and driving for 3+ years. Consider getting them to sit in with you on a lesson. You will  still need some professional instruction, but this will SAVE you money! An ADI will have the experience and knowledge of the test to get you through, and at over £60 a go you don't want to waste it!

While doing Private Practice you must ensure that you are Insured to drive the vehicle. A great way to do this, but not commit to an Insurance company long term is to get 7, 28 or 84 days cover.  CB's have been offered favourable rates with Collingwood, using the link below or by quoting "368082" when getting a quote. SAVING UP TO £30! Once you have passed this leaves you flexible to find the best deal for you!

Collingwood Learner Driver Insurance

Check out our FREE downloads for help on your Theory Test!

Any questions in the mean time? Get in touch with our Q and A page!


At CB's it is you that is important. You pay for quality, professional lessons that are interesting and enjoyable. That is what you get! It isn't always easy, and you will have days when you just feel like it won't click! But that is when having a great Instructor is the key. We will succeed together and make sure you pass, and drive safely into the future.

Chris Bensted

Chris is a fully qualified DVSA ADI. Having started out with BSM, he now works independently to provide you with the best training on offer. He is KCC Registered for Pass Plus and his knowledge of the test process and the road will give you the ability to succeed.

ADVICE to get you started

Start THINKING like a driver. Get stuck into the theory test - get a CD ROM or Theory test book. Watch other peoples driving, ask questions and learn to interpret, understand and read the road.

 Already got some practical experience? Together with CB's you will analyse your driving strengths and weaknesses to get your through the test and to keep yourself safe while you set out for a lifetime on the road.

Already qualified but need some help? Whatever your age and experience we can help you achieve your goals.

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