Advising pupils left with no trainer to support their driving test

Advising pupils left with no trainer to support their driving test

The Driving Instructors Association’s (DIA) members have stated that they are being approached by pupils who find themselves without a trainer to accompany them to test, in part due to the ongoing situation with driving test availability and the high demand for trainers.

Accessing instructors, when pupils are left without a trainer as they move towards test, is also fraught as there is an understandable reticence by trainers in taking on new trainees at this stage, given the fact the trainer has not trained the pupil in question and cannot vouch for their competence and safety on test.

Some trainers are also concerned that taking ‘unknown’ pupils to test can result in fails which they fear then reflects on their individual ADI performance data (we are speaking to DVSA about issuing some communications on the subject of what really impacts performance data, as the agency does stress data is gathered over a greater period, and greater number of tests, so the TIP is not affected as badly as some trainers believe by a few fails)

Sadly, given the unusual times post-pandemic, there will be pupils left without a trainer for their actual test, and members have asked if there is any advice they can give these pupils (if they can’t take them on themselves).

Finding an alternative trainer

  • Point pupils to reputable instructor search directories such as DVSA’s Find Your Nearest or our own GetintoDriving where pupils can search for a trainer in their area who may be willing to take them on
  • Advise pupils that they should be willing (and communicate that willingness to the trainer when enquiring) to take on some extra sessions to allow a new trainer assess test readiness, rather than just assuming a new trainer will want to take a new pupil into test ‘cold’

If a pupil has to attend test without an ADI and in their own car

Ideally, we know as an industry it really is better all round if a pupil attends test in a trainer’s car,  and with a trainer they have experience in learning with. However, being realistic, there will be times when a pupil has to attend in their own car – or find an alternative car to attend test in. Here are some tips to help best advise them in this scenario:

  • If insuring a parent’s car (or other non-trainer vehicle) just for test is an issue, there are some short-term insurance solutions which may help. For example Veygo offer short-term flexible insurance tailored to learner driver (and parent/guardian) needs and may be able to help. Visit for more information
  • For private practice and attending test, dual control cars can be hired on a short term basis from providers such as Arnold Clarke. Visit


8 thoughts on “Advising pupils left with no trainer to support their driving test”

  1. I really think pupils are being left because they believe they are ready when the instructor informs them they’re not. Because they cannot get another suitable date for their test when instructor asks them to move it forward to allow more time to practise, they Dutch the instructor and try and find anyone who will take them yo test even though they’re not quite ready. If there were enough tests to move one forward about a month to give them more time this issue wouldn’t be there.

    It would be better if the DVSA said thst students must get at least 40 hours signed in with an instructor before they are even allowed to book a test. This way students who have never driven would not be able to take the tests that those who are currently training really need. This will stop the students going yo test when. It ready as they feel they just want to give it a go! But because ADI’s are penalised when they fail they are reluctant to let them do they try in their own car. Something has to change as the students who are ready are missing out and being held in a queue for even finding a test or continually searching for a cancellation

  2. Andrew James

    I shan’t be advising them anything, I run a driving school not an advice line. It’s not my problem if they can’t find an instructor.

  3. Which way do you want it? Don’t take pupils to the test centre if they’re not ready for their test? Or take people to test who you don’t know and aren’t ready?
    I guarantee that the pupils left with no instructor just before their test have been told by their instructor that they’re not ready. They don’t agree with the decision and so then start trawling around for someone to take them. This has always been a thing, it’s been happening and will always happen, how are you not aware? I can’t believe that you’re trying to encourage ADI’s to take them on, at the exact same time as saying make sure that your pupil is test ready.
    Make your mind up, otherwise it’s looking like you’ve lost touch with the working life of the ADI.

  4. This people are not left with no trainer as you put it
    That would mean their Driving instructor let them down.

    They had no trainer to begin with.

    Please put the record straight: this people are booking tests without either consulting their Driving instructor or simply not having a car or anybody to take them.

    We are not a taxi service

    The best guidance they can be given is to stop wasting their money and tests that could be taken by pupils that have a Driving Instructor to take them

    And to do their market research before booking

    The problem is more complex than you make out

    I am also baffled as to how private companies can snatch any available tests passing them on by means of apps at short notice ???



  5. Each week I’m contacted ‘my test is in a wells time and my instructor isn’t available can I use your car?’

    Never in a month of Sunday will I drop my current pupils who are working hard to achieve their licence and having regular lessons and who also are only booking tests with my say so. My car is only available for those I train and are test ready.

    Someone else mentioned about having to sign off the hours as evidence of instructor/pupil lessons in order to book tests. I think that’s a great idea. This will remove the issue surrounding no instructor available for test and will also promote road safety, only test ready as per instructor say so, not the pupil saying they ready.

    I am an absolute supporter of private practice along side instructor lessons. My pupils who do private practice ask me to communicate with their supervising driver, this works really well for us all. Their own supervising driver is welcomed on lessons too, that way we all sing of the same hymn sheet.

    Safety first

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