Excellent Quality Grade ‘A’ Driving Lessons in Biggar, Lanark and Surrounding Areas.
If you are not sure if we cover your area, just get in touch!
© 2006 - 2018 Graham May School of Motoring
Graham May would love to teach you in a Ferrari Testarossa, but your lesson price would be spent on fuel by the end of your road. Instead, Graham is able to keep his prices at an affordable level and pass the benefit on to you by using the ultra-stylish Kia Rio, a diesel super-mini (more info here). It is always smoke and pet-free. It has dual controls for you peace of mind, confidence and safety, though these will never be used without your knowledge. Where they are used, the reason why will always be explained fully to you.
Joking aside, the Rio’s all round visibility and excellent manoeuvrability make it an ideal choice for learning to drive. Graham will get the Testarossa out the garage for the Passplus.
Do you know any of the people featured in our Testimonial section or Passers’ Gallery? If so, call them up and ask for their opinion on Graham May (not his jokes, his taste in music or his football club preferences, but his instructional abilities). Do you know anyone who is having lessons with Graham May at the moment? Again, get their opinion. How do they feel their lessons are going? Do they feel they are getting value for money? Do they look forward to their lessons?
Or call Graham May for an informal chat about lessons with the School.
Research has consistently shown that the safest, quickest and most successful way to learn to drive is with a professional driving instructor, even where you are able to practise privately with a parent or other supervising driver. It’s unlikely anyone other than a driving instructor will have the knowledge, expertise and experience to properly prepare you for the rigours of the Driving Standards Agency tests.
As a result, choosing an instructor is probably the most important decision you must make when learning to drive. You’ll be spending a lot of time with them, not to mention money. Other professionals such as dentists, plumbers, accountants and teachers do not always offer exactly the same service as each other, and there are excellent, average and poor standards in every profession. All driving instructors are not the same either!
Anyone taking payment for teaching you to drive must be on the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency’s Register, either as Trainee instructors (Potential Driving Instructor or PDI) or as fully qualified Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs). It is a criminal offence to take payment for tuition unless you are on this register.
There are three stringent tests which must be passed to get on to this register. Firstly, an advanced and extended Theory and Hazard Perception Test (Part 1), then an hour long advanced driving test (Part 2). Finally, to fully qualify, instructors must pass a test of instructional and teaching ability (Part 3). All instructors must also pass an enhanced Criminal Records check (or Disclosure check in Scotland) to guarantee the public’s safety.
The DVSA has issued a Standard Code of Practice for driving instructors. As it is only voluntary at this stage, not all driving instructors have to adhere to its terms.
Fully Qualified vs Trainee
Fully qualified ADIs will have a green badge in the window, which proves that they have passed all three tests to a competent standard. In other words, they have proved that they can drive and teach to the required standard. Trainee PDIs (who have a pink badge in the window) have passed Part 1 and 2 but not yet passed the Part 3 Instructional and Teaching Ability Test. Most PDIs use the pink Trainee badge to build up their teaching abilities before they sit the actual instructional test. This means there are instructors out there who have never been assessed on their teaching ability, or even that they may have been assessed, failed the assessment and are waiting to re-sit their Part 3. Many trainees do not go on to actually pass the final exam. Certainly, If they don’t pass this final exam within 6 months of starting to teach on the trainee licence they will have to stop teaching you. According to the statistics, trainees have substantially lower pass rates than qualified instructors.
But it’s easy being a driving instructor, isn’t it?
No! It should be noted that of those people who set out to become Approved Driving Instructors, only a shockingly low 10% of them actually make it through all the tests, and of those 50% give up the career within 18 months due to the rigours of the job. Many people don’t have the professional skills, attitude, patience and organisational abilities required to teach a difficult life skill and simultaneously run their own business.
Continual Assessment by the DVSA
Once qualified all instructors have to go through a grading process every few years. The grades are a reflection of how well they performed on a standards check test lesson - a normal lesson which is conducted with a representative of our governing body (the DVSA) observing it.
Grade A: A high overall standard of instruction demonstrated.
Grade B : Sufficient competence demonstrated to permit or retain entry on the Register of Approved Driving Instructors
Fail : the instructor has not reached the required standard and must re-sit their standards check. If they do not pass within two further attempts, they will be removed from the Register.
This is usually one of the most common way to pick an instructor. It makes sense that if someone you know had a good experience with an instructor, you might have the same good experience. But be aware, just because a certain instructor suited your friend / relative / colleague, they might not suit you!
Make sure to ask your friend about all aspects of the instructor’s lessons. Were they on time? Do they work at times that suit you? Do they use a Logbook? Was their car clean and tidy? Did they smoke? Did they talk about non-driving issues a lot? (fun, but not what you’re paying for!) Were they patient? Did they explain things in an easy to understand manner? Did they ever shout or lose their temper? Did they ever cancel at short notice? Was each lesson structured and planned to ensure you were better at the end than you were at the beginning?
Even if you pick an instructor based on a recommendation, do not be afraid to choose another one if you are not happy with your lessons for whatever reason. It’s your money after all, and a good instructor understands that not every pupil will take to his or her style.
This is usually the first thing someone over the phone asks (which is why Graham May’s figures are quoted opposite), but be very wary with quoted pass rates. Always ask the instructor how they have been calculated. They are so easy to fake, twist and abuse, and do not always reflect how good an instructor is. As the saying goes ‘There are lies, damned lies, then statistics”!
A 100% pass rate may mean that the instructor has got all of his customers through their test. What it doesn’t say is that out of the 10, 9 of them took it more than 3 times in order to pass! Or that they have only had 1 customer. Or in the worst cases their first customer to test has passed, so for the rest of that year they have removed their badge from the window so that as far as the DVSA can tell they only had 1 customer all year.
Another problem with pass rates is that many excellent instructors specialise in nervous drivers who have much more trouble with the “test” than others.Some excellent women instructors whose customer base is predominantly female have campaigned against the publishing of pass rates, because female candidates traditionally have a lower pass rate than male candidates - this doesn’t mean that female instructors aren’t as good as the men! And, of course, not everyone performs to their best on test day, so the instructor’s figures for that pupil aren’t exactly helpful.
If you read of a guaranteed pass course, or see pass rates substantially above 75 - 80%, be very wary of how the figure has been calculated!
Prices tend to range from anywhere between £15 to £35 per hour, depending on your area. Many instructors offer special introductory deals to attract you to their school which might be dramatically cheaper than their standard prices for a set number of lessons. Deals that sound too good to be true usually are. The cheapest lesson price available might seem like a good idea on first inspection, but if the cheaper instructor is inexperienced, unmotivated or generally below par then they’ll need to give you a lot more lessons than someone charging more, and you may end up paying more in the long run.
If a lesson price is substantially cheaper than £18 an hour you should be very wary. Even with a small cheap car, the running costs per hour which an instructor has to bear will be anywhere from £7-£12 or more (car, insurance, advertising, training, fuel, phone, maintenance etc), so will they try to save a little on fuel by not letting you drive so far? Are they qualified? Why are they so desperate for work that they are so cheap?
It is also worth bearing in mind that instructors working for the large national driving schools such as the AA, Red or BSM are paying between £200 - £300 per week for their car and pupils. That’s right, per week! This means that many franchised instructors make nothing whatsoever from the first 15 lessons in their week, and so have to work long hours over and above this ‘break-even’ point to make a worthwhile living. An instructor working 9am to 8pm, 6 days a week is unlikely to give you the best of their abilities, every lesson.
You can expect to receive a discount for block booking, or paying in advance, because this provides certainty of work for the instructor and makes you much less likely to cancel your lessons at the last minute.
This is probably the least important factor, so long as your instructor’s car has dual controls, is clean inside and out, is fairly new and therefore mechanically reliable. Ask your instructor if he/she smokes in the car or ever has animals in it, if you think the smell would bother you. Small cars are traditionally used to build up driving confidence, and are more manoeuvrable and economical to run. The make of car really comes down to instructor preference, based on reliability, fuel economy, ease of manoeuvrability and the visibility afforded to the instructor and pupil.
Dual controls are usually essential for driving instructors because without them tuition insurance is very hard to get. Without them, there is probably no proper insurance in place! Whilst the dual controls are necessary, a good driving instructor will not need to use them very often. Diesel cars tend to be easier to drive as their clutch is much more forgiving, and as they are more economic to run most instructors use them.
Graham May qualified as a fully Approved Driving Instructor in 2006 and passed the Part 3 with a ‘6/5’ Grade - an excellent result as he’d only ever taught his wife, a good friend and his mother-in-law to drive prior to his final exam!
Graham May is fully vetted under the Disclosure (Scotland) requirements and fully adheres to the terms of the DSA Code of Practice.
So how do I choose a good driving instructor? .... .… and is Graham May any good?
Graham May is fully qualified, as evidenced by the green badge always displayed in his window. He decided not to go down the PDI route. Whilst the Trainee badge system does have some merits, many schools use it without telling the unsuspecting public, who then pay full prices for lessons from unqualified instructors. While training, no charge was made to Graham’s wife (passed first time), his friend (passed first time) or his mother-in-law (no comment).
At his last Standards Check assessment, in April 2016, Graham May was as proud as punch to receive a Grade A from the DVSA Supervising Examiner. Be very wary of those instructors who say that DVSA grades don’t matter - every instructor wants whole-heartedly to be a Grade A! Remember the DVSA are the body that will be testing you and your driving at the end of the day, so it makes sense that your instructor should be highly rated by them!
Graham May’s pass rate for all tests taken during 2015 to 2018 is 80%, compared with the Lanark average of 51%. His first time pass rate for the period is 79%. Overall, this means of the 92 tests taken by Graham May School of Motoring pupils during this period, 73 were passes (no tricks of statistics, no pupils excluded from figures). The first time pass rate figure comes from the fact that of the 70 different pupils presented for test in 2015 to 2018, 55 of them passed first time (the vast majority of the rest passed at their second attempt). Graham May can make you one guarantee - he will give you the tools to be a safe driver in as short a time as is safely possible, and therefore reach the standard required by the DVSA test as soon as you can.
Graham May’s prices offer great value for money, and introductory discounts and discounts for block bookings are available. See our Prices section for further details.
As a Grade A instructor with an enviable pass rate and inclusive in-car and online learning techniques, you will not be disappointed with the level of service afforded to you.
Graham May’s current price is £29 per hour, though you can block book 5 hours for £140 or 10 hours for £270, saving you £££s over the course of your lessons.
Do your research! Even if you have a recommendation for a certain instructor, phone them and ask them the following ‘Top Ten’ questions. Any good driving instructor will be happy to go through them with you :
So how do I choose a good driving instructor?
Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency advice on choosing an
Graham May thoroughly enjoys the day-to-day role of an ADI and the varied challenges it throws up (you’d not believe the half of it!). He always leaves his personal life at home, switches on his happy face as your door clicks shut, and is fully committed to Continual Professional Development.
|Graham May ADI|
|Learner Lesson Guide|
|Refresher / Motorway Lessons|
|The Training Vehicle|
|DVSA Code of Practice|
|Terms and Conditions|
|Getting my Provisional Licence|
|How do I choose an instructor?|
|How many lessons?|
|Theory and Hazard Perception Test|
|Book a Test|
|Show Me / Tell Me|