A day out with the DVSA
Have you ever used the .gov.uk find an Instructor website? If so have you ever wondered why some Instructors have a Green tick next to the letters CPD? That tick shows that the instructor is committed to improving himself through a program of “continuous professional development” or more commonly training to improve the way they teach.
As part of his commitment to CPD one of our Braintree based instructors, Rob, joined some fellow driving instructors to visit the DVSA training academy at Cardington in Bedfordshire to learn about the role of the examiner and how they are trained to conduct tests and assess faults.
The day began with a Lunch at the on site restaurant which is part of the Custom built training facility including a 40 bedroom hotel to house the trainee examiners while training on site. After lunch there was a Lecture and Q&A session from The head of policy at the DVSA and two of the DVSA senior examiner trainers on how the potential examiners are selected for training and what happens on the 6 week training course. This includes 2 weeks shadowing examiners at their local test centres and 4 weeks on site learning how to control a driving test, how to assess faults and how to put test candidates at ease. Why do they always ask the candidate “If you were not doing your driving test what would you be doing today?” because they are trained to ask this to gauge whether the candidate would like to chat or rather be left to concentrate.
This was followed by a bus tour of the private training area that includes all kinds of roads, speed limits, junctions and crossings which gives them the ability to stage scenarios that they could never do on the public road to see how the trainee examiners react, it also doubles as the local motorbike test area. They were also shown the Airship hangers next door where the R101 airship was built and the latest James Bond film had just finished filming.
After the tour they had the opportunity to quiz some of the current trainees about how the training was and what they had learned. The final session was a further lecture with questions and answers about how the examiners are trained to assess faults, for Rob this was the most fascinating session of the day and gave a real insight into how the examiners are taught to assess each fault as it happens and in the prevailing conditions, they are taught to judge on safety and also the potential danger that could have happened, this is why the same fault may be marked differently on different tests as no two test situations are identical.
By attending the day it has given Rob a better understanding of how examiners are trained and how they think, he will be able to apply this in his teaching and mock test situations and it will improve his ability to understand how a situation would be viewed on test. This is what CPD is all about, helping to make our instructors better able to help deliver the training that will keep you safe on the road and enable you to pass the driving test as part of the journey.