Lee's Driver Training

UPDATED - 16th July 2022 - Heatwave

 

Dear Pupils, as you may have seen in the news, this coming Monday and Tuesday is going to be a ‘heatwave’ with temperatures in the high 30s and possibly up to 40C. I am closed on Tuesdays anyway so this wont affect you, however after a RED weather warning was issued for London and the South East – with advice not to travel unless absolutely essential and stay out of direct sunlight. I have decided that I will be closing early at 2pm on Monday 18th at the hottest part of the day.

 

Although learning to drive is ‘essential’ to me as it is my job and how I earn my income – as well as being important for you as pupils who wish to learn to drive, it is not so essential that we should have to put up with possibly extreme discomfort. Learning to drive can be stressful enough and requires all your concentration. If you are feeling extremely uncomfortable due to heat this is not the ideal learning condition, not to mention how this heat will affect other drivers who we share the roads with who may not have air conditioning.

 

I will be open in the morning as normal and so if you normally have lessons that finish BEFORE 2pm these will go ahead as normal unless you decide to cancel in advance. Air conditioning will be available and switched on for these morning lessons. I would also advise you to bring a bottle of water and to wear clothing suitable for hot weather – including a pair of sunglasses.

 

If you have any questions or concerns feel free to get in contact.

 

 

UPDATED - 28th June 2022 - New Discount Lesson Range and Fuel Price Increases

 

Dear Pupils as of the time of writing this blog, fuel prices have risen again since my last lesson price increase on May 1st. Average is now £1.91 per litre. We have not yet reached £2.00 (as of the time of writing this) for unleaded but many believe this is only a matter of time.

 

With the above in mind I am now announcing two things. Firstly my new Discount Lesson product. Although the cost of living is increasing in all areas of the economy the one thing that is not increasing generally is your wages. Although many driving schools are increasing their lesson prices – some to ridiculous levels – I know of two schools, one that is charging £37 p/h and another that is charging £38 p/h. Personally I think that is an unaffordable cost for young people especially if you want them to continue lessons on a weekly basis.

 

Therefore from 1st September 2022 my new discount lesson range will be available for all pupils. The price is lower but with a shorter lesson duration of 50 minutes instead of an hour, or 75 minutes instead of an hour and a half (90 minutes) These discount lessons are ONLY available on a Pay As You Go Basis (PAYG) and not available to buy as a block. This is to help keep lessons affordable for pupils that want or need to learn to drive and help me by using less fuel per lesson which helps keep my costs down.

 

Secondly there will be a price increase for my standard lesson range. This increase is in-line with other driving schools that are raising their prices and due to continued increase in my fuel costs which is now costing just shy of a whopping £100 a week to fill up my tank. You can see the new prices on my website at this link:-

 

New Discount Lesson Range & Prices

 

These new prices will come into force on the 1st September 2022 unless the government does something to bring the regular average price of fuel back down to the £1.60ish range. On the 1st September ALL pupils will be moved by default to my new Discount Lesson range UNLESS you specifically state to me that you wish to continue with 60 minute lessons and accept the new lesson price. If you do not wish to be moved to my new discount lesson price nor want to accept the new prices then regrettably you will need to cease taking lessons by the 1st September. As a reminder my terms and conditions that you have accepted allow me to increase prices from time to time when needed with 30 days notice.

 

It is with regret that I have to do this. I only have one or two price increases per year in normal times, but as you all know these are not normal times and due to world events and rising inflation which is causing price rises in all sectors of the economy this is unavoidable.

 

Apologies again and thank you for your understanding. If you have any questions feel free to get in touch.

 

 

UPDATED - 13TH June 2022

DVSA are now cracking down on “Test Finder Apps” and companies that are gaming the system and selling driving tests when they are not a driving school or do not employ any driving instructors!

 

 

 

 

Far too many of you are complaining that you cannot book driving tests because of these companies. DVSA is changing the system and the terms and conditions to prevent such companies from accessing their booking systems. PLEASE DO NOT book a driving test through third party companies as you could end up gettting burned and paying more and the test may not even be officially booked!

 

See here for more details - https://www.intelligentinstructor.co.uk/cracking-down-on-test-booking-crooks/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATED - 2nd April 2022

 

 

Due to the current high price of fuel and the need to limit fuel consumption I am temporarily suspending “Pick up and alternative destination drop off.”

 

What this means is you will be picked up and dropped off at the same location at the beginning and end of your lessons. The only exception to this is if your alternative drop off location is closer than your original pick up location. As an example, I will no longer pick up pupils from school and then take them home at the end of the lesson. Please remember as it says in your pupil booklet and in my terms and conditions, I am not a taxi service and I have the right to refuse alternative drop off locations.

 

 

 

UPDATED - 10th March 2022

 

Dear Pupils,

 

As you may be aware from talking to parents and friends or seen in the news, fuel pricing is sky-rocketing due to world events beyond our control.

 

With these rapidly increasing fuel costs my own costs are increasing to the point where it is now going to be costing me an extra £80 - £100 a month in fuel which equates to an extra £20 per fill up each week. It used to cost me £55 a week, it is now almost £75. Although my profit margin is going to take a hit I am going to absorb some of this increase myself. However, with the rising costs outside of my control I must now take action.

 

It is with regret that I must increase my prices for ALL pupils from 1st May 2022. I am aware that I already had an increase this year in January and in normal circumstances I only put the prices up once per year for pupils. However, as these are not normal times and this increase in cost of fuel is outside of my control I have no choice but to act, in the same way that all other businesses and driving schools are.

 

With that in mind the new flat price (regardless of the day or time of day of the lesson) for ALL pupils from the 1st May 2022 will be as follows:-

 

PAYG 60 Minutes - £29.50

PAYG 90 Minutes - £42

Block of 5 hours - £140

Block of 10 hours £270

 

 

This new pricing overrides any other updates and previous undertakings regarding pricing.

 

Again I would remind pupils that my terms (Section 8.3) make it clear I can increase my prices from time to time with 30 days notice. 

 

Most driving schools are now charging around £30 - £32 per hour. So this is still reasonably good value.

 

If you choose not to accept this increase – and I understand if some of you cannot – then regrettably you must cease taking lessons with me by 1st May 2022.  Thank you for your understanding.

 

 

 

UPDATED - 7th October 2021

 

LESSON CANCELLATIONS

 

Dear Pupils, I just wanted to raise the issue of Lesson Cancellations.

 

The following doesn’t apply to the vast majority of my pupils, however I do have a handful of pupils who I am noticing tend to have a pattern of cancelling lessons on a monthly basis. Right now it is extremely busy for driving schools – it is currently a ‘sellers market’ rather than a ‘buyers market’. This means there are many more people seeking driving lessons than there are driving instructors available to take them on.

 

Because of this I have to ensure I am utilising my diary efficiently and only keeping pupils on my books who are regularly attending lessons and who want to be here – especially as there is always the further possibility of lock downs again in the winter. Obviously I do understand there are times when either people are on holiday or are sick or some event arises that prevents you from attending. These kind of cancellations I am not concerned about. What I am concerned about are when I notice patterns of cancellations forming with a pupil. For example a pupil that cancels at least once a month, always a different reason but the cancellation is regular.

 

Unlike school, college or work there is no requirement for pupils to take lessons with me. Likewise there is no requirement for me as a business to provide my services to an individual pupil – I have the right to refuse. So for the next two months (November and December) I am going to be closely monitoring lesson cancellations. Where I notice patterns forming or where a pupil cancels who already has a pattern of cancellations I will speak to them individually about this to try and rectify the issue, regrettably if it cannot be rectified it will result in those individuals being removed from my client list and their spaces given to new pupils.

 

As I said this doesn’t apply to the vast majority of you, but with so many people wanting lessons, as a business owner I have to do what is best for my business which after all is my income and livelihood. If you feel that this applies to you and you no longer wish to continue with lessons please just let me know, or if you would prefer to chat about it, again please let me know.

 

 

UPDATED - 15th July 2021

 

Dear Pupils, as you may be aware as from Monday 19th July 2021 wearing a mask will no longer be legally required and will instead be voluntary for those who wish to protect themselves.  I already advocate a personal responsibility approach and allow pupils to decide for themselves if they wish to wear a mask on lessons or not.  Half of my pupils wear them on their lessons and half do not.

 

As an asthmatic myself I do find breathing harder whilst trying to talk and wear a mask.  I will therefore no longer routinely be wearing a mask on lessons starting Monday 19th July.  However, if individual pupils have concerns and would feel more comfortable if I continue to wear a mask, please speak to me and I will wear a mask during your individual lessons, however I would also require the pupil to reciprocate and wear a mask as well if this is requested. 

 

 

UPDATED - 29th March 2021

 

Dear pupils, as from today 29th March my telephone line and email contact form on my website are now open and available again for enquiries.  I have also reinstated my online booking service from my website to make it easier for customers and new pupils to check current availability and to book extra lessons should you desire to.  Please note there is a maximum of 3 hours per pupil each week to ensure no one pupil can monopolise my diary,  I am almost fully booked so spaces are VERY limited.

 

Changes To Private Practise

 

As from today 29th March 2021 DVSA have announced that a change in the government guidance means that pupils can now get private driving practise without being on an essential journey.  This means you are no longer limited to just practising whilst driving to work or school or going food shopping etc, but can now practise your driving in your own car or family vehicle as normal.  The accompanying driver MUST still be someone from your immediate family or support bubble.

Here is the link from DVSA - https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKDVSA/bulletins/2c9a04f

 

UPDATED - 12th March 2021

 

Dear pupils, again I hope all are doing well and keeping safe.

Although I have not yet received any email update notices from DVSA, it is now on their official website that car driving lessons can resume from 12th April 2021.

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-restarting-driver-and-rider-training-and-tests/coronavirus-restarting-driver-and-rider-training-and-tests

 

With this official announcement I will be resuming driving lesson services from 12th April 2021. As from Monday 15th March I will begin contacting pupils who are still on my client list to ask if you are able and willing to resume driving lessons from the week beginning 12th April.

 

I will accept up to a one week delay for any current pupils that cannot resume driving lessons on the week beginning 12th April and allow them to resume from the week beginning 19th April 2021 instead if required. Regrettably, any current pupils that are unable or unwilling to resume normal weekly driving lessons in the week beginning 19th of April at the latest will be unfortunately removed from my client list to make space for the many new pupils I am receiving enquiries from.

 

Many pupils will be seeking to take extra lessons to try and speed things up. I will give priority to current pupils and offer extra spaces where this is possible, however I do have a contractual agreement with all current pupils so spaces may be limited or unavailable and it may not be possible to offer additional spaces. I will also give priority to current pupils who have driving tests coming up in the next month or two, especially if you had your test cancelled due to the lock downs.

 

I hope that as many of you as possible will be looking to resume lessons from 12th April, but if your circumstances have changed or you have decided you no longer wish to resume lessons at this time I understand and thank you for being a valued customer up to this point and wish you all the best for the future.

 

UPDATED - 24th February 2021

 

Dear pupils, I hope you are all well.  As you may have heard the government is beginning to ease the lockdown restrictions and many “non-essential” businesses will be able to open from 12th April 2021.  To be clear there has still NOT been any official announcement from the DVSA confirming that driving schools can begin providing lessons again from this date. Local Tier systems may be reintroduced again and so it is still not clear if we can begin to provide services from this date yet.  However, until we hear otherwise many driving schools are assuming that we can return to work from the 12th April. As soon as I receive any official updates from DVSA I will announce it here on my website as usual.

 

As soon as I receive official confirmation from DVSA that we can reopen from the 12th April, I will begin contacting all pupils on my client list to see if you would still like to continue lessons from the week beginning the 12th April.

 

Priority will be given to current clients who were taking lessons with me before the November lockdown began last year including keeping the weekly lesson spots that you were taking at the time.  I am aware that for many your circumstances may have changed since you last took lessons so I need to see what availability I still have in my diary as I am receiving many enquiries from new pupils wanting lessons.  Before the lockdown began I pretty much had a full diary so spaces will be limited.  Anyone who chooses not to continue or is unable to continue with lessons when I reopen will regrettably have to be removed from my client list as I am unable to reserve spots any longer due to the circumstances.

 

Driving Tests

 

A hand full of pupils had your tests cancelled due to the lockdown, DVSA should be emailing you soon with a new date and time.  It is vitally important that you contact me ASAP when you receive the new date for me to book it into my diary. Due to the lengthy delays that the lockdown has caused I will accept tests that are rescheduled by DVSA even if they are booked on a Tuesday (which is my regular day off) or before 11am.  Please note however that I will make an extra charge for having to conduct tests outside of my normal opening hours but I will discuss this with any pupils affected by this in case they would rather reschedule to a different date and time and thus not have to pay any extra charges incurred.  The above only applies to tests that were cancelled by DVSA due to the lockdown and does NOT apply to newly booked tests which should be booked to take place during my normal working hours as noted on my website.

 

Please also be aware that pupils taking tests MUST still be at test pass standard.  If you are intending to use your own vehicle then you can take the test at any time.  If you intend to take your test in my tuition vehicle, you must still be at test pass standard or regrettably in accordance with my terms and conditions I have the right to refuse the use of my vehicle for the test, this particularly applies to pupils who have not been able to get any driving practise during the lockdown and therefore may no longer be at test pass standard.

 

Lesson Prices

 

Finally, pupils who were taking lessons with me before November last year may recall that I announced my annual lesson price increase which would be delayed for current pupils until 1st April 2021, this previously announced price increase will come into force for all pupils from 1st April 2021.  These prices are available on my website on the prices page.  Should you decide not to accept this increase just let me know when I contact you and I will remove you from my client list.

 
 

 

UPDATED - 5th January 2021

 

Following the announcement of a new national lockdown by the government yesterday (4th January) all drving lessons and tests are cancelled and cannot proceed until the measures are lifted.  Currently this could be March 2021 but this is uncertain at this time.

 

Once again I am really sorry for all of you who are waiting to take your driving tests desperate to get on the roads and gain your freedom and away from public transport.  

 

Rest assured all pupils who have paid for lessons up front will get your outstanding lessons once the lockdown restrictions are lifted.  I am in a better position than most driving schools as I own my own vehicle and not leasing it and have very little in the way of business expenses other than day to day living expenses.

 

Here is the latest update from DVSA - Driving and riding lessons and tests – National lockdown (govdelivery.com)

 

UPDATED - 31st December 2020

 

Dear Pupils, after the recent review by the government more areas of the UK have now been placed under Tier 4 restrictions. Therefore a further update has been issued by DVSA.

 

It is with regret that I have to confirm that driving lessons will NOT be able to resume on 4th January 2021 as I had intended after my xmas break.  Tier 4 restrictions remain in place in Kent until the next formal review which at the moment is due to take place every two weeks.  This means the next review should be on Wednesday 13th January 2021.

 

Driving Tests

 

If you are one of a handful of pupils who have driving tests booked to take place between 4th January and the 13th January, they will now be CANCELLED and rearranged.  Please ensure you check your emails daily for updates from DVSA.

Please remember that rearranged tests MUST NOT be rescheduled for a Tuesday as I am closed and wont be able to assist. As soon as you receive notice of your updated test date please send me a text or email straight away so I can confirm my availability. 

  

Due to the extraordinary circumstances I will try to assist where tests are rescheduled to take place outside of my morning start time.  In normal circumstances driving tests should be booked for after 11am, but if yours is rescheduled for 10am or earlier, I will speak to the individuals personally to discuss the matter.

 

Private Driving Practise

 

If you are fortunate enough to have your own vehicle or access to another vehicle such as parents or partners, you can get private practise in that as long as the primary purpose of your journey is essential.  For instance to travel to work or to go food shopping.

 

Conclusion

 

As we stand right now I and other driving instructors and driving schools are unable to return to work on the 4th January (please note if you see other driving schools providing driving lessons, they are doing so illegally!  Although be aware that some driving instructors use their school cars for personal use as well and so may not be giving lessons - which is why I use a roof box on my car so people can see when I am working and when I am not)

 

Should Kent return to Tier 3 or lower after Wednesday 13th January I will be able to return to work at that point and will be in contact then.  

 

To help me plan if any pupils who were taking lessons with me in October 2020 or before have now decided NOT to resume lessons when I am able to work again (for whatever reason) please let me know so I can manage my diary and know what spaces I have available - if I don’t hear from you I will assume you do wish to begin or resume lessons when we move back into Tier 3 or lower.

 

DVSA Update link - Changes to tiers in England (govdelivery.com)

 

 

UPDATED 27th December 2020

 

DVSA have put out a new update based on the new Tier 4 restrictions.  Currently the new Tier 4 restrictions will be in place from 20th December 2020 at least until 30th December when the government meets to reassess the restrictions.

 

Regrettably as you will see by clicking the link below to the recent update, driving lessons and driving tests are not allowed to go ahead in Tier 4 areas (which at this point is most of the country) If the restrictions are lifted on 30th December then tests booked for early January when I return to work should go ahead as planned.  If the restrictions are not lifted, then regrettably those of you with driving tests in the first couple of weeks of January (at least) will be cancelled and rearranged.  So if you have a test in early January please CHECK your emails REGULARLY!

 

On a personal note as an instructor I find this incessant cancelling and rearranging of driving lessons and tests completely unacceptable.  Pupils work hard and spend hard earned money to reach test standard and gain freedom to travel in your own vehicles and every time they cancel tests it takes more lessons to get back to standard, so I feel bad that you are all being messed around like this.

 

Regrettably though driving instructors are governed by the DVSA which is a government agency. If I or any other instructor provides lessons when told not to by DVSA then my licence can be removed and I would be out of a career.  Rest assured I will keep pupils up to date with latest developments and get back to providing lessons as soon as possible.  Lets all hope the restrictions are lifted on 30th December.  I am not due to return to work until Monday 4th January, so may be we will be lucky.

 

Here is the link to the latest update :-  https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKDVSA/bulletins/2b22160

 

 

 

UPDATED 29th November

 

I hope everyone is safe and well. At the moment I have not heard anything official from DVSA – we normally receive an email news bulletin – but so far nothing has come through. However other sources such as The Mirror :-

 

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/new-tier-3-lockdown-rules-23055705

 

are reporting that driving lessons and tests can go ahead in Tier 3 areas, which Maidstone is designated as. So based on this information (and subject to no official changes) I will be returning to work to provide driving lessons on Wednesday 2nd December.

 

I realise that some pupils are keen to get back to lessons but others may be looking ahead at Christmas on the horizon and may be thinking it is not worth resuming lessons until the New Year. This makes sense as I will be closing for my annual Christmas holiday from 19th December and returning to work on January 4th. Therefore starting Monday 30th November I am going to contact all pupils individually and see if you would like to resume your lessons immediately or would prefer to wait until January when we can hopefully get back to some kind of normality. This will help me plan my diary and know where I stand between now and Christmas.

 

Any pupil that decides they do not wish to resume until January I will keep their regular weekly lesson spot reserved for them until January, regrettably however should pupils not wish to resume in January (assuming there are no further restrictions placed on us) I will have to remove them from my client list as per my terms and conditions.

 

If you have any questions or concerns feel free to get in touch.

 

 

UPDATED 6th November

 

Dear Pupils the DVSA have now issued further guidance regarding key worker lessons and driving tests.  Regrettably it has been decided that no lessons or tests will be going ahead during the November lock down including for key workers. 

 

I did contact a number of pupils individually who are key workers with the possibility of providing lessons for key workers only during the latest lock down in England, regrettably however this update means that I am unable to provide any lessons at all until December the 2nd. 

 

For those of you with your own vehicles and/or who can get private practise in family vehicles, you are still able to get driving practice as long as you and the supervising driver are from the same household and it is travel for work, education or for other legally permitted exemptions.

 

The news update can be seen below by clicking the link.

 

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKDVSA/bulletins/2a9fcbe

 

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1st November 2020


Dear Pupils
 
As you are no doubt aware a new national lock down was mandated by the government on 31st October which covers the period between 5th November till 2nd December.  As with the previous lock down this means that Lee’s Driver Training will be closed during this period by government mandate - as driving lessons are deemed not essential.  I will not be able to conduct any lessons or driving tests - unless you are a key worker.

    

If you have any lessons already prepaid you do not need to be concerned.  You will receive your lessons as normal once the lock down ends and driving schools reopen.

 

Driving Tests

 

If you have a driving test due to take place during the lock down period it will be cancelled by the DVSA unless you are deemed a “key worker”  (so check your emails regularly) in which case your test may go ahead.

 

If you have a driving test due to take place in December (but after the lock down ends) or in January 2021, there is a strong likelihood that this will also be cancelled by DVSA to be rescheduled (so check your emails regularly.)

 

Even if your test is not cancelled, it may now have to be rescheduled as we will be missing at least a months worth of lessons which will affect your test readiness.  As a reminder, in accordance with my terms and conditions I wont take any pupil to a driving test until they have completed the training in full and have successfully passed a mock driving test with a reasonable score - the lock down doesn’t change this contractual agreement as you must still be at test pass standard before taking a driving test.  If you intend to take your test in your own vehicle this requirement will not apply and you will still have to make your own arrangements as normal.

 

I will be contacting any pupils who have a test booked either during the lock down period or scheduled to take place just after the lock down personally to discuss the matter individually.

 

My phone lines will remain open during this lock down period (during my normal phone line opening hours - 09:30 till 18:30 Monday to Friday and 10:00 till 16:00 Saturdays) should you wish to contact me and discuss any aspect of your driving lessons or test.  However, as I wont be working during this period please be patient as I may not have my phone with me.  You can of course still text as normal.

 

I will update this page if there are any new developments. Thank you for your understanding during these uncertain times.

 

Lee's Driver Training