Driving schools near you

Choose the best driving school near you and pass faster!

How to choose a driving school

This is the single most important decision you’ll make when learning to drive. It’s crucial you get it right! Here are some steps for choosing a cheap driving school that works for you.

What to look for

  • Fast matching: You shouldn’t have to wait a week to get allocated an instructor. A good driving school will get you matched within a few days. Midrive learners are typically matched with a driving instructor within 24 hours.
  • Local instructors: Good driving schools will have instructors that - service your area. This might be a driving school near you, or a national school with a lot of reach. Midrive has more than 3,000 instructors all over the UK.
  • Easy instructor swap: Everyone is different, and there’s no guarantee an instructor’s teaching style will match your learning style. You need to know your driving school will let you swap instructors. Midrive lets you swap instructors at any time, at no cost.
  • Fast customer service: The last thing you want to do is be given the runaround by your driving school. Great schools are ready to answer your questions and resolve issues when they arise not days later. Midrive’s customer support team respond to chat and call queries in under a minute.
  • Unused lesson refund: Driving schools love to sell learners big, expensive packages. What they don’t like doing is refunding the remaining hours of a package when the learner passes earlier than they expected. Midrive refunds your unused hours when you pass, giving you all that sweet cash back. You deserve it!

Qualifications

When you’re researching driving schools, it’s important to find out what type of instructors they use. There are two types of instructors:

Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs): These are fully qualified driving instructors who have well-rounded skill sets and a wealth of experience. They have been taught and graded by instructor trainers and should be able to quote the result of their most recent grading. This will be A (high standard of instruction), B (sufficient level of instruction), or a fail (unsatisfactory level of instruction).

Potential Driving Instructors (PDIs): These are instructors still in training. They are unlikely to have the same level of technical knowhow and practical experience as an ADI. Cheap driving schools might use them, but you’re not going to get the best value for money.

A good driving school will match you with their best instructors, and rightly so. You don’t want to be stuck learning with another learner! Midrive uses ADIs exclusively, so our learners only get the highest quality instruction.

Instructor quality

Obviously, you want the highest quality instructor you can find. The question is: how do you know if a school has good instructors? One way to determine this is to look at the average number of instructors a learner is taught by before they pass.

This is significant in a few ways. Firstly, learning with a single instructor is more efficient, as the ‘getting to know each other’ time is reduced. Secondly, instructors are usually discarded because they’re unreliable, uncommunicative, or uncommitted to their students’ learning outcomes.

None of those are desirable, so it pays to find out what kind of ‘instructor turnover’ learners go through at a prospective driving school. This could be from information you find in reviews, get from recommendations, or ask of the school directly.

At Midrive, we only use the best instructors rated by learners like you. Our average is 1.3 instructors per learner, which means the vast majority of our learners stay with their first instructor until they pass their test. You deserve to do it as well!

Pass rates

Don’t believe the hype around pass rates! They’re easily manipulated, hard to verify, and based on unreliable data. Let’s talk a little about what we mean by ‘unreliable data’.

Imagine this, there are three learners at BB Driving School: Learner A does 40 hours of lessons before their test and passes first time. Learner B does 20 hours of lessons, fails, then does 20 more and passes the second time. Learner C does 10 hours of lessons before each test and passes on the fourth time.

All of these passes and failures have equal weighting on a school’s pass rate. Yet, the school had no control over when the learners took their test. In fact, the data shows that the school was pretty consistent in terms of its teaching quality: it took all three learners 40 hours of lessons to pass.

BB Driving School would have a pass rate of 43%, which isn’t great. But its pass time of 40 hours is actually below the UK average (47 hours). This shows that the standard of instruction at BB is, in fact, quite good. It also shows that pass rates don’t mean as much as we think!

P.S. Midrive has an average pass time of 30 hours, that’s 17 hours below the UK average!

Reviews

The internet is a fantastic resource for sourcing driving school reviews. The important thing is to make sure you use independent sources. Don’t just read the reviews on a school’s homepage as these will only be the best reviews they’ve received. And there’s no guarantee they weren’t written by the school itself!

The best places to find reliable reviews are sites like Driving School Reviews, Trustpilot, and Google. They allow you to find good and bad reviews, and give companies a chance to graciously own their failures. Often a company’s response to criticism is a better indicator of their customer service than the criticism itself!

Top tip: How to read reviews

Getting knowledge isn’t just a matter of opening up a site and reading. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and it pays to have a good filter for what is and isn’t relevant.

  • Read widely: We recommend using at least 3 different sources. The three sites listed above are a good start, but places like Facebook and Yell work as well. The important thing is that you trust the source.
  • Read the middle: 3-star reviews will be a considered mix of positives and negatives. These will give you a really good impression of what is most likely to go right and go wrong in a typical experience.
  • Read the top: 5-star reviews are good for understanding what a perfect scenario with a driving school looks like. Look at the percentage of 5-star reviews to get a rough estimate of how likely that is to happen to you.
  • Read the bottom: 1-star reviews will usually contain a range of worst case scenarios. Check if any of them are likely to apply to you, and look at the schools’ responses. Was it strictly their fault or a combination of factors?
  • Read a while: The amount of time that you read reviews will depend on how thorough you like to be and the quality of the information you find. Usually, you’ll get a feeling at some point that you’re ready to make a decision.

Types of driving schools

  • Automatic driving schools: Whilst there aren’t any driving schools that exclusively offer automatic driving lessons, some schools are better equipped to be ‘automatic driving schools’ than others. Generally, the larger the school, the more likely it is it’ll have automatic instructors with availability that suits your schedule.

  • Intensive driving schools: Most schools offer both regular and intensive driving courses. The difference is simply the length of time between lessons. Some schools might prefer offering intensive courses and thus refer to itself as an ‘intensive driving school’. Remember, this is often a business decision, not an educational one.

  • Crash course driving schools: These are often just intensive driving schools with another name. And although the term ‘crash course driving school’ doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, some people might prefer to get their learning done within a short timeframe. Again, most schools and instructors will offer crash courses if you ask.

  • Advanced driving schools: There are various types of advanced driving schools. These might be driving schools that offer pass plus courses, or courses that deal with specific scenarios. They could also be courses for people interested in driving professionally, or learning techniques used by racing and stunt drivers!

  • Not just car driving schools: They might be the most common, but car driving schools are not the only type out there. Motorcycle driving schools cover riding skills. Van driving schools offer courses for delivery and other professional drivers. And truck driving schools specialise in the use of industrial and intercity transport vehicles.

Comparing driving school prices

There are a lot of things in life where choosing the cheapest is simply the best option. Paper plates, water rates, mobile plans for your nan, none of these things require any more investment than the bare minimum. Driving schools though, they’re a different story entirely.

Some driving schools will offer unbelievable introductory prices. The prospect of cut-price driving lessons may seem compelling, but there’s always a catch. Usually the hours in introductory offers have to be used at certain times of the day or week. These may not fit your schedule.

Others are simply cheap driving schools all around. And that’s a catch in itself! Cheap driving schools that have abnormally low prices are probably using Potential Driving Instructors (PDIs) rather than Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs).

PDIs might be decent drivers themselves, but they’re still learning how to teach! They are cheaper to employ, though, and this allows schools to advertise cheaper rates than if they were using ADIs. If you had to learn a crucial life skill with an expensive test at the end of the course, which would you prefer?

Remember when you compare driving school prices that you get what you pay for. Going cheap sounds great, but you’ll learn much slower with a less experienced instructor. This means you’ll have to take more lessons, and maybe even fail the practical test. How much is all that going to cost you?

Our advice when you compare driving school prices is to simply find the best school you can and not worry about the price. Okay, if they’re charging £40 an hour that’s a bit extreme, but you really can, and should, put a price on quality when you’re talking about learning to drive.

How do I find the best driving school near me?

There’s no single best way to find a driving school near you, but rather a combination of factors that might land you the perfect driving school!

  • Friends’ recommendations: If your friend or relative has had a great experience learning to drive with a particular school in your area, then that is definitely a good place to start. If they passed first time after the experience, that’s even better!
  • Reviews and forums: Checking review sites like Trustpilot and local forums is a good way to get a wider selection of people’s opinions about local driving schools. Try looking on social media sites like Facebook for reviews and ratings as well.
  • Comparison sites: When you want to compare the finer details of local driving schools there’s no better place to go than comparison sites like Driving School Reviews. Here you can find information about price and teaching quality, as well as user reviews.
  • DVSA approved instructor directory: If you’re still looking for a local driving school after all that, you should try the DVSA Approved Instructor Directory. There are bound to be some lessons going in your area!

What’s the best driving school in 2019?

It’s hard to say definitely which is the best driving school in 2019, as there are a lot of different factors. That said, we’ve tried by putting together the latest Trustpilot scores! Note that AA don’t use Trustpilot so they aren’t figured.

Midrive
88%
Red
84%
Bill Plant
80%
BSM
72%

How it works

1. Book

Choose a package, select your availability and pay a £25 deposit.

2. Match

Get matched with an instructor within 24 hours.

3. Learn

Start your lessons. The remaining payment is taken when your first lesson is confirmed.

Find out more

See prices near you