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Are You Ready for the Standards Check

March 7, 20142 Comments

On April 7th 2014 the old Check Test system will be replaced with the new Standards Check. There has been lots of talk about this amongst driving instructors (ADI’s), lots of rumours and lots of confusion! So this week Blaine’s video blog is about the Standards Check, his thoughts on it and what he is being told by the DVSA (What the DSA is now called) Section Managers.

Last week Blaine and Lou hosted a webinar on about the Standards Check test so check that out.

Yesterdays webinar was a follow on from this where Lou Walsh spoke about Mind Maps and Scaling for the new Standards Check, so be sure to check this out also.

In this video blog Blaine talks about the DVSA saying “do what you have always done”, but what does this mean? Blaine also talks about using the Standards Check as a good opportunity to develop your skills and CPD. As well as this find out about how SE’s are now able to mark driving instructors who use coaching techniques such as mind mapping and how they can now reward you for this. Lastly Blaine talks about the rumour of coming off of subject and what not to do!

Please give me your thoughts in the comments box at the bottom of this page and if you think your friends on Facebook, Twitter will find this interesting then please use the buttons below the video to share.


Video Transcription

Welcome to this week’s blog about the new Standards Check. We could go on for hours about it but I just want to go through some main points with you.

When I have been to talks about the Standards Check the first thing that Sector Managers say about it is “just always do what you have always done and don’t change anything”. I have spoken to a few Sector Managers after these talks and basically what they are saying is to do what you have always done if you have got good grades and you are enjoying the job etc. If not, then look at changing your techniques. So do what you have always done if it is right but this is also an opportunity to change if some things are not right.

Lots of people are worried about the coaching side of things for the Standards Check. There is coaching and there is client centred learning and they are not necessarily the same thing. It is worth having a look into the difference; there is some information on my website about this. We are also doing a series of webinars on the subject which are free to join and cover various aspects of coaching that will be helpful for the Standards Check and ongoing teaching.

If you have always got a grade 5 or 6, well done, but I would recommend you continue to develop. I am a grade 6 but I am developing my teaching methods every day. I spent half an hour on the phone to a Sector Manager today talking about the Standards Check to develop my knowledge and skills.

A Check Test / Standards Check is always a good time to look at your CPD and your instructing techniques. I also think that once you have done a Standards Check it is a good time to look at your techniques as you have a sheet of paper marked with all of the areas that you could improve on and you could take this to a trainer like myself and develop the skills in certain areas. For example, if you get marked down on the client centred side of the check you could talk to someone that does that type of thing and see if you can improve on this area.
The main thing is don’t panic! ADIs are getting Standards Check dates coming in now and I am getting phone calls on an hourly basis about it. Don’t panic about it any more than you would have before, if that makes any sense.

They are looking for some different things so if you are doing things that are slightly different that is fine. For example, if you are doing mind maps or scaling you can use these techniques and be marked up for them. Saying that, you don’t have to use these techniques, but if you don’t it is possible that it could affect your grade. It won’t be the difference between a pass and a fail though. However if you do use the mind mapping and scaling techniques badly it will affect your grade also.

Click here to link to the webinar we held on Thursday 6th March which covers those subjects.

To summarise –

  • Don’t panic
  • Always look to improve your skills
  • Look at using some new techniques – although not two hours before your next Standards Check!

There have been rumours going around that you will fail your Standards Check if you don’t stick to the subject agreed for the lesson. For example, if it is agreed that you will be working on roundabouts and they muck up something like a right turn at a traffic light then you should ignore this and carry on to do the roundabouts because there is an agreement made that you must fulfil to tick the boxes about client centred learning.

This is not the case! I have just checked this with the DSA and you could be marked down in lots of boxes if you don’t change the plan. The plan should be changed with an agreement with the pupil so not by saying “That was rubbish traffic lights so we are going to do those now instead of roundabouts” as although you may still pass you could be marked down for planning etc. But, if you have an agreement with the pupil to now work on traffic lights instead of roundabouts by you talking it through for example, “how do you feel about those traffic lights?” “How could we improve that?” “What skills are we going to use at traffic lights that we are going to use at roundabouts?” This is connecting the skills together and getting an agreement to change the lesson subject. Then you will be expected to go off and practice those skills in an amended agreement. If you don’t amend the agreement you will be marked down on the planning side of things, the health and safety and risk management by letting them do things that they are not capable of doing. So if you come off the subject that you have agreed between you for your Standards Check then you must adapt and agree it between you.

Author: Blaine Walsh

Filed in: Standards Check Test
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About the Author ()

Blaine Walsh is the owner of, has been a driving instructor trainer for 15 years and a driving instructor for over 20 years. When he first qualified Blaine admits his was not a very good instructor, became disillusioned, was not retaining pupils and not making any money, so he quit full time teaching. After spending time self-reflecting, he had a light bulb moment and realised that he needed to put more explanation, effort and enthusiasm into teaching learners. Since then he has not looked back and is now regarded as one of the top trainers in the country.
  • Eric Wing

    Good evening Blaine I’ve been following your pages since I started to become an ADI,I found your videos very helpful to gain my green badge.I found the part 3 an unnatural test took my first check and achieved a 4.Just taken my new check test and achieved an A,I found the test to be as natural as could be really enjoyed it.The preparation I did was my 5 years of being an ADI and as my daughter is a teacher I listened to her way of lesson planning a lesson just seeing it from another prospective and everything dropped into place. I’m glad I chose this profession for my later years Regards Eric and thank you for all the information you put online a pleasure to read and digest.

  • Shahida

    hello there
    I live in Birmingham I have a check test coming up this wil be my second check test but I was thinking of taking my husband he has a full licence but what I’m confused is what subjects do I do as I’ve never taken a full licence holder my previous check test I took a pupil. I’m not sure shall I take a pupil or my husband. If I took a pupil what subject should I do ?
    Kind regards
    Mrs jamil

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