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Passing your driving test faster

Ryan Sismey from Spalding (seen here) shows how it is possible to pass your driving test faster using BIG TOM.  From initially contacting us on 20/9/2017 he has passed his driving test today… just 4 weeks later.

This is what Ryan says about his BIG TOM experience: “Tom and Tara made everything as stressless as possible.  I would recommend for first time drivers and those looking to re-take their driving test.”

Tom Ingram was Ryan’s driving instructor and said: “This is always good to see how we can convert negatives into life changing positives. Ryan used another driving school for his first driving test attempt but has been bowled over that he passed his test on the 5th day of his BIG TOM intensive driving course. Being in possession of his driving licence is going to be a massive deal for Ryan and his work commitments in Kings Lynn and Peterborough. His course covered driving in Boston, Grantham, Spalding, Peterborough, Oundle and the A1 and was absolutely ideal for his particular needs.  Tara and her test booking service once again shows our customers that when it is appropriate, customers can pass their driving test on Day 5 of the BIG TOM intensive driving course.”


Book your intensive driving course now 01775 660 525

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Tara (seen here) runs BIG TOM Admin, and knows all there is to know about how BIG TOM intensive courses work for customers.  Here in this blog she gives answers to some of the more common questions that customers ask her:

“Do I have to come to your classrooms”

No, here at BIG TOM we run a pupil pick up/drop off service from home for the in-car training.  You will be provided with a very reliable and comprehensive online theory study resource which the vast majority of our customers tell us works out just fine for them. I have known for us to provide more 1:1 support should it be needed though.


 “Do I have to be up to a certain driving standard before I can come on your course?

We do not place any conditions at all on who can come on our courses. Far from it.  I have known pupils from all kinds of backgrounds regarding lack of previous experience still get a great deal from the course.


“I hear from friends that we would just drive on test routes.  Isn’t that boring?”

It may be true of others, but at BIG TOM it certainly isn’t true.  I’ve seen on the blog here, that pupils travel all over the place to different towns and even counties, so being bored isn’t a problem on a BIG TOM intensive driving course.


“Can you tell me why others are so much more expensive than BIG TOM?”

It’s not for me to comment on other intensive driving course providers. All I know is that BIG TOM customers recognise the value and quality they receive from the training offered.


“Is there a height restriction to fit in your cars?”

We have had pupils as tall as 6’8″ sit comfortably in the seat.  The seat adjusts up and down, and the steering wheel adjusts in and out as well as up and down.


“Does the cost of the course cover all the test fees?”

Yes, we are currently taking £23 off the price of our course fee which is normally £797.  So right now you can pick up our course for £774.  By the way, it makes no difference to us if our customers want a weekday or weekend driving test.  Although the fee from the DVSA differs, we handle all that side of things for our customers and you pay not a penny more.


“I am aware of problems booking driving tests, can you help at all?”

This is one of the services that we provide in the package.  You concentrate on the driving, let me worry about the booking of driving tests.


“My friends say that you buy drinks when you are driving around, is that right?”

Yes that is true. Tom goes to a lot of effort in providing a relaxing and positive learning environment.  That includes giving you resources to help you learn, as well as making sure you get the chance for loo breaks and yes, drinks are provided free of charge.


“Do you guarantee a pass?”

Our customers come to us from a wide range of previous driving experience, learning difficulties and sometimes even past anxieties – so therefore it would not only be misleading to talk of guarantees but it would also place a great deal of unnecessary pressure on our customers if they felt that they were not achieving what they should be at any given time in the course.  At BIG TOM the emphasis is on providing the resources and quality training that helps people to pass the driving test much quicker than the historical “pay as you go” method.  But no, talk of guarantees is very unrealistic and unhelpful.


“If I need more help after my course, can you provide it?”

Certainly. Customers who have attended the intensive course are given priority. We are very much aware that it is all about successful outcomes for our customers – that is why we are so popular


Tara can be contacted direct on 0775 607 1464 with any other questions that you might have about your BIG TOM 5 day intensive driving course.

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Distance travelled for 1 second at 30 miles per hour

Stanley was the star student at this morning’s road safety talk at Bourne Grammar School.  Here are his workings out to discover how far a car will travel for 1 second at 30 miles per hour.  Students were asked by Tom Ingram (Owner of BIG TOM Driving School) how long it takes to read a text message, then to write a reply so that they could begin to recognise how far a vehicle travels when the driver takes their eyes off the road to look at a mobile.

Tom Ingram said “The students never let me down.  They engage wonderfully in the topic of road safety and it is great because it really gets them thinking.”

Students were introduced to the idea of intended and unintended driving behaviours, and external influencers to attitudes and beliefs regarding road safety.  Pupils were encouraged to consider how important it is to ensure their driving training is meaningful and personal to them.

Tom Ingram continued “My thanks go to Mrs Shales from the grammar school; her contributions before and after my yearly presentations really do reinforce the message that I am giving these students at such a key age.”

Tom Ingram would be very happy to assist other schools by providing presentations on road safety, please email info@BIGTOM.org.uk     



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Assisting Others Learning to Drive

Tom Ingram (Owner) of BIG TOM Driving School has created a YouTube channel for people learning to drive that has developed into a haven of authentic, constructive Q&A for any learners which is why this educational (not entertainment) channel has over 1000 subscribers and the video view tally is over 500,000.  Tom Ingram mentions an important point about how this is assisting others learning to drive:

“A chap by the name of Adam W recently got in touch with me via the BIG TOM YouTube channel.  He is not a BIG TOM Intensive Driving Course customer but as you can see from viewing the videos, I get many questions from non-BIG TOM customers and always try to help if I can.  I think the exchange between myself and Adam is worthy of expanding on, because I genuinely do feel many Learner drivers out there could learn a lot from his experience.

Adam has had 2 goes at the driving test, failing both and contacted me via this video, you will see him on the comments under it.  He took the rather unusual but brilliant step of re-tracing his latest test by recording the point of failure on his own driving video and using Google Maps to show what happened.  I watched the entire video (11 minutes) and the point of failure involved turning right at a cross-roads junction controlled by traffic lights.  If you don’t already know, this scenario is a “high risk” situation, many accidents occur across the UK when traffic crosses oncoming traffic as happens when turning right, from major road into minor road.  There were a couple of issues that contributed to Adam’s driving test fail.  The first was a knowledge gap whereby he did not realise that when he was sat in the middle of the junction waiting to turn right but being held up by oncoming traffic (that has priority in this situation), even though the secondary traffic light changed from green to red, he MUST still turn right when it is safe to do so.  What Adam did was just wait there in the junction thinking he was being held on a red traffic light – not so….. knowledge gap of the “rules of the road”.  The examiner verbally intervened to tell Adam to clear the junction, at which point, the very moment the examiner intervened, Adam had failed his driving test.  (Any verbal or physical intervention by an examiner to maintain safety will result in a test fail).

But the other issue related to Adam’s expectation of how other road users should be assisting him due to him being in a driving school car on a driving test.  He was very displeased that none of the oncoming traffic paused for him, to allow him to cross them.  I attempted to point out to Adam that his is an unrealistic expectation for a number of reasons:

1.       It is against the law to stop on a green light to allow a driver in the middle of the junction to turn right.

2.      Other road users behind and around the driver who paused would be very confused and agitated that the driver had paused on a green light as it goes against convention.

3.      Where does this act of supposed kindness end?  Would the driver had continued to pause if there had been a stream of vehicles waiting to turn right? 

I sent over a link to Adam that showed another BIG TOM video that explains about primary and secondary traffic lights and went to some length in 2 messages (taking about an hour of my time in total) to explain to Adam why it was necessary for him to get his driving standard up to the level where he was able to deal with any situation that might crop up by applying the correct “rules of the road” and also not expecting other road users to break the law in order to accommodate him taking a driving test.  Unfortunately, despite my request for Adam to link his video up, instead what he did was remove it which is a great shame because that experience he had and my responses would help no end of other viewers.  His removal of the video also goes against the “spirit” of goodwill that has made the BIG TOM YouTube channel so positive and constructive.  Clearly, I have no responsibility or duty to even respond to the likes of Adam, let alone give him guidance to help educate him but that did not stop me from attempting to engage with him.

BIG TOM customers on my 5 day intensive driving course are also provided with 13 exclusive videos which are for their benefit only.  But I would encourage any viewer, whether a BIG TOM customer or not, to ask away with any questions you might have about any matter regarding learning to drive.”

Tom has provided a video of Top 10 things you really must know before taking a driving test – take a look at it here, it is yours….. for free.

Want to get your driving licence faster with BIG TOM?  Book now 0800 689 4174



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Personalised Learning

No-one but you knows how you best like to learn

Henry on his BIG TOM 5 Day Intensive Driving Course at Peterborough is really embracing all the good learning techniques being provided to him by the BIG TOM resources.  This photo is a graphic example of what an effective personalised learning environment looks like.  His driving instructor Tom Ingram says this:

“Our customers are provided with video resources pre-course which introduces to them ideas for personalising the learning environment.  In so many ways it is demonstrable how they have assisted Henry.  He embraces many of the techniques which help him to learn, and accelerate the learning process.  When you combine that approach to personalised learning with an openness from the driving instructor to adapt teaching to the pupil, you really are firing on all cylinders.  Of course we can’t force our customers to make the most out of their time with us, but all I can say with experience is that for those who do, it can only be beneficial to those pupils.”

The BIG TOM approach to driving training puts the pupil at the centre of the learning environment, so that when there is effective communication within a working relationship that has aligned goals, the process is enriched to make for more positive outcomes.

Want to get your driving licence faster with BIG TOM?  Book now 0800 689 4174



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Jess can drive to Peterborough Regional College

Jessica Buckley (seen here) passed her driving test at Peterborough this morning on her first attempt.

Tom Ingram, her driving instructor with BIG TOM said:

“Big congratulations to Jess on a lovely pass with just 3 minors.  She finished her BIG TOM Intensive Driving Course last Friday, and here she is the following week, passing her driving test on the first attempt.  All the credit goes to Jess for accomplishing her goal, she had no previous driving experience on public roads so to turn things round in these timescales proves how beneficial BIG TOM can be to our customers.  She can now travel to her college by car”

Jess who lives in Sawtry said this about her experience with BIG TOM:

“I found the 5 day intense course very! helpful.  Each day we worked on things I found challenging and they improved very fast….    The pick up and drop off service was better than I ever hoped even when I changed it last minute where I was supposed to be collected from.  Big Toms driving school is definitely getting recommended.  He always had such positive things to say with the feedback.  I feel like I am now confident and safe to drive on the road.  And Tara at the Big Tom admin is so efficient at what she does” 

 Want to get your driving licence faster with BIG TOM?  Book now 0800 689 4174



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BIG TOM Gift Tokens

Here at BIG TOM providing value to customers is a big deal.  We REALLY pay attention to it!  Feedback from customers is important and comes in a variety of methods.  But as we have discovered over the years, receiving feedback is not the clever bit, ACTING on it is what makes our 5 Day Intensive Driving Course so popular.

Customers desire enjoyable training sessions, effective communication, dependable service, value for money, and a non-pressured learning environment.  The service that is provided here at BIG TOM is ever evolving and being refined to appeal to as many customers as possible.  We do not pre-select who is allowed to come on our course.  We arrive when we say we are going to, train as we say we are going to train and adapt when our customers tell us we need to.  It is this open, two way communication that has resulted in a level of service that is truly a market leader.  We encourage you to “compare” us on that commitment – we will throw in a theory test fee if you compare our benefits with our competitors. 

BIG TOM Christmas and birthday gift tokens are just one example of how we listened to you.  A wonderful present to give someone; taking the hassle away from you but giving your nearest and dearest our popular intensive driving course (weekday or weekend) is a truly spectacular gift.

No need to trouble yourself with the timings of the course, your gift token can be presented and the lucky recipient will be fully supported every step of the way by BIG TOM admin.

 Call Tara now on Freephone 0800 689 4174



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Four practical tips for learning to drive

Book your BIG TOM 5 Day Intensive Driving Course 0800 689 4174

This video offers you 4 practical tips for learning to drive.  The content here will be beneficial because it is practical advice that has been collected after helping dozens of pupils pass their driving test.  The benefit of “no feet”, how to look after yourself on your intensive driving course, the new driving test and parking, and applying theory knowledge.  All packaged up in one neat video!  Do look out for your special invite to the BIG TOM online webinar for free Q&A about all aspects of learning to drive.


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Use of technology assisted driving aids on the driving test

At our last online Q&A support group for BIG TOM pupils, it was asked if it would be acceptable to use a privately owned car for the driving test if it was fitted with rear facing reversing cameras.  For the benefit of all, here is the answer:

This camera may be used on a driving test as long as it is not the primary focus of the pupil.  As with mirrors, candidates on a driving test should not be seen to be staring at either a mirror or a rear view camera – as long as they are used as an aid, then it is fine.  The message really is to ensure that you are making all round effective observations.  Staring at a reversing camera on your dashboard, while reversing and there being a child approaching your vehicle from the side is not effective observations.

As was stated in the support group session, cars fitted with electronic parking brake, parking distance sensors or hill-start assist are also allowed on a driving test.  There is a whole load of useful information about the requirements of the car used for a driving test right here

Dash cams can also be used on a driving test, but they must not be recording footage facing inside the car or recording audio.

When it comes to vehicle self-parking features though, it does appear that is a step too far for the DVSA.  This is what they have to say about the use of them on a driving test:

Car manufacturers are now producing vehicles with ‘self-parking’ features, which when activated automatically steer the vehicle into a parking bay or space by the kerb.
This technology is becoming more common and it is likely that some of these vehicles will eventually be presented for test.
If any vehicle fitted with a ‘self-parking’ feature is presented for test the test should be conducted in the normal way, however, vehicles fitted with these electronic devices must be capable of being switched off/de-activated when carrying out manoeuvres. Candidates must complete their manoeuvres manually. Vehicles with parking distance sensors are acceptable as this is merely a safety feature.

Any intensive driving course pupils of BIG TOM Driving School are welcome to join the free online Q&A support groups at any time. It is a relaxed, friendly and open opportunity to ask any question you like about any aspect of learning to drive.

BIG TOM Driving School  Enquiries: Admin@BIGTOM.org.uk  Sales: 07756 071 464



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Hope as a motivation in learning

In this blog from Tom Ingram (Owner of BIG TOM Driving School) he discusses the importance of driving instructor – pupil working relationships that nurture hope.

The effectiveness of a learning environment comes down to the level of engagement with the pupil.  If whatever is being learnt does not “mean” anything to the pupil, then quite simply it is not being learnt.  In the driving training industry this point is often overlooked where trainers mistake a pupil’s willingness to “obey” to instruction as learning – it is not, it is just that, compliance.  Humans are too complex by nature to assume that just because they momentarily comply with the desires of a driving instructor they are learning road safety skills and techniques. 

There are many variables that affect driving behaviour and it is very important that a driving instructor does everything possible to tap into the potential influencers of driving behaviour when they work with a pupil.  In the driving instructor training that I provide, emphasis is placed on the important cognitive aspect of intentional v non-intentional behaviours.

Likewise, there are many variables that will affect a working relationship between driving instructor and pupil.  Open, honest and clear communication based on mutual respect is absolutely essential.  Pupils will come in to the process of learning to drive at different levels of previous experience, knowledge and skills.  They bring with them their own specific needs and potential barriers to learning.  It should be the duty of any professional driving instructor to do anything and everything possible to align with the hopes and desires of their pupils whilst also constructively assisting with any issues relating to anxiety or character traits that might affect learning outcomes.  Victoria McGeer speaks beautifully on this subject here.

The message I would want to give my customers is that what the BIG TOM intensive driving course provides you with is opportunity.  You are given choices of engaging in online Q&A group sessions like we did yesterday, driving videos, internal reflection, self-evaluation and much more.  It is ultimately the choice of the pupil as to how much they engage.  But they are not alone.  They are not fighting a lone battle.  It is massively important that any pupil can sense that they are being supported and offered a meaningful, effective learning experience that is based around positivity rather than criticism. 

BIG TOM Driving School  Enquiries: Admin@BIGTOM.org.uk  Sales: 07756 071 464



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