Monthly Archives: September 2016

The Tide of Life…..

In this blog, Tom Ingram (Owner of BIG TOM Driving School) explores why some drivers cannot help but speed.


“The tide of life, swift always in its course,

May run in cities with a brisker force,

But somewhere with a current so serene,

Or half so clear, as in the rural scene.”   

William Cowper 1782


The first point to make is that there is speeding, and there is speeding.  There is doing 33mph in a 30mph, and there is doing 60mph in a 30mph.  Why do we speed?  Now there is a question.


The DfT have just released data of the 2015 National Travel Survey which states that 60% of journeys between just 1 and 2 miles of distance, were made by car or van in England in 2015.  Only 32% of the journeys involving that distance were made by foot.  If on the other hand we talk about the journeys under a mile in distance, the car and van brigade account for 21% compared to 76% on foot.  Cyclists I’m afraid only account for 2-3% on both counts.  But the longer term trend of modes of travel suggests that cars and motorbike usage continues to increase compared to the mid-1990’s and walking/cycling is actually decreasing.

This is significant because it tends to confirm this unending quest in modern day living for speed – time really is of the essence.  It seems to matter not in what aspect of daily living we turn our attention, the fact is, that we all seem to be constantly battling against time.  Industrialised farming techniques fuelled on by the ever increasing global population demand are having adverse effects on our natural resources.  Livestock is being reared and slaughtered in ever decreasing timescales – the end product of which increasingly defies what nature intended for us.  Technology is needing to be ever quicker, processor speeds in gadgets, multi-tasking of applications; humans appear to be dependent on the need to interact with technology even in the quietness of their home, or while driving, or while eating a meal in a restaurant with family, or even on holiday.  We simply cannot sit back, breathe, rest, daydream, mingle, read, savour, there is no time apparently for such activity.  Working hours are long, in fact, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ever properly switch off from work such is our inter-connectedness via technology.  Our children are doing record breaking amounts of homework which teachers are then having to find time to mark.  The activity of eating a meal is taking less and less time on average – have you seen how busy the McDonalds is in Spalding on a Sunday?  Look at how the Japanese are dealing with the activity of fuelling up on nourishment – the brevity is truly breath-taking.

Constantly striving to cram more and more busy activity into our daily life is de rigueur.  It is not altogether clear why that might be the case, it doesn’t appear to be having too many benefits to our perceived satisfaction of life.  Our overall mental and physical health is being negatively affected.  Marriages and family life is increasingly breaking down with alarming effect on our young ones.  Community cohesion and positive, quality interaction is dwindling.  The efficiency of our productivity levels at work with all this “heat” do not compare favourably with other nations.  All in all, one has to wonder, what on earth we are all doing?  There appears to be much frenetic activity with very little positive gain.

And so, in this regard, perhaps it is not surprising that speed limits just cannot be tolerated.  In much the same way that drivers simply cannot concentrate on the one activity of driving, they just have to be on a call, or texting, or updating a status while they drive.  We have lost the self-discipline of just doing one thing at a time, in our own time, and well.  I recall when I was in primary school 40 odd years ago, my favourite time of the school day was right at the very end, when my teacher would have us all sit down in front of her on the floor, and she would read to us.  I can picture her now.  I couldn’t have recognised it at the time, but it was a time of relaxation, wonder, stillness, calm, often humour, imagination, and oneness – at that moment in time, we were at one with each other; this is instinctive behaviour for humans, this need for feeling part of a whole.  With the passing of 40 years, the activities that we are doing now are the precise opposite, we are often eating alone, on technology alone, playing an internet game alone, and with the ever increasing rate of divorce, sleeping alone.  The art of conversation, reading body language and socialising is quite frankly becoming obsolete.

Take our “Bake Off” for a good example of the need to do things in good time and well.  The moment we start to cook and set a timescale (even if it is a 3 hour period allowed), it becomes very evident that ingredients just need time. Try as we might, you can’t rush good baking, just as you can’t rush being in good company, you cannot rush appreciating a beautiful painting or admiring a piece of music.  When we force our body to function in a faster way than is natural for each and every one of us, we are depriving our feelings of contentment, satisfaction and worth.  These vital ingredients of self-nourishment cannot be condensed into a 2 minute schedule; you cannot shortcut the process of sensing wonder when you are absorbed in an opera, or a school play that your child is in, or the delight of a conversation with a soul mate.

But with driving, even when drivers have their self-awareness raised as to the non-benefits of speeding, it seems it is still too tempting.  Drivers are being re-educated in their thousands about the chances of survival for a schoolchild if the impact is at 20, 30 or 40 mph; they are being told that the actual period of time they are saving on these 1-2 mile journeys where they speed over the limit is literally, only seconds; they are seeing the graphic videos of the consequences of texting when driving – but it is not enough.  We live in a culture that is heavily controlled by time, the human mind is incapable of changing belief, outlook, attitude or behaviour.  If we were being rational, sensible, logical and measured, we would all slow down, and breathe….. but we are too busy for such niceties.

BIG TOM Driving School provides 5 Day Intensive Driving Courses and PAYG driving lessons in Peterborough, Grantham, Lincoln, Sleaford, Stamford, Boston, Spalding and Bourne.  Contact us HERE


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Driving in Bourne with my Fiance

Lizzie from Bourne took the courageous decision to arrange for her fiance Graham to join us on her driving lesson. Read why here……

Lizzie’s driving instructor Tom from BIG TOM explains the benefits of having someone accompany you on your driving lesson:

“We had a fabulous 3 hour driving session where Lizzy arranged for her fiance Graham to join us.  This is known to be beneficial because it is precisely what will be happening when Lizzie passes her driving test.  It is referred to as “Trip related context and considerations” within the Goals for Driver Education matrix.  Graham was genuinely amazed at how smooth the drive was, he does sometimes suffer with travel sickness, but due to the fact that the ride was as comfortable as it was, he very happily contributed to the entire 3 hour session.  And the real benefit of this is what effect that has on Lizzie, hearing her fiance sum up her driving in that way – it really is extremely powerful.  It is recognised that passengers represent a significant change in the dynamics inside the car environment – and being aware of that fact, and importantly, knowing that you can manage the situation effectively is important for self-awareness and confidence levels.”

BIG TOM Driving School does routinely provide opportunity for pupils to become aware and develop the characteristics presented within the upper 2 levels of the GDE Matrix.  This is demonstrated in many different ways and is very effective in broadening the scope of driving training to include not just the knowledge and skills of safe driving but also identifying the risk factors of driving and developing the self-awareness of what these challenges mean to a pupil personally.  Tom concludes….

“Come and experience exciting and inspiring driving training sessions that help you achieve your goals and are good fun too!”

Book now for “pay as you go driving lessons” or the BIG TOM Intensive Driving Course for Bourne residents on 01778 309 773

BIG TOM Driving School provides 5 Day Intensive Driving Courses and PAYG driving lessons in Peterborough, Grantham, Lincoln, Sleaford, Stamford, Boston, Spalding and Bourne.  Contact us HERE


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My Dad watched my driving lesson in Bourne

Here is Maisie Lord from Bourne, having just done a 3 hour driving lesson with her Dad in the back, watching all of her driving!  The prospect of that might fill you in fear but as Tom Ingram (Owner of BIG TOM Driving School) explains, there is much to be said for this……

“I appreciate that the timing of this needs to be right, but there is so much to be gained in confidence by having a member of your family or a friend observe you driving.  This is something that my driving school positively encourages.  This blog here shows how a close friend of Grace observing from the back produced magical results for Grace, and this blog here shows two pupils who are unknown to each other observing their driving again with great results.  All of us learn best when we learn with other people, sharing opinions, experiences and ideas.   This is recognised to be effective for creating positive learning environments.  I have the utmost respect for Maisie for inviting her Dad to come along, and just as much for her Dad for taking the time out of his busy schedule to invest in his daughters driving training.”

Book now pay as you go driving lessons or the BIG TOM Intensive Driving Course for Bourne residents on 01778 309 773

BIG TOM Driving School provides 5 Day Intensive Driving Courses and PAYG driving lessons in Peterborough, Grantham, Lincoln, Sleaford, Stamford, Boston, Spalding and Bourne.  Contact us HERE


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Showcase Driving Lesson in Peterborough

If you are looking for the spectacular, a top drawer, showcase driving lesson in Peterborough then BIG TOM Driving School (01733 306 016 ) can help you.  Tom Ingram (Owner) explains more in this blog.

“It is understandable to think that all driving schools will be the same, all driving instructors will be doing the same thing but as with any provider in the service industry, there will be service, and there will be first class service…. it is no different with driving training.  Do we find all teachers to be the same? Do we have a favourite hair stylist? Do we find some doctors are better than others?

In all walks of life, we are bombarded with varying degrees of customer service; sometimes it is not so obvious what draws us to the successful professionals.  It can be compassion, understanding, actively listening, it can be something as simple as eye contact and a smile.  But whatever it is, it is real, it will have been demonstrated consistently enough to prove it is not chance – there is some kind of connection that simply makes us feel comfortable, relaxed, calm, happy and satisfied.

I understand what this means to our customers, they are looking for reassurance that the training will be safe, they want to enjoy the time in the car.  Our customers want to achieve their goals, and they want to enjoy the experience too – that is what customer service is all about in my book.  I have collected review after review from my customers, and this theme is repeatedly expressed.”

Are you happy with the level of customer service you are receiving?  Do you want to feel good about taking driving lessons?  Contact us on Peterborough 01733 306 016  We await your call.

BIG TOM Driving School provides 5 Day Intensive Driving Courses and PAYG driving lessons in Peterborough, Grantham, Lincoln, Sleaford, Stamford, Boston, Spalding and Bourne.  Contact us HERE


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5 Day Intensive Driving Course in Peterborough Roundabouts

Are you finding Peterborough roundabouts tricky? The BIG TOM 5 day intensive driving course in Peterborough (01733 306 016 ) is taking bookings now.

Here in this video, you get the opportunity to see in the comfort of your own home, no less than 41 approaches to Peterborough roundabouts.  Other driving schools are recommending this video for their customers!  This is an amazing resource that demonstrates how BIG TOM Driving School provides more value to its customers.  Stopping unnecessarily on roundabouts? Finding it hard to tell where other vehicles are going? Not getting time to work out where you need to go?  Finding some of the roundabouts really confusing?  BIG TOM has a history of helping customers get their driving licence quicker – our customer reviews are 100% authentic

Get more value for your driving lessons, call us now about our popular 5 day intensive driving course in Peterborough on 01733 306 016 or email us 


Read more →


3 Special Tips for Spalding Learners

BIG TOM Driving School has been providing driving lessons in Spalding for several years.  In this blog, we have 3 of the best pieces of advice that we can give any Learner drivers in Spalding to help them achieve their goal.

  1. Get your driving licence in a timescale that suits you.  This does not automatically mean as fast as you can, although BIG TOM Driving School does provide an extremely effective 5 Day Intensive Driving Course.  It can also mean as slow as you like too.  This is a commonly misunderstood point.  We provide our customers choice as to the rate that they want to learn to drive so that it fits in with their learning preferences.  Just one example of how BIG TOM Driving School puts the pupil at the heart of the learning experience.
  2. Do not settle for long delays booking your driving test.  You will see countless examples on this blog how we get our customers driving tests at a time that suits their needs.  You really do not have to settle for a second class service when booking your driving test – with BIG TOM we work tirelessly to jump these waiting time queues.  Just one example of how BIG TOM Driving School makes the extra effort for our customers.
  3. We provide automatic discounts.  No ifs and buts, no conditions, no traps – we will let you know BEFORE YOU HAVE TO ASK, if you are entitled to an automatic discount.

We even provide videos of driving lessons in Spalding for you to see!  Do you want to get more for your money?  Contact us on Spalding 01775 660 525 NOW

BIG TOM Driving School provides 5 Day Intensive Driving Courses and PAYG driving lessons in Peterborough, Grantham, Lincoln, Sleaford, Stamford, Boston, Spalding and Bourne.  Contact us HERE


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Decide how you like to learn to drive

Tom Ingram (Owner of BIG TOM Driving School) has re-visited Bourne Grammar School to present to 175 Year 12 students about learning to drive and road safety in Lincolnshire.

“My thanks go to Mrs Shales from the school for inviting me once again to her school to provide this talk to Year 12’s.  I get so much out of these visits, as it enables me to tap into the thoughts and feelings of this age group.  It is recognised that the more engagement my profession can have on these young adults, the more chance we have developing successful outcomes for road safety.

We started with the traditional “boys v girls” driving around Elsea Park, Bourne using one of my driving videos from the BIG TOM Driving School YouTube channel.  It involves no less than 22 volunteers!  Once again, and this happens every year, the girls managed to out-perform the boys to score an impressive 174 over the boys 155.  This exercise is a great demonstration of the necessary skills needed to manage risk when taking driving lessons – making sure the relationship between driving instructor and pupil has good, clear, timely communication at the heart of it.

Another student called Harry then role-played with me to much amusement of the audience, where it was shown how important it is for the relationship between driving instructor and pupil to be entirely centred to the needs of the pupil.  Harry did a great job in role-playing and then gave his feedback to everyone how the actions of the driving instructor made him feel.  It was a great opportunity to reflect on how taking responsibility for the learning process provides successful outcomes.

I introduced the students to the concept of the “Goals for Driver Education” matrix and put the driving test into context of that matrix.  It is recognised that by exposing and developing these higher order cognitive skills with “critical thinking” new drivers can begin to appreciate how risk and self-evaluation are essential for post-driving test safe driving.

We then had a general Q&A session based around road safety on Lincolnshire roads in particular, discussing the risks they create.

It was another valuable experience for me, I look forward to the day when my driving school can offer these young adults an opportunity to drive on some under 17 driving experience days – a goal that I set myself for this year.”    


BIG TOM Driving School provides 5 Day Intensive Driving Courses and PAYG driving lessons in Peterborough, Grantham, Lincoln, Sleaford, Stamford, Boston, Spalding and Bourne.  Contact us HERE


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More Driving Test Passes at Peterborough

Freddie bags himself a driving licence at Peterborough in just 2 weeks!

Freddie Durrant from Stamford got in contact with BIG TOM just 2 weeks ago, and is over the moon with passing his driving test this morning in Peterborough.  He was trained with the trademark care and attention that BIG TOM Driving Instructor Chris Jubb is well known for.

Freddie says of his experience with Chris:

“Chris was absolutely brilliant.  I play for Stamford Rugby Club so my driving licence will help for away games.”

BIG TOM has plenty of previous experience helping Stamford residents get their driving licences.  The Watkinson brothers, Liam and Jamie, both passed first time too after taking driving lessons in Stamford and their parents said this about BIG TOM:

“Hi Tom, just thought I’d let you know that Jamie passed his test this morning.  I’d like to thank you for everything you’ve done for him.  You have a 100% record in this house, first Liam and now Jamie.  Thank you.”  Mark and Lorraine Watkinson from Stamford


NEED YOUR DRIVING LICENCE?  Call us NOW 0800 689 4174

BIG TOM Driving School provides 5 Day Intensive Driving Courses in Peterborough, Grantham, Lincoln, Sleaford, Stamford, Boston, Spalding and Bourne.  Contact us HERE


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Driving Test Centre Pass Marks

Latest figures for 2015-2016

The very latest update of driving test statistics has just been released by the DVSA, here is a summary relevant (by locations) for BIG TOM Driving School customers.

The number of driving tests conducted for April 2015 – March 2016 remains equal with the year before at 1,500,000.  The overall pass rate also remains constant at around 47%.  Of those 1,500,000 driving tests, 732,000 were 1st attempts, so there was an overall pass rate for people taking their driving test for the first time of 47.5%.

Driving test pass rate statistics continue to vary dramatically across the UK; from just 30% in Belvedere, London all the way up to a staggering 88% pass rate in Isle of Mull.

The figures for the driving test centres that BIG TOM customers use are as follows.  Melton Mowbray continues to have the highest pass rate at 61.3% with a 63.3% pass rate for first attempters.  Boston is at 53.5% pass rate, then Grantham at 51.1%, Lincoln at 49.2% and Peterborough continues the historical tradition of being the bottom of the bunch at 46.9%.  Due to the varied quantities of driving tests taking place at these driving test centres, one consequence of these latest figures is that on average, more than twice the amount of people who took a driving test in Melton Mowbray failed their test at Peterborough, which just goes to demonstrate how low pass rates at the busy driving test centres really does affect outcomes for a great many people.

Tom Ingram from BIG TOM Driving School gave the following response to these latest statistics:

“These driving test pass rates continue to be appallingly low and one has to wonder if the industry will ever make serious changes to the system we use in the UK so that a more accurate reflection of the hard efforts made in driving instruction by professional instructors will one day be shown in its true light.  However, as happens every year, one cannot deny that there is clearly an element of postcode lottery relating to where a candidate chooses to go to test.  Here at BIG TOM Driving School, we have always left that choice to our customers.”

BIG TOM Driving School provides 5 Day Intensive Driving Courses in Peterborough, Grantham, Lincoln, Sleaford, Stamford, Boston, Spalding and Bourne.  Contact us HERE


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Driving Test Pass in Spalding

Shaun from Spalding passes driving test in 9 days!

Here is a very happy looking Shaun Dowdeswell from Spalding.  He contacted BIG TOM with a need to get his driving licence really fast.  He was delighted when he passed his driving test over at Peterborough Driving Test Centre just 9 days later.

Shaun says of his experience with BIG TOM:

“I am pleased that I passed my driving test with the help of Chris Jubb today. Chris showed me excellent tips which I would not have known myself and these, along with his good manner and patience, helped me immensely. If I have friends who wish to take lessons I will tell them of your driving school and once again many thanks for all.”

Chris Jubb from BIG TOM was Shaun’s driving instructor and said:

“Shaun is one of the nicest people you could wish to meet. It was a pleasure to guide Shaun to a successful test with only 5 minor faults.”

Another great example of how BIG TOM puts relationships with customers as a high priority in order to get successful outcomes.

Our Spalding office is ready and waiting now to take your call 01775 660 525

BIG TOM Driving School provides 5 Day Intensive Driving Courses in Peterborough, Grantham, Lincoln, Sleaford, Stamford, Boston, Spalding and Bourne.  Contact us HERE


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