A helping hand

Georgia passes using the BIG TOM Two test guarantee ©

Georgia from Morton passed her driving test this morning in Grantham with just three minor faults recorded.  She did the 20 hour BIG TOM Intensive Driving Course in mid-August but was unlucky on her first driving test attempt on the 25/8/20.  However, one of the benefits that BIG TOM customers receive is not one but two practical driving test fees paid for, as well as the booking service provided by BIG TOM Admin.  While thousands of learners across the UK were held in phone queues for hours on end, BIG TOM Admin managed to get Georgia another test slot at the same test centre just three weeks after her first attempt.  This demonstrates the benefits BIG TOM customers receive as standard.  Not only did Georgia receive a speedy second attempt but she did not have to pay another test fee.

Georgia says of her time with BIG TOM: “My experience with Big Tom was brilliant. He is very calm and caters to the way you learn best, for me that was practicing over and over again until I got it right. Great feedback and communication from him to get you passing your test and driving confidently on your own. Would recommend.”

Tom Ingram (Owner of BIG TOM) says: “This is another clear indication of the flexibility the BIG TOM course provides, where it can adapt to different outcomes and still manage to prove successful.  BIG TOM Admin works very hard in the background for customers giving them a vital helping hand, which means our pupils can concentrate on the driving”

Congratulations to Georgia – hoping you have many happy years of safe driving.

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Success on the weekend course

Molly passes her driving test on her first attempt with ease

Molly from Pinchbeck, Spalding came to BIG TOM as an absolute beginner, having not driven before.  She did four hour sessions on Saturdays and Sundays where she drove in Boston, Peterborough, Grantham, Spalding and Coningsby.  She finished her 40 hour weekend intensive driving course with BIG TOM in August, and even with all the disruption that the lockdown caused, still managed to pass her driving test a month later.  BIG TOM Admin managed to book her up 1:1 online theory study support prior to her theory test which helped her pass the test.  Molly had a mock test provided to her where she got good accurate feedback.  Her Dad was also helpful at providing feedback to her on private lessons while she waited for her driving test.

Congratulations go to Molly for the success on the weekend course and confidently passing her driving test today – many happy years of safe driving.

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Reviewing our covid safe practices

Minimising risk – maximising safety

Tomorrow will be two months precisely since BIG TOM Admin were given the green light from the government to resume driving training.  We are very happy to report that having completed a further review of our covid safe practices, we have had no cancellations or reports regarding covid infections.  We will continue to review the BIG TOM Driving School COVID-19 Driving Training Strategy in light of any amendments that are recommended in our industry.  Owner of BIG TOM, Tom Ingram passes on his thanks to all customers for their continued patience and thoroughness engaging in our Standard Operating Procedure.

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How do I pass a driving test?

Raising standards

One of the key messages to BIG TOM customers has always been to aim high when you are learning to drive.  When people simply ask “How do I pass a driving test?”, they are only considering the standard required on tests rather than real life driving.  Once you have your full driving licence, you could be driving anywhere, even outside the UK so it has always made sense to strive for a good, solid driving ability.  And this philosophy is pertinent to the situation we all find ourselves in these days with restricted driving test availability from the DVSA.  Driving test slots are now like gold dust.  A test fail these days may result in a very long wait for another attempt.  Don’t waste your opportunity by going to test before you are fully ready.  Listen to the advice of your instructor, aim to drive with safety, efficiency and confidence.

The advice we would give all of our customers is to set your goals to a high standard, so that you can take your driving test at any location and pass on the first attempt by truly developing skills for safe driving, rather than concerning yourself with driving test routes.

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A man on a mission

Post lockdown bonanza!

Things are beginning to revert back to normal.  Tyler Fletcher-Smith from Spalding has just managed to turn his theory and driving test passes around in double quick time!  Our big congratulations go out to Tyler!

When Tyler contacted BIG TOM he informed us of his tight schedule due to work commitments.  He started training on the 12/08/2020 where we organised the travel arrangements to take a theory test and he  passed his practical driving test today just 13 days later.  All in all it was a job well done and he now shoots off out of the UK for busy work deadlines.

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Driving test bookings are back

We have been given the green light for driving test bookings.

The DVSA driving test booking service has resumed this morning and BIG TOM Admin has been busy from the early hours getting premium test bookings for customers.  This is very welcome news, and shows that there is some normality returning to the industry.  We ask all of our customers to carefully read their test booking confirmations because covid precautions still apply.  Early indications are that there is immediate availability in Grantham and Boston driving test centres and only a slight delay for Peterborough.

All very good news!

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Post lockdown driving training

We have now completed four weeks of driving training since being given permission to start post-lockdown, how has it been?

Since Super Saturday (04/07/2020), we have been providing driving training for our customers and it has gone very well so far.  All customers have been engaging in the Covid safe practices that enable us to resume training while minimising risks.  Tom Ingram (Owner of BIG  TOM) would like to say “Thank you” to everyone involved so far.

While the training continues the DVSA is committed to clearing the 210,000 driving tests nationwide backlog.  It is unclear as to how long it will take them to clear those tests, but until that date, we ask all customers to remain patient.  We have also been grateful to customers who have been flexible with the schedule to allow others to take emergency driving tests as and when required.  It will be beneficial to everyone to be flexible in these trying times.  Continue to monitor our twitter account  for the latest DVSA announcements.

We ask all customers to remain vigilant with monitoring their health for symptoms of the virus and contact BIG TOM Admin the moment they have any raised concerns.  This will enable us to keep things safe for everyone and keep disruption to training to a minimum.

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Five driving test facts

Make the most of your driving test slot – don’t get caught out and lose your test.  Look at these five things that you will need to have covered before your test starts

  1.  The inside of the car must be clean – if you take your driving test with BIG TOM this WILL be the case
  2. Don’t get to the test centre more than 5 minutes before it is due to start.  No-one goes inside the buildings any more (unless you want the toilets).
  3. Wear a face mask unless you have a good reason not to. This includes if:
    • you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
    • putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress
    • you need to remove it during your test to avoid harm or injury or the risk of harm or injury to you or others
    You must have told BIG TOM Admin if you have a good reason not to wear a face covering when they booked a test for you.
    It’s important that you have practised driving wearing a face covering before your test.
    If you have a problem with your face covering during the test, your driving examiner will ask you to stop so you can adjust it. The driving examiner will end the test early if it becomes a safety issue.
  4. Are you self-isolating? You must not come to the driving test if:
    • you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms
    • you’ve been told by the NHS Test and Trace service that you’ve been in contact with a person who has coronavirus
    • you have returned to the UK in the last 14 days (conditional on location)
  5. Big driving faults.  Should a serious or dangerous driving fault crop up, the examiner will direct you back to the driving test centre so as to minimise exposure time in the car.

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Staying Covid 19 Secure in 2020

This blog explains to customers the actions being taken by BIG TOM Driving School to mitigate risk of infection.

The notice (shown right) is displayed in the driving school car as a reminder to pupils, driving examiners and the public of our commitment to Covid safe practices.

BIG TOM Admin will have undertaken a risk assessment 24 hours prior to the driving training taking place having consulted with our customer regarding health screening questions.

The responsibility for open, honest and accurate communication of risk factors rests with us all.  No cancellations that result from increased risk of infection result in financial penalty – alternative dates will always be found.

Our working environment involves less than the 2 metre distance recommendation, and the following risk mitigations are in place:

increased frequency of handwashing pre/post in-car training, and sanitiser use in-car

facing forwards as much as is practicable that still maintains road safety

provision of sanitiser, face masks/coverings, tissues, disposable bags, disinfectant, anti-bacterial wipes

hourly pauses to allow for full ventilation and to disinfect car controls

rear windows open at all times, no air conditioning

minimising face to face discussions in-car

session briefings/de-briefings to be conducted outside the car

non-contactless forehead temperature reading for instructor & pupil

no exchanging of items in-car between instructor & pupil

suitable clothing/footwear to minimise exposed skin as is practicable

We ask all customers to ensure they contact BIG TOM Admin before a session is due to start, should there be ANY change in answers to the health screening questions.

The BIG TOM Covid-19 Driving Training Strategy has been developed after careful consideration of guidance from the National Associations Strategic Partnership.  Owner of BIG TOM Driving School, Tom Ingram, has completed the DIA Academy ‘Covid-19 Infection Control and Safe Training Protocols Course’ on 28/06/2020.

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Review covid safe practices

Learner drivers and driving instructors have had a week of implementing covid safe practices.

Tomorrow will be one week on from driving training resuming in the UK. Owner of BIG TOM, Tom Ingram gives his thoughts on the changes that now occur:

“The first thing I would say is how pleasing it is to be able to get going again and helping customers. They’ve had a long wait and were really keen to start driving lessons.
So the balancing act that we are attempting to do here at BIG TOM is resume training as soon as able, as there is an incredible demand, but also do the training in as safe a way as possible. What I’ve been most impressed with so far is how willing and open our customers have been with our new protocols. And that is an absolutely crucial point about minimising risk; it does require honesty and open communications between instructor and pupil.
We are trying to streamline the processes, so as not to unnecessarily inconvenience our customers. One of the advantages of how BIG TOM operates is that it is in our culture to ask for feedback and make changes based on it.
I’m pleased to say that it is all going well at the moment. We’ve been finding theory test slots for customers without any problems, the in-car training has been really great, and I really hope that can continue as move on.”

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