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Update for AutoScholar Clients - Covid-19

On a point of interest, one DVSA briefing document that I have includes the following paragraph:

"Test & Trace

"Candidate participation in the NHS Test & Trace initiative is a requirement for taking a practical test.

"The examiner will ask the candidate; "Can you confirm that you are taking part in the Government test and trace or similar national initiative and that you are happy for your details to be passed to the relevant tracing authority if needed for Covid 19 tracing purposes."

"Should the candidate not be taking part in the test and trace initiative the test cannot go ahead."

The document that contains this paragraph refers to a Standard Operating Procedure for driving examiners, which makes no reference to that Test & Trace clause. I therefore do not know whether or not you will be asked the Test and Trace participation question or whether your participation in it is a condition of your driving test going ahead.

I will let you know as soon as I can.

I strongly suggest that you keep an eye on this frequently-changing DVSA web page.


2nd July 2020.

Update for AutoScholar Clients - Covid-19

...and - welcome back!

The Government and the DVSA have announced that driving lessons and driving tests can resume from Saturday, 4th July 2020. You can read the DVSA's announcement here.

Speaking personally, I am dubious about the wisdom of that. There is a large number of people unknowingly carrying and shedding the virus. The North West is a hotspot and Trafford borough is significantly affected. The reproduction rates of infection are not as low as they need to be.

However, we'll give it a go, under these conditions: I will REQUIRE ALL students to wear some form of face covering when we meet and throughout your lesson. I would like you to wear new, single-use neoprene (or similar) gloves. I will have and will use lots of sanitiser gel in the car with us.

Please wash your hands and face very thoroughly before coming to meet me for a lesson. Diligently follow all current health advice.

If you are even slightly unwell, are pregnant or have an impaired immune response for any reason, or if you are looking after anyone in any of these conditions, then please do not take driving lessons: it's not worth even a small risk. Please look after yourself.

Between lessons, I will need more time to wipe down all surfaces in the cabin, so I'll be scheduling an hour's downtime between all of my appointments. This will mean fewer appointments each day and possibly a little less flexibility in scheduling generally.

It'll be good to get going again. But it's not without risk to the individual and to all members of 'bubbles'.

I will try to contact all of my current clients and those on my waiting list in the next few days.

Good health and happiness!


26th June 2020.

Update for AutoScholar Clients - Covid-19

Approved Driving Instructors are still being strongly advised by their professional associations and by government not to give driving lessons, except under conditions of extremely good hygeine for "critical" or "key workers" who have been granted emergency DVSA driving tests. Indeed, it seems obvious that to do so would be in violation of the extant lockdown regulations.

You can read the current advice being given to ADIs in this .pdf document.

We shall see what the Prime Minister has to say when he presents his latest review on the 1st of June, in hopes that he will be guided exclusively by rigorously researched scientific evidence and with our wellbeing and safety as his topmost priority. Meanwhile, please be careful and mindful, stay well, and I look forward to seeing you again when it's safe to do so.

21st May 2020.

Update for AutoScholar Clients - Covid-19

The body comprising the three professional associations for Approved Driving Instructors sent the following email to their members at 13:30 today:

"Statement from NASP (National Associations Strategic Partnership) which comprises the ADINJC, DIA and MSA GB 23.3.2020

"At an extremely difficult and worrying time for us all, taking into account the Government public health advice regarding social distancing and trying to control and delay the spread of the COVID-19 virus, NASP would urge all instructors to stop delivering driving lessons, if you have not already done so, with the exception of teaching key workers where necessary. This should be until the end of April and then we can then all review the situation again.

"We fully appreciate the worry of financial loss that this brings, and we hope that our calls for Government to offer a rescue package to the self-employed are acted upon, but we consider it is not possible for us comply with current social distancing measures whilst teaching in a car.

"We realise that any decision regarding your business is ultimately your own to make, but hope that this announcement might help those of you with uncertainty about the appropriate course of action to take in these unprecedented circumstances. We will keep you updated as times go on and if the situation changes, please keep checking NASP website for current updates and advice."

23rd March 2020.

Update for AutoScholar Clients - Covid-19

Although Approved Driving Instructors have not explicitly been banned from working, it seems ridiculous to carry on giving driving lessons in the current circumstances.

It cannot possibly be regarded as safe for instructor and client to spend between sixty and one hundred and twenty minutes sitting together in a confined space within a few centimetres of each other - especially since your instructor gives multiple lessons per day.

For every person who is tested positive for Coronavirus and for every person showing early symptoms of Covid-19, there are thought to be at least three people who are asymptomatic and undiagnosed carriers.

For these reasons, I am postponing all lessons until this crisis is over. You'll know that the DVSA has already cancelled all of your driving tests.

Good luck and good health to you all. Stay in touch and look after yourselves.

With best wishes,


23rd March 2020.

Update for AutoScholar Clients - Covid-19

Well, the inevitable has happened.

Driving tests are cancelled for "up to three months" unless you can prove it's essential your test is conducted because you're a "critical worker."

Check the DVSA's anouncement here

You are welcome to get in touch to discuss the way forward from here. I will turn up for booked lessons unless you tell me otherwise.

With warmest wishes,


20th March 2020.

Update for AutoScholar Clients - Covid-19

If you're a facebook user, please check my facebook page where I'm posting regular updates on my position regarding continuing to work (or otherwise) during the Covid-19 crisis.

Please also re-read the earlier updates below here.

This morning, there are thirteen (13) notified cases of COVID-19 in the Borough of Trafford, and twenty-one (21) in the City of Manchester (source: the Guardian)

DVSA has now postponed Theory and Hazard Perception Tests until 20th April.

There is still no word on whether Practical Driving Tests will resume on Monday 23rd; all driving tests yesterday and today were postponed.

Only one of my clients has a driving test next week: until you receive a DVSA email telling you it's cancelled, presume that it's going to go ahead.

To repeat: if you wish to take a break from driving lessons then I completely understand and respect your choices. I will NOT charge for lesson cancellations, even without notice. For the time being, I will continue to work with those clients who wish me to do so: please do wash your hands and face very thoroughly before coming to meet me. I will continue to sanitise all touched surfaces of the car at EVERY driver change. I will continue to offer single-use neoprene gloves for you to wear in the car.

This is in line with the advice I have received from my professional association.

With warmest wishes,


20th March 2020

Update - Covid-19

As of this morning, there were fourteen (14) confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Borough of Trafford and eighteen (18) in the City of Manchester.

I am still following the protocol set out below, which I wrote on March 17th. I am still working with those of my clients who wish me to do so.

The DVSA have postponed all driving tests scheduled for today and tomorrow. None of my clients is directly affected by this.

There is no word from the DVSA of what might happen beyond tomorrow. Until you receive an email from the DVSA, presume that your test appointment still stands.

With my best wishes,


19th March 2020

An important message to all of my current clients.

Dear clients,

This is my current thinking about my rôle and responsibilities during this time of alarm.

At this moment the DVSA are still conducting driving tests and have not yet suggested that ADIs cease work, though I expect this to change at any moment.

As of last night, there were seven (7) confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Borough of Trafford and eight (8) in the City of Manchester. At present, all but one of my clients live in the Borough of Trafford, and most of you live in Sale. One of you lives in the City of Manchester.

If you wish to take a break from your driving lessons then I completely understand and fully respect your choices.

I am wiping down all touched surfaces of my car with a mix of Dettol and methylated spirits at EVERY driver change. I am in good health and to the best of my knowledge have not come into contact with anyone who is unwell.

If you are even slightly unwell, are pregnant or have an impaired immune response for any reason, or if you are looking after anyone in any of these conditions, then please stop taking driving lessons: it's not worth even a small risk. Please look after yourself.

Please wash your hands and face very thoroughly before coming to meet me for a lesson. Diligently follow all current health advice.

I have single-use neoprene gloves in the car and you are welcome to wear a pair during lessons, until I run out of them.

Please let me know by text, email or phone call about your decisions. If I do not hear from you then I will turn up for all currently booked lessons.

With warmest wishes,

Stephen Bell

AutoScholar, Driving Education

17th March 2020


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We are a driving school in south-west Manchester. We teach using only cars that have automatic transmission. Email us here. Contact details are here. Click on the Working Areas link for more detail on the areas where we work.

We don't do Driver Training. We educate people who drive cars. To us, this is an important distinction. Follow the Our Courses link to read about the lessons and courses we offer.

Fabia with Stephen Our Chief Instructor is a Driving Standards Agency A-graded Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) and a DVSA-Registered Fleet Driver Trainer. He is an Institute of Advanced Motorists Registered Instructor and he has passed the DIAmond Special Test. He also holds Qualified Teacher Status. Since coming into the driver education sector he has acquired an enviable reputation for delivering high quality teaching and learning. Almost all of AutoScholar's new business is generated by recommendation and word of mouth. Learn more by clicking on the Biography link.

What Cars?

PA55 RAP with Stephen We presently teach in cars from the Volkswagen group (VW, Audi, Seat, Škoda), with petrol engines and automatic transmissions (which means no clutch pedal, no gearstick). These are regularly updated and from time to time alternative new vehicles may be introduced.

Green Cars!

We have invested in converting our cars to use LPG fuel, also known as "Autogas". LPG is essentially propane, a natural gas that, unlike petrol and diesel, does not have to be manufactured in an oil refinery. LPG burns much cleaner than petrol and the exhasut is much less damaging to the environment.

LPG makes absolutely no difference to the driver and actually helps our cars run even more smoothly and quietly.

We did the sums, and converting to and running on LPG is cheaper and cleaner than running diesel or petrol cars.

Autogas Limited ran a news piece about AutoScholar and our LPG cars. You can read it here.


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