Industry Report on Driving Schools in UK

Industry Report on Driving Schools in UK

According to Leibling, D (2008) in his paper for the Royal Automobile Club Foundation for Motoring (RAC Foundation), over 77% of households in the UK have a car and car-owning households (more family-oriented) tend to have more than one person who owns a car. In order to drive in the UK, one must take a practical and theory driving tests with a learning instructor. After which the driver’s driving license is either approved or declined.

In the 5 years from 2015 to 2019, an average of 74% of people in England had a full driving license.              

  • Background/History

Historically driving instruction has always been a cottage industry (albeit inside a motor vehicle moving at 20-30 mph). Driver training probably began as a real form of a commercial venture in Great Britain about 1909-10 when a number of driving schools and training organizations opened their doors.

The first recorded school was the Pilot School of Motoring of north London, now long since defunct. However, launched just after this, in south London in October 1910, was the British School of Motoring Ltd. The proprietor was a Peckham doctor’s son, Hugh Stanley Coryton Roberts of Clapham. From then onwards, the driving school industry expanded.

  • Industry stats

Number of practical driving tests taken and passed in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2007/08 to 2019/20

In 2019/20, there were about 1.6 million practical driving tests taken in the United Kingdom. Of these less than fifty percent were successful. This was the second year in a row that the number of tests taken had decreased, with the share of passed tests staying relatively constant in respect to overall number.

Pass rate of driving tests

  • Structure of driving industry in UK

The average driving lesson costs £23 in the UK, but can be a few quid higher if you don’t buy in bulk. Going on the average of 47 hours’ worth of driving lessons required to pass the test, this means the average cost of learning to drive is a whopping £1,080.

Some driving schools do offer discounts for block bookings, for example we noticed that many BSM instructors offer around 20% off when you buy a block of 10 lessons. Using the AA and BSM driving lesson price calculators, here are the average prices for each region of the UK, learning in a manual car:

  1. Driving industry performance

Here is listed the performance of driving industry over the years regarding different parameters.

  • Age group more inclined towards learning driving


This graph shows that teenagers mostly of 17 years are more interested in learning driving.

  • Electric cars
  • Manual cars
  • Automatic cars
  • Automatic hybrid cars
    • Instructors

In UK, the driving school industry is gigantic. The government has strict rules and regulations against those driving without a driving license and driving test passing certificate. These regulations intensify the need of driving instructors.

A survey by the Department for Transport shows the number of driving instructors has decreased by 12 per cent over the past seven years. The numbers have decreased from 44,569 in 2013 to just 39,521 at the start of 2020, with services set to drop further over the coming years.

Further data from insurance company Marmalade suggests the decline could go on for even longer, stating “there could be fewer than 38,000 instructors by 2025”.

  • Becoming driving instructor in UK

The journey to becoming a driving instructor takes time. Between first registering your interest with the DVSA and receiving your full ADI badge, you’ll need to sit three tests, and may spend up to six months practicing on a trainee license. Throughout this process, you’re known as a Potential Driving Instructor.

Firstly, in order to apply to become a PDI, you must have held a full car driving license for at least three years and be aged 21 or over. If you hold an automatic license, you’ll only be able to teach in an automatic car.

Your application may be refused if you are found not to be ‘fit and proper’, a judgment which takes into account your personal conduct and requires you to undergo a criminal record check.

If your application is accepted, you’re now a PDI. Before you can start teaching students as a trainee on a paid basis, however, you’ll need to pass a theory (part 1) test and a practical (part 2) test.

After this, and provided you’ve taken at least 40 hours of training from an ADI in offering driving instruction, you have the option to apply for a trainee license, which lasts for six months and allows you to get paid for instruction.

The final step is to take the ADI part 3 test, which examines your instructional ability. Pass this test, and you’ll become an Approved Driving Instructor.

  • Number of Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs)

Figures for June 2018 show that there were 39,194 ADIs registered with the DVSA, alongside 2,069 trainee instructors. When compared to the population as a whole, this means that there is:

  • 1 ADI per every 1,627 residents of Great Britain
  • 1 ADI per every 1,032 full UK driving license holders
  • 1 ADI per every 207 provisional license holders

With stats like these, it’s easy to see why ADIs are often in high demand. In fact, this trend has actually accelerated in recent years, with numbers of registered instructors in decline.

While these numbers may, understandably, be alarming for learner drivers, it’s worth noting that new applications to become a potential driving instructor (PDI) are on the rise—up from 4,985 in 2011/12 to 7,635 in 2017/18. The number of new ADIs joining the register, meanwhile, was 3,339 in 2017/18—the most of any year for which data is available.

  • Instructors in different areas
  • Kevin Graham Driver Training

Kevin runs his own driving school “Kevin Graham Driver Training”. He has over 20 years of experience teaching people to drive and have helped 100’s of people in the Carlisle area get their driving license.

What he can offer you today is not found with any other driving school in Carlisle, not only does he present to you his triple guarantee but also wants to show you how you could save over £500 on passing your driving test.

He is committed to helping you become a safe driver, and the triple guarantee endorses that, but he is also aware people do want great value for money and often search for cheap driving lessons in Carlisle. So rather than you saving £1 or £2 on a driving lesson, he thinks you may be more interested on how you could save over £500 on getting your driving license.

  • 1st Driving School


  • Pass Me Fast
  • How much revenue do driving schools generate?

This statistic shows the revenue of the industry “driving school activities” in the United Kingdom from 2012 to 2019, with a forecast to 2025. It is projected that the revenue of driving school activities in the United Kingdom will amount to approximately 543.98 million U.S. Dollars by 2025.

  1. Key players/Market competitors
  • Chelsea Driving School Ltd
  • Drive UK – Driving School
  • AYA UK DRIVING SCHOOL in East Acton Automatic
  • DEC – Driver Education Centre
  • RSM Driving School | Driving Lessons Birmingham
  • DGN Driving School
  • Wimbledon Driving School
  • Smart Drive UK – Worthing
  • Eastend Driving School
  • London Driving School
  1. Future of driving schools

Driving schools have a bright future. Now most schools are using manual cars that are adversely affecting our environment. In future, it seems like these schools will use electric vehicles that will be more environment friendly. Surveys also show that if the pupils have given the option to learn driving using advanced cars, they will definitely opt for them.

  1. Conclusion

UK’s driving school industry is a big industry and there is a proper procedure to become a driving instructor. A person has to pass a few tests to become a professional driving instructor. After the pandemic, the UK residents are facing problems in finding driving instructors due to decrease in the number of instructors.

  1. References


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