Finding the best driving schools

You are lucky if you live in the UK: there are around 380 driving test centres here, over 2000 approved instructors, and hundreds more driving schools. What is more, they are all of a very high quality. Happily, there is huge variety as well, so you can choose the ones that suit you. Now that you are looking for a driving school, you need to know what you are looking for.

Ask people you know

The first step to finding a good driving school is to ask around. People who have taken the test recently, maybe in the year above you at school, or some of your older friends, can give you very good feedback on their experiences. 

Reviews on the internet can be misleading. They can be paid-for responses or angry rants that do not reflect reality. If you can, asking someone for a recommendation in person is almost always going to be better. You can find out about the personalities of the instructors, how much things cost, and most importantly, get the low-down on how to get the most out of your time at the driving school.

Check reviews

Although reviews can indeed be misleading, they can offer a fantastic insight into what you are going to get at your local driving school. Although some people lie, and others leave bizarre and misleading reviews, most people review things honestly. A 5* rating is hard to get and even harder to keep, so if the school you are looking at has one, you’re probably going to the right place.

Find out what is local

Every county has a driving test centre, most have more than one. Driving schools are sometimes integrated into them, other times they are independent. If you have asked your friends and family for their experience, you will probably know what is locally available. When this is not possible, a quick Google search for “driving schools near me” will reveal what is on offer. If you do not like to share your location information with search engines, put “driving schools near insert location here” instead.

Do they offer what you need?

Some driving schools are very small, with only a few instructors. Others are much larger companies. If you have any specific requirements, like disabled access, a BSL interpreter or fluent instructor, or particular health concerns, smaller schools might not be able to offer these services. Many do, but before you think about booking in for lessons, make sure you have asked them if they can offer the support you need.

Bad experience

Not everyone gets along with each other, that’s a fact of life. If you have had a bad experience at one driving school, for whatever reason, it is not unreasonable to find another. If you live in a large town or city, you shouldn’t have a problem getting another school. However, if you live out in the sticks, you might not have the choice of another that is close enough to be convenient. In this case, some quick calculations of travel costs for your alternative school can show you whether it is worth travelling further.


Unfortunately, there are some fraudulent driving instructors and schools around. The government has a register of all the Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs), which you can use to check if your instructor should be teaching you or not. You can contact the DVSA here if you have any concerns. Every ADI should have their name and number displayed in their car.

Finding driving schools online

The government has a very helpful tool for finding the best and closest driving schools for you. You can find it here. It will show you the nearest driving instructors to your postcode, and show you all their grades. Grading is important, it will show you how qualified and experienced the teacher is. If you are feeling confident and know more or less how to drive, you might not need an extremely experienced teacher (they are more expensive). However, if you are very nervous, a more experienced teacher can reassure you and increase your confidence enormously. 

Each teacher will work with a school or independently. Contact a few before you decide.