1 to 1 School of Motoring instructors. From left, Iain McGillivray, Adam Ward, Patrick Barry and Dave Hazell. Picture by Robin Crossley.
IT'S a lot harder to pass the driving test now than it was 25 years ago.
That is the informed opinion of experienced Island driving instructor Adam Ward, proprietor of the Island’s 1to1 Driving School, which is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary.
"There’s a lot more to the test and it is more stringent," said Adam, who can claim good success rates including teaching the youngest Islander to pass — Jason Hayball, aged just 17 and 22 days — earlier this month.
"We have to work harder to get pupils through."
The school also offers intensive one-week or two-week driving courses, with some pupils travelling to the Island specifically to earn a driving licence during their stay.
1to1 was started by Islanders Sarah and Tony Woodman in 1987, who ran the school in East Cowes. It is now based at Carisbrooke.
Adam, who trained as an instructor with 1to1 more than 13 years ago, took over the business after Tony died and Sarah decided to leave the Island.
"When Sarah and Tony started the business, it was one of the first independent driving schools to challenge the big national chains on the Island," said Adam.
"Since then, many Island instructors have learned their craft at 1to1."
The driving school currently has four learner cars — three manual and one automatic — and, to mark 1to1’s 25th anniversary, is offering a 25 per cent discount voucher to pupils — the equivalent of ten lessons for the price of eight.
Other 1to1 instructors include David Hazel, who qualified some 21 years ago with 1to1, and Iain McGillivray, who qualified 20 years ago.
"Patrick Barry is the new guy who joined us last year and we have all benefited from his input, both instructional wise and great ideas on promotions and exposure," said Adam.
"We are the only driving school that offers a discount card with special offers from many local businesses as well as a few national companies. We run high spec modern cars and all our manual cars are low-emission vehicles.
"Most of our work comes from recommendations and we are finding that we are now teaching the children of original students from when we started. We also get a high percentage of students changing instructors to us after they see how much quicker their friends have progressed.
"We have developed a method over the years that allows us to push our students to their full potential quicker and leading to more confident and competent drivers."
There is a rewards program with the chance to earn a track day on the mainland to drive a super car such as a Lamborghini, Ferrari or Aston Martin, either by passing the driving test with zero faults or recommending ten people to learn with 1to1.
You can see more on the website www.1to1som.co.uk.