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COVID-19

Theory Update 3rd August 2020

OOne metre social distancing for theory tests in England

From today (3 August) we will be introducing at least one metre social distancing measures at theory test centres in England.

This is inline with the current government guidance to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Keeping your pupils safe

We’re updating our social distancing measures at theory test centres. This is inline with the latest government advice and includes:

  • using floor markings to keep people 1 metre apart 
  • spacing workstations and chairs so you’re at least 1 metre away from other people 
  • extra cleaning of the test centres
  • using protective transparent screens at the reception desk
  • providing hand sanitiser for you to use when you arrive at the test centre, during your test and when you leave
  • cleaning workstations, including computers and headphones, before every test

Staff will wear a face covering (unless there’s a medical reason that it’s not recommended for them) and gloves.

We’ve published more guidance and photos that show what you can expect on GOV.UK. 

Wearing a face covering

Your pupils should wear a face covering when they go for their test if they can. They shouldn't wear one if it will cause them difficulties - for example if they have a respiratory condition.

They will need to remove it briefly so the test centre staff can check their ID.

Your pupils can find out more about how to wear and make a cloth face covering on GOV.UK.

Making more tests available

More tests will be available from today (3 August). This will help to reduce the waiting time for theory tests.

Theory tests in Scotland restarted on 22 July and tests in Wales will begin today (3 August). We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 advice given by the respective governments.

15th July 2020 - Update from the DVSA

Inviting candidates to rebook their driving test

We recently told you that we'd contact critical workers and practical car test candidates in England whose tests were put on hold due to coronavirus to ask them to choose a new test date and time.

We will send emails out:

  • on 15 July to critical workers in England, Scotland and Wales who had a test booked during lockdown 
  • from 16 July to candidates in England whose practical car test was put on hold due to lockdown

Both emails will include a link to book a new test date as the candidate booking system remains closed.

This link will only work for people who have been invited to rebook their test.

When we email candidates whose tests were put on hold due to lockdown, we'll initially invite around 10,000 each day, split in batches to spread out demand on the service.

All available appointments will be shown on the online service. Do not contact our customer service centre as they will not be able to book any alternative test slots.

Making sure your pupils are ready

It's important that you speak to your pupils before they rebook their tests to make sure:

  • they are ready to take their test
  • you are available to take them

As examiners will only be at test centres when they have a test booked, we have increased the minimum notice period for booking a test from 60 minutes to 10 hours.

Wearing a face covering

All candidates must wear a face covering when taking their driving test, unless they have a good reason not to. This includes if:

  • they have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means they cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
  • putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause them severe distress

When they arrange their test, they’ll need to say if there’s a good reason they cannot wear a face covering. The email will tell them how to do this.

What your pupils can expect when taking their test

We've published guidance on GOV.UK about what your pupils can expect on the day of their test.

UPDATE 30/06/2020

Topham Drive will resume driving lessons from Wednesday 8th July 2020.

There will be a slow return to work to allow everyone time to get used to the new lesson routines.

Please see the New Terms and Conditions page for more information on the new routines.

UPDATE 26/06/20

 

DVSA Reminder: scheduled tests will not go ahead as planned

Yesterday (25 June) we announced driver and rider instruction can restart from 4 July in England.

We also confirmed that all car tests can restart from 22 July. This will give learner drivers time to have refresher lessons and practice with you before taking their test.

Motorcycle and vocational tests booked by a trainer can restart from 13 July.

Motorcycle and vocational tests booked directly by pupils can restart from 22 July.

What this means for tests

As set out in the letter from Gareth Llewellyn on 15 June, to make sure your pupils can take their test at a convenient time, in a way that’s fair to everyone, we will be putting all tests ‘on hold’.

This means all driving tests that are booked in will not go ahead on the original or rescheduled date. This includes if the new date your pupils were given was from 22 July. 

We will email candidates again soon to ask them to go online and choose a new date and time for their test. They will also be able to cancel their booking if they want to.

These candidates will be given priority for the available appointments.

UPDATE 25/06/20

Restarting driver and rider instruction and tests

The government has confirmed that driver and rider instruction can restart from 4 July in England.

They have confirmed that car, motorcycle and vocational tests can restart after this point.

We are introducing a phased approach to resuming testing so that learners have the opportunity to practice before taking a test.

 

What we've been doing

Since Gareth Llewellyn updated you on 15 June we have:

  • started to put the scheduled tests on hold
  • offered more critical workers theory tests
  • checked our plans for sharing candidate information with the NHS Test and Trace Service in England, Test and Protect in Scotland, and Test, Trace, Protect in Wales with the Information Commissioner’s Office. 

How we’ll support the NHS Test and Trace service in England

If a driving test candidate or driving examiner develops symptoms in the days after a test, the NHS Test and Trace service will use data DVSA collects from the candidate to contact them.

We've updated our privacy notice published on GOV.UK to explain how we manage personal data. 

Information for candidates to let know what to expect on test

We will publish information on GOV.UK for candidates to let them know what to expect on the day of their theory test and practical test.

What happens next

Over the next few days we are continuing preparation so that our test centres, examiners, and services are ready.

This includes a phased returned of the trainer booker service and the online business service from 6 July.

In the coming days we’ll update more on these and let you know more about our phased return to testing.

15th June2020 - Update from the DVSA

Driving instruction and driving tests

Other than emergency training and tests for critical workers, driving instruction and driving tests have not yet been able to restart because the risk of transmission of the virus in vehicles is higher.

In his statement on 10 June, the Prime Minister reiterated that the government will remain cautious and measure the effect of the changes it makes. The Prime Minister explained this means moving slower than we’d have liked in some areas.

Driving instruction and tests will only restart when the government is confident that the assessment of risk warrants it, subject to the 5 tests and further detailed scientific advice.

In the meantime, I want to re-emphasise that you should continue to limit driving lessons to critical workers who are preparing for an emergency driving test.

Once again, I would like to thank those of you who have been able to offer driving lessons to critical workers during these unprecedented times.

We will, of course, share more information with you as soon as it’s available – including the dates that driving instruction and driving tests can restart

Planning to restart our services

Teams across DVSA have been working extremely hard over the past few months to make sure we’re in the best possible position to restart our services as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Our priority is to make sure that you, your pupils and our staff stay safe.

The work is split into these main areas:

  • preparing guidance for driving examiners on carrying out driving tests
  • making sure our driving test centres are ready to reopen
  • making sure we have PPE in place
  • understanding which driving examiners might not be able to return to testing straight away
  • planning driving test schedules so that anyone who had a test cancelled because of coronavirus is considered a priority
  • understanding how the situation might be different in England, Scotland and Wales

I want to explain what each of these involves in a little more detail.

Preparing guidance for driving examiners

We are reviewing and updating the guidance for driving examiners about carrying out driving tests. This includes things like the PPE they need to wear, greeting candidates and cleaning equipment such as sat navs and tablets.

We’re also working hard to make sure we’ll be able to quickly help the NHS Test and Trace service (Test and Protect in Scotland, and Test, Trace, Protect in Wales) should a driving test candidate or driving examiner develop symptoms in the days after a test

Making sure driving test centres are ready to reopen

Some of our driving test centres have now been closed for 12 weeks. We need to make sure they’re thoroughly checked before we can reopen them.

As just one example, we need to make sure the hot and cold-water systems are free from legionella bacteria (which causes Legionnaires’ disease).

Many of the contractors that we rely on to do this work also put their services on hold during the lockdown. We’re busy working with them to get our test centre network safe and ready.

 

 

Making sure we have PPE in place

To help keep you, your pupils and driving examiners stay safe, we’ve ordered PPE for all driving examiners. This includes face coverings and gloves.

Since the start of pandemic, there has been a high demand for this type of equipment. Like many organisations, we’ve had to wait for supplies to become available.

Understanding which driving examiners will be available

As you’ll appreciate, some of our driving examiners are either clinically vulnerable from coronavirus, or extremely vulnerable. Others might live with or care for people in those groups.

We’ve been working with all our driving examiners to find out more about their situation so we know how many will be able to return to carrying out driving tests as soon as we’re able.

Planning driving test schedules

When we suspended driving tests, we rescheduled all your pupils’ driving tests to a named date and time.

But we now have 3 issues to think about:

  • rescheduled dates might not be suitable for you and your pupils, as situations may have changed
  • not all driving examiners will be available
  • social distancing measures might limit the number of tests we can carry out

This means we need to think about the best way to make sure your pupils can take their test at a convenient time, in a way that’s fair to everyone.The fairest way we can do this is to put all the rescheduled tests ‘on hold’.

This means the test will no longer go ahead on the originally rescheduled date.

We will then ask people in the backlog to go online and choose their preferred date and time. We’ll invite them to do this in batches, based on when their test should have originally taken place.

We will contact you before we start this process, so you can make your pupils aware of what’s happening. We will also contact them directly with more information.

We are also planning how we can continue to help critical workers to get a test as a priority throughout this process.


 

DVSA Theory Update 12/06/2020

All theory tests in England from 15 to 21 June have been rescheduled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

They will update you with a start date for theory testing in England as soon as we are able.

What DVSA are doing

They are emailing anyone with a test booked from 15 to 21 June to let them know it has been rescheduled. 

DVSA Theory Update 05/06/2020

All theory tests in England from 8 - 14 June have been rescheduled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

We are preparing test centres for a safe return to testing for all candidates and social distancing measures are being put in place. 

We will update you with a start date for theory testing in England as soon as we are able.

What DVSA are doing

We are emailing anyone with a test book ed from 8 - 14 June inclusive to let them know it has been rescheduled.

05/06/2020 Update.

We are currently waiting for an update from the DVSA on when it will be likely that we can start lessons again. We expect an update at the middle to the end of June. It is hoped that lessons for non key NHS workers will start mid to late June or the beginning of July.  Please visit my Facebook and Twitter pages for updates.

For new pupils looking at starting please do contact us now so we can put you on our list and hopefully offer you a start date.

(dates may be subject to change).

Improvong our service to you.

          While we have been in lockdown I have been working hard to improve Topham Drive I have attended training Webinars, Zoom training meetings and looked at several ways to improve the smooth and effective way to run the business so the improvemnets Topham Drive are making will endeavor to help improve your learning experience.   

 

It is hoped that very soon the following will be part of Topham Drive and pupils training;

1. Go Pro - video recording of lessons. (pupil/parent permission)

2. Go Pro - online training videos availble exclusivley to pupils via the website.

3. Weekly Webinar Lessons.

4. Weekly Pod Casts.

5. New in-car training techniques.

6. Quick Books invoice payments via PayPal.

  

 

 

 

Return to work Temporary Lesson Times (COVID-19)

Lessons are available between the following days & times;

 As from the (DATE TO BE CONFIRMED, possible Late June).

I will only offer a certain amount of lessons per day.

(Ensuring that  essential cleaning can be done between lessons for pupil /instructor safety) 

Monday, Tuesday & Wednesdays - 10:00 -18:00Hrs

Thursdays - 10:00 - 16:00

Fridays 09:00 -15:00Hrs

Saturdays -TBC

Sundays - TBC

Pass Plus, Night Drive & Motorway lessons by appointment only.

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