Peter Skelton Driving School operates in and around Newbury. We pride ourselves on high standards and pass rates. The school has existed since 2004 with only 1 car. The business has expanded since then and continues to grow despite the setbacks of 2020. Many things have changed in that time including how we market ourselves. Adverts in newspapers, Yellow pages and Thomson Local were the way we advertised. Nowadays things like Google, Facebook and other forms of social media rule the day.
Why choose Peter Skelton Driving School
- Male and female instructors
- Manual and automatic
- Catering to nervous and anxious pupils
- All lessons are taken at your own pace
- High pass rates
- Intensive and semi-intensive courses available
- Free theory training
- The highest standards of tuition
- Motorway lessons
- Refresher lessons
There is however one thing that hasn’t changed, and probably never will, and that’s “word of mouth”. It is this that we rely on the most. It’s the best way we find to attract new pupils. So many times when a call comes in I ask the question “How did you find us?” The answer that often comes back is “My friend recommended you” or “Lots of my friends have passed with you”. I’ve always worked on the philosophy that if each pupil recommends only 1 of their friends to my driving school, then we will never be out of work. We don’t ask pupils to recommend friends. We don’t offer incentives to pupils like “first hour free”. We work on the principle that if we do a good job of teaching pupils then the recommendations will come in Newbury. The most recommendations that I’ve had from any one pupil is around 20 friends! That particular pupil not only passed first time but also quickly. They were very popular at school so they shouted very loudly as to how pleased they were with the lessons I had given her.
As I become well known to potential pupils, I realised that I couldn’t cope with the level of enquiries. I was averaging 1 phone call every 2 days. There was no way I could take on pupils that fast. I knew I needed to expand, however I didn’t want to compromise standards. I took on instructors that best fit in with my philosophy of teaching and my high standards. I am now at the point where I have a small driving school but still too much work for us to handle. It’s what most people would cal “A nice problem to have”.
Another thing that has changed since 2004 is the way in which we teach. We use up to date training methods to bring the best out of our pupils. This is done by not longer “instructing” but by “coaching”. No one really enjoys being told what to do especially when it’s done from a stance of superiority. Pupils often resent being told what to do all the time. They resent any criticism. They will simply quit and go elsewhere.
For the last 10 years we have based our teaching around mutual respect. There is no hierarchy anymore. Both learner and instructor are on the same level. As such the pupil is fully engaged in the learning experience and takes part in the decision making of how lessons are structured. After a lesson a question like “So how do you feel it went this lesson?” “What things do we need to work on next time?” “What subject would you like to cover next week?” Questions like these engage the pupil fully in their learning which allows them to choose what they would like to do next.
People often ask “How many hours does it take to pass a driving test?” The answer I give is to quote the DVSA average which currently stands at about 45 hours with 22 hours of private practice. Like all averages, half the population will be above that limit and half below. The half that you’re in depends on 3 things; how natural you are at driving, your confidence and your keenness to learn. Unfortunately no one can change their natural ability. Some people are more natural at driving than others. Similarly some people are more confident with driving than others. However this is something that we can change. By helping you to structure your lessons and never pushing you to attempt more difficult aspects of driving until you feel ready can help. We can also help with some relaxation techniques which we can teach to our nervous pupils. These techniques can be used any time a situation leaves you feeling anxious. In fact some pupils also use them to help them relax in other situations too such as exams. Keenness to learn is by far the most important one. I love pupils who aren’t very natural, are maybe a bit nervous to start with but with a great desire to learn how to drive. The good thing is, how keen you are is down to you. If you’re keen to learn then you can cut down the hours it takes to learn. We can help with that aspect too. By enabling you make decisions about your learning and by working with you, you will leave each lesson feeling good about what you achieved and looking forward to the next lesson.
Learning to drive is simply learning to pass a driving test. It’s about teaching you the skills you need to become a safe driver for life. The way we teach will also allow you to make decisions as to drive safely and responsibly. The decisions you make when you’re driving don’t just affect you, they also affect those around you, including your passengers and other road users.
Newbury is steeped in history and was an important site during the English Civil War. The first Battle of Newbury was at Wash Common and the Second battle was in Speen. The second battle in 1644 reduced Donnington Castle to ruins. The civil war along with the collapse of the cloth trade left Newbury in a bad financial state. It wasn’t until 100 years later when Bath and it’s Spas became a destination for the wealthy of London, that Newbury was able to prosper again. Lying approximately halfway along the 2 day route, the wealthy would stop over and stay at one of the growing number of inns that sprung up. A theatre also opened to entertain the travellers that featured many of the well known artists at that time.
“I’ve passed my exam on my first attempt thanks to Peter Skelton and especially my instructor Tomasz. I’d like to thank you for all your efforts and great lessons.”
“I’m so thankful for Pete (Burke) being my instructor. He’s so calm and patient and it’s thanks to him that I passed my driving test first time with 1 minor.”
“Peter (Skelton) was amazing, thank you so much! I passed first time and I’ve never been happier, the best!”
“I learned to drive with Peter Skelton Driving, and Louise was my driving instructor, Louise is a lovely teacher, she was always really friendly and patient.”