What Does the End of Lockdown Mean for Driving Lessons and Tests in England?

Driving lessons and tests in England have been on hold for the last 4 weeks, as the country endures its second lockdown. This blanket shutdown comes to an end just after midnight on Wednesday, December 2nd.

So, does this mean driving lessons and tests can then resume across England? Here’s what we currently know…

What the DVSA has said

According to the DVSA website, in guidelines that were released soon after the lockdown was announced:

” You should not carry out driving lessons and motorcycle training in England up to and including Wednesday 2 December 2020.”

As the lockdown technically ends tomorrow, many driving schools (including PassMeFast) and instructors across the country are gearing up to restart lessons from Wednesday, December 2nd. The test booking system has remained open throughout lockdown and it has been possible to book tests from December 3rd onwards. (Please note that these appointment slots are scarce!)

A spanner in the works?

Just when everything seemed fairly straightforward, the government announced that a new, stricter version of the tier system will come in to place in England as soon as lockdown is lifted, with a majority of the country being placed in tier 2 (high risk) and tier 3 (very high risk).

You can find more information on rules for each tier here. You’ll notice, however, that driving lessons and tests are not mentioned.

On November 26th, the DVSA made the following announcement on their social media channels:

Though the government body is yet to elaborate on this, it does imply that rules surrounding lessons and tests could differ depending on which tier you are in. As has been the case throughout the pandemic, the DVSA remains annoyingly vague and we have no clear idea of what ‘in due course’ actually means. It’s been 5 days and still no update!

Learners and instructors take to social media to vent

This lack of forthcoming information is the latest in a series of communication fumbles from the DVSA. As you can see from the Twitter exchanges below, learners and instructors are desperately trying to get answers. So far, though, the DVSA is trotting out the same, tired line. Hopefully we won’t have to ‘bear with them’ for much longer.

Screenshot of DVSA Support replying to queries on Twitter
Image source: DVSA Support on Twitter

The Manchester Evening News has suggested that the DVSA could be holding out to hear the results of the vote on the new tier system that is expected in the House of Commons today. Still, the delays are doing nothing for their reputation, as frustrations boil over on platforms like Facebook.

On November 27th, the DVSA’s Facebook page published a new post. Did it provide valuable updates on the test and lesson situation? No. It covered safety tips for driving in the dark. As you can imagine, this did not go down too well… 

The comments section was quickly inundated with complaints from learners and instructors alike. With vital information still being withheld, it did seem strange that the DVSA was apparently ignoring the elephant in the room.

Comments on DVSA Facebook post about evenings getting darker
Image source: DVSA Facebook page

Will driving lessons and tests go ahead as normal after lockdown?

We’d love to be able to give a straightforward answer to this question. Sadly, the DVSA has not yet provided us with the clarifications necessary to do so. As it stands, we expect lessons and tests to resume across England from Thursday, December 3rd (with some driving schools starting lessons from Wednesday, December 2nd). Just keep in mind that different rules for those in different tiers could come into effect at any point.

So, if you have a test booked any time from Wednesday onwards, it should hopefully go ahead. Again, though, the DVSA clearly has more information it is planning to provide and when this will arrive is still unclear. We did reach out to them on Twitter to ask this very question and received no response.

Update: Here’s what we know about tier-based rules surrounding driving lessons and tests.

Stay in the loop

This lack of available information after what has already been a really trying year is incredibly frustrating for learners and instructors—trust us, PassMeFast feels your pain! We sincerely hope that instructors will be able to get back to work and learners can start hitting the road again as soon as possible.

PassMeFast will keep you informed of all updates from the DVSA, as they appear. Keep an eye on our dedicated COVID-19 post for the latest news.

Driving lessons and tests after the second lockdown: FAQs

My PassMeFast course has been on pause since lockdown began. When can I start lessons again?

Our CX Advisers have been keeping an eye on all courses throughout the lockdown. You should hear from them in the next couple of days. If you have any burning questions, we recommend that you email your CX Adviser directly. Students who have yet to be assigned a CX Adviser can call us on 0333 123 4949 to discuss their course.

As it stands, our instructors plan to get back to work on Wednesday, December 2nd. If you have already been allocated an instructor, you can contact them directly to schedule lessons.

I have a test booked later this week. Will it still go ahead?

As far as we know, driving tests in England should be able to go ahead from Wednesday, December 2nd. If your test is cancelled for any reason you will be contacted by the DVSA. PassMeFast students will be informed of any cancellations by their CX Adviser.

Will I be able to book a theory or practical test that takes place before 2021?

Theory and practical tests are in high demand and it is very unlikely that any appointment slots for December 2020 remain available. Current PassMeFast students whose details are already in our fast-tracking system have the best chance of getting one, but even then it is unlikely so late in the year. For estimated wait times in your area, give our team a ring on 0333 123 4949.

What’s the situation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

The current guidelines for tests and lessons in the rest of the UK are as follows:

  • Scotland: Tests and lessons are up and running in council areas in local COVID protection levels 0 to 3. Tests are suspended in council areas in local COVID protection level 4 and you cannot travel out of these areas to take a test elsewhere. You can, however, take or provide lessons in council areas in local COVID protection level 4 if it is with someone in your household.
  • Wales: Driving tests and lessons are up and running.
  • Northern Ireland: Tests and lessons in this area are not overseen by the DVSA. You can find the latest rules via nidirect.

Is PassMeFast currently accepting new students?

Yes! To get a head start on your 2021 driving goals you can sign up for a PassMeFast course now. Check out our range of courses and find the areas we cover on our website. You can book online or over the phone.

By Isobel Robb

Isobel enjoys the freedom of the open road and loves driving to new places. She's here to offer helpful hints and tips to improve your motoring skills. When not keeping up to date with the latest driving info you can find her discovering new restaurants or exhausting her Netflix subscription.

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