Post-16 students at Ashfield School can get behind the wheel - and get a new qualification - after it was the first in the area to sign up to deliver a new driver education course.
The Uniformed Services department is now offering a BTEC Level 2 in Driving and Driver Education - the only course of its kind to offer both theoretical and practical driver education to schools.
Delivered by the Nottinghamshire Road Safety Partnership, the BTEC consists of 40 hours classroom education and 20 hours of practical driver coaching with peer review.
It is hoped that this element will reduce the imbalance between young people’s perceptions of their own driving skill and their actual ability.
Julie Taylor, head of Uniformed Services at Ashfield, said that the course helps students learn how to self-analyse and manage risk - both of which are key elements of all uniformed service jobs.
“We are absolutely delighted to be the first local Post 16 Centre to offer this invaluable course,” she said.
“Not only will it equip them with the skills and knowledge to be safer, more responsible road users, it will also give them an extra skill and qualification when seeking employment, particularly within the uniformed services sector.”
Nottinghamshire Road Safety Partnership - a partnership between Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, Nottinghamshire Police, Nottinghamshire Fire Service, the Highways Agency and local health services - decided to launch the BTEC after a survey on young driver behaviour issues highlighted bad habits and behaviours that need to be tackled to prevent serious road accidents.
Over 200 students responded and the results showed that a third of young drivers who passed their test within the last year admitted to texting while at the wheel, two-thirds had distracted themselves by singing and dancing and a quarter admitted driving too fast for the road conditions.
When asked what causes young driver crashes, one of the most common responses was over-confidence.
Chief Insp Andrew Charlton, from Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Anyone who is thinking of learning to drive or who is on that path at the moment will benefit from this course. It will ensure your attitude and approach to driving has the safety of yourself and others as a priority.”
Coun Kevin Greaves, chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Transport and Highways committee, added: “I am delighted that Ashfield School has been chosen as the first to benefit from this exciting new initiative.
“Research shows that young people form and crystallise their driving attitudes at an early age, often well before they actually take to the road themselves, so it’s important that they receive the right skills from the right people, in a safe, controlled, environment with fully qualified driving instructors.”