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Newbury driving instructor named among best in UK

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Peter Skelton regional winner of Intelligent Instructor Awards 2021

A NEWBURY driving instructor is in top gear after being named best in the region and one of the best in the country.

Peter Skelton was named best instructor in the South East in the Intelligent Instructor Awards 2021.

He was also highly commended in the national driving instructor of the year award, finishing in the top three out of more than 40,000 UK instructors.

The awards recognise excellence within the driver training industry, rewarding key industry suppliers, both regional and national driving schools, as well as individual driving instructors across the country.

Mr Skelton said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have won the award for Best Driving Instructor 2021 for the South East.

“It not only reflects on my own standards, but also the standards set by all the instructors at Peter Skelton Driving School.

“Having finished in the top three nationally is even more thrilling.

“I literally couldn’t believe hearing my name being called out not just once but twice.”

Judges said Mr Skelton was “a fountain of knowledge, giving them [students] confidence and reassurance along the way”.

They said: “This instructor is never critical, only ever supportive, demonstrating magnificent teaching traits.”

Mr Skelton said he had striven to improve his skills and find new ideas during his 17 years of teaching.

He said: “Our instructors aim to ‘coach’ our learners and not to simply ‘instruct’.

“This empowers our learners to make their own decisions about their learning and to better prepare them for the real world after they pass their driving test.”

He said the reaction to the win had been amazing, not just from family and friends but former customers and other instructors.

Mr Skelton was shortlisted with three instructors from Thatcham in the awards.

Martin Caswell of Acclaim Motor School, Clare Denton of Dreams Driving and Sue Smith of Jigsaw Driving School were shortlisted in the top 100 instructors in the UK, out of more than 40,000 instructors.

Mr Skelton said there were high standards in Newbury and Thatcham and it was “nice to be recognised and to receive such a prestigious award after years of working to high standards and being committed to continual improvement”.

His top tip for people learning to drive or take their test was to concentrate on the basics and do the simple things well.

He said: “Many of our customers are nervous or anxious about driving.

“By keeping things simple and using mindfulness techniques to overcome nerves we are able to help our nervous and anxious customers to pass their driving test.

“In fact these skills will stand them in good stead long after they pass their test.”

Driving instructors are currently allowed to teach critical workers who already have a Practical Driving Test booked.

The Government roadmap for easing restrictions says that instructors can resume tests along with other non-essential retailers on April 12.

Mr Skelton said: “We all appreciate that the Government have a job to do to stop the spread of coronavirus.

“Let’s hope that we are able to get back to teaching on April 12 and that it will be the end of lockdowns.

“There will be a big backlog of people waiting to start lessons and to take their driving test.”

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