ABOUT THE TRAINER
ABOUT THE TRAINER | Brian M Stratton ADI
Hello to all regular visitors to this page! If there’s anything else you’d like to know don’t be shy, just call or text.
ALL training is carried out on a one-to-one basis by Brian M Stratton ADI. He is one of the UK’s highest qualified and most widely experienced ADI trainers. He has been driving since 1973, teaching since 1986 and began training instructors from 1988.
With a vast amount of driving experience, clocking up almost 3 million miles so far, he has also broadened his experience by taking courses in saloon-car track driving, rally driving, four-wheel driving and tracked vehicles including a Chieftain tank. He has passed tests to drive lorries and buses and also holds a full motorbike licence.
He has driven extensively In the UK, Eire, The Channel Isles, The Isle-of-Man [on roads with no speed limits] and in mainland and offshore Europe: Germany [including unrestricted autobahns], Austria, Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal, The Azores, Madeira and Porto Santo.
Brian is one of very few trainers [approximately only 20 out of all 48,000 ADIs there were at that time] to have been trained by the DSA [as the DVSA were known at that time] at the Cardington Training Establishment under their External Trainer Development Scheme. This has given him a very clear understanding of what the Examiners are looking for when carrying out ADI Part 3, Standards Check Tests and ORDIT inspections.
His qualifications include:
- ADI Grade A [51/51] Previously Grade 6 six times
- Principal of ORDIT Training Establishment
- Cardington Special Driving Test Grade A manual & automatic [six times]
- DIAmond Advanced Instructor
- RoSPA Advanced Drivers’ Association Diploma Holder
- City & Guilds 730 FETC – First Part Completed
Full Licence Holder for the following Categories:
- LGV / PCV / Motorcycle
Brian works with instructors from all over the UK, from The Outer Hebrides to Cornwall, and many places in between, who travel to the Training Establishment to be coached. Following training, they then confidently take their tests in their home town, or nearest location.
Over the years he’s helped many thousands of instructors to quality, or stay qualified, and has sat in on numerous Part 3 tests.
Highlights of his career so far include:
“…Passing my own Part 3, which I found very challenging, was such a life-changing moment.”
“ …Training a client to achieve a grade 6/6 on his ADI Part 3…”
“…Coaching another client to a grade 6 on her very first Check Test…”
“…It was extremely gratifying working with a senior client aged 78-years-old, to achieve a satisfactory pass at his third and final Check Test thereby enabling him to remain on the Register and to carry on teaching…”
“…I’ve worked extremely hard to maintain a pass rate for the Part 3 of 80% plus, year in year out, as compared to the national average pass rate of around 30%…I feel this is due mainly to a policy of continual improvement by constantly assessing training methods, developing new techniques and also fine-tuning those that work, to make them work even better…”
“…Helping 237 clients [and counting] to achieve a Grade A on the new Standards Check… this includes six maximum scores of 51/51 and eight of 50/51… and a client who achieved a Grade A 45 on their third and final attempt after two previous failures of 26 and 28… ”
About His Driving:
On Brian’s latest RoSPA Advanced Driver’s Diploma re-test, the examiner commented in his report:
“…This was a diploma re-test and there was high expectation… this drive did not disappoint…the commentary was above the required standard and was full of detailed information…this was one of the best drives of the year from a high quality driver with a veritable knowledge of Roadcraft and all things driving…”
Result: Gold (Diploma re-test)
On Brian’s latest Cardington Special Driving Test, the assessor commented in his report:
“…Brian drove to a very competent and professional standard throughout the drive…he showed good levels of planning, road positioning and smoothness…his driving was progressive when safe and showed restraint when appropriate…good car control and procedures were demonstrated to a consistent level…”
Result: Grade A
About His Teaching:
On Brian’s latest Standards Check he was awarded a Grade A [51/51] and the examiner commented: “That was text book. An excellent session observed. Well done!”
About His Training:
On Brian’s latest ORDIT inspection he was successful with grade 6’s being awarded in all categories.
In the last six inspections the DSA and DVSA inspectors have made the following comments about Brian’s work:
“…Excellent… Precision Engineered Training…”
“…Very Well Structured… As Good as it Gets…”
“…Absolutely First Class…”
“…A Really Good Session… Very Professional… ”
“…A Very Good Session… Very Well Done… ” [Latest: 28 March 2018 – Inspector 1]
“…It was an excellent training session which was tailored and centred around the client needs… and achieved the learning outcomes… ” [Latest: 28 March 2018 – Inspector 2]
On this latest inspection there were two inspectors.
This is what clients say about his training:
“I really enjoyed my training – you were very patient and made everything so straightforward.” Ray, ADI
“Very professional – you always had answers and gave me a massive boost to my confidence.” Louise, ADI
“The best coaching I ever had.” Aston, ADI
“I told you yesterday and I want to say it again – You are the best!” Marcel, ADI
“You always had the correct information and gave me clear and constructive advice.” Sarah, ADI
“I now know what client-centred training is and you demonstrate it very professionally.” Andrew, ADI
“You obviously take great pride in your work and that shows in the way you train.” Salima, ADI
He uses the latest client-centred coaching techniques and is the author of many highly acclaimed books, DVDs and audio CDs on the subject of training and teaching – please see the Publications section for further details.
New book published 7.1.17 – 1771 Driving – see http://www.1771driving.com
Tel/Txt Brian M Stratton on 07725 – 121 121 for more information or to book training.
Q&A WITH BRIAN M STRATTON |
What Prompted You to Become an Instructor?
I was an advanced driver – with the League of Safe Drivers – as RoSPA was known at that time, and I wanted to coach others so therefore I had to pass the ADI exam in order to do that professionally. Having qualified, I then taught learners for a while before progressing to training.
And Then to Go Into Training?
Because I found it challenging to qualify, and I knew others did as well, I decided that I would follow that course and move into helping people to qualify. It seemed a natural career progression and I liked the idea of helping instructors to achieve ADI status and then developing their careers further – Cardington, ORDIT and so on.
Best Career Moments So Far?
The stand-out achievements so far have been helping a client to pass the ADI Part 3 with a score of 6/6, a grading which hadn’t been achieved before or since. Another client was awarded a grade 6 on their very first Check Test, and most recently, seven clients consecutively achieved a Grade A score on the new Standards Check, with a total of thirteen in the first nine months – this figure now stands at 241 Grade As. All of my ORDIT clients have passed their initial inspection first time, including one with all 6s marked on the form – again, a feat not equalled before or since.
In terms of publications, I vividly remember the Sunday Times phoning me to ask if I’d mind if they reviewed my first book ‘The Driving Test: Essential Information’. Not a difficult decision, and one which took me all of half-a-second or so…
Who or What Has Influenced Your Training Style?
I developed a coaching style relatively early in my career having realised that working with clients and going with the grain, got far better results than imposing a rigid structure of rote teaching. Listening to what they wanted to do or achieve, and then giving them the rules and tools which they could constructively apply was, and still is, a key component of the the way I deliver coaching. It’s proved consistently successful over many years in all disciplines: ADI training, Cardington Coaching, ORDIT training, IAM and RoSPA training and so on. I also study other arenas such as business or sport to see how training and coaching is delivered within those environments. Who is the best in their chosen field, and why are they the best – what do they do that others don’t? Examples include cycling and football. Within the cycling world the guru is Sir David Brailsford and his coaching concept is ‘the aggregation of marginal gains’, whereby every aspect of performance is forensically scrutinised and procedures put in place to deliver improvements. Although individually these are small increases, collectively they make a significant difference. In football, one of the coaches consistently achieving success is Jose Mourinho, formerly at Chelsea. His techniques are a fusion of skilled man-management and tactical nous which is based on in-depth studies of opponents, and deploying a team specifically selected for each match, and then micro-managing the team and tactics within the match itself. Although no longer with Chelsea he will [and is] surely succeed at whichever club he decides to join.
As to who has influenced me I would choose two Supervising Examiners from the DSA, as the DVSA were then called. The first is Derek McRae who was an ‘old school’ Supervising Examiner who put the fear of God into many ADIs and PDIs who were trying to qualify. Although he was based in Inverness, I worked with many PDIs who had come up against Derek and had been given short shrift, and very often a grade 2/2 on their Part 3, and then travelled to me to help them prepare for their next attempt. I realised that Derek was [sadly he is no longer with us] someone who sought a very high standard from all those he came into contact with, be it PDIs or ADIs. I met Derek when I went to Cardington to take the Special Car Test. He often worked there as an OSI [Occasional Staff Instructor] training other examiners to his very exacting standards. And of course, taking ADIs for the CST [Cardington Special Test]. When I realised he would be examining me my heart naturally sank and I knew my driving would be subjected to very close scrutiny. I must have caught him on a good day because he passed me and I was able to retain my Grade A. He did, though, mark me down for two driver faults – with which I good-naturedly disagreed. I reasoned that two driver faults with him would be akin to a zero with another examiner. What struck me about Derek was was his extreme professionalism and during the drive we talked about the industry, its changes and its future and he was very passionate about ADIs attaining and maintaining a high standard of tuition.
Another ‘old school’ former Supervising Examiner who has helped me look at my teaching methods and identified areas in which I could develop my coaching is Dez Peace. Cut from the same cloth as Derek McRae, these are examiners the like of which we won’t see again. With an unrivalled knowledge of their subject they both had the knack [and Dez still does] of wearing that knowledge lightly, and making you feel as if you knew those things all along, they just pointed you in the right direction to discover it yourself. Dez was also highly demanding of PDIs who attended for Part 3 tests. He earned the nickname Desmond Tutu, owing to the fact that he seemed to award quite a few 2/2 grades. I recall one check test when Dez said he thought I’d worked very hard to develop my client’s driving. I replied: “Don’t all ADIs?” His response was that, unfortunately not. He would, of course, always find something that needed development, but you knew it was a based on sound procedures and meant in good faith.
I also enjoyed the visits to Cardington for the External Trainer Development Scheme – a short-lived commercial project designed to bring trainers together with the DSA to ensure everyone was ‘on the same page’. Those training sessions were invaluable and gave insights into the DSA methods and mindset that then influenced and enhanced my training. However, it always felt like going into the lions’ den and you were always on your guard to a certain extent. I think there always has been that ‘them and us’ atmosphere, and us ADIs are usually slightly wary around ‘them’!
Various ADIs have also influenced my career, especially in the early years when I was just starting out: Bill, Derrick and Douglas to name a few who, as time-served instructors, were always happy to offer guidance and advice to us newbies and point out the error of our ways and how it should be done properly.
What Do You Think Are Going to Be The Key Changes to The Industry?
I think it’s already started to happen – the introduction of the Standards Check has seen a gradual change in the way ADIs teach, and has ushered in coaching as the default system of developing driving skills in both learners and full licence holders.
That’s in the short to medium term, and longer term I can see the raising of the standing of us ADIs – possibly something like an Institute of Chartered Instructors whereby instructors are viewed in a much more professional light.
Also, the promotion of those ADIs who are Grade A and making the public much more aware that not all ADIs are the same and that there is a difference between an A and a B, for example. ADIs can now book their own Standards Check online, selecting the day, time and test centre of their choice. This will enable ADIs to ‘own’ this aspect of their careers and take full responsibility for it.
The introduction of the ‘new’ driving test on Monday 04 December 2017 was also a significant step forward in driver education. As was the alignment of the ADI Part 3 with the Standards Check on 27 December 2017, and the ADI Part 2 on the same date.
All training courses have been adapted to reflect the above changes.
And Finally, What Advice Would You Give to New Instructors and Drivers?
Take nothing for granted. You’re only as good as the last time you taught or drove. It’s like an MOT – it’s only good on the day. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been driving or teaching, or what qualifications you have, it’s ensuring that you drive or teach consistently safely and use self-assessment to develop your skills further. See it as a journey rather than a destination – it’s a continuous process.
NEED TO KNOW:
Brian M Stratton is a very experienced coach who imparts information in a clear and easy to understand manner. All training, coaching and guidance is one-to-one and is very carefully tailored to suit your needs, requirements and abilities.