Driver education and driver training

What is the difference between driver education and driver training?

Driver education Driver training
  • focuses on attitudes and behaviours of young people as road users (passenger and future driver)
  • focuses on developing the skills for behind-the-wheel operation and control of a motor vehicle
  • can be taught in NSW public schools as part of the:
    • PDHPE K-10 syllabus (Stage 5)
    • Stage 6 PDHPE Life Skills syllabus and Stage 6 Life Ready course
  • is not part of PDHPE syllabuses of the Stage 6 Life Ready course

Learning to drive

Learning to drive is a key responsibility of parents and carers.

It is not a requirement in NSW public schools, PDHPE K–10 syllabus or the department's Stage 6 Life Ready course.

Schools choosing to offer driver training must abide by NSW legislative and department requirements.

These are some articles to share with students and families that may assist students in obtaining their learner licence.

Advice about using learning to drive programs at school

Go-cart and race club driving, driving on off-road tracks and skid pans, and defensive driving courses have little or no positive effect on improving road user behaviour. In fact, they can lead to an increase in risky behaviours.

Learning about traffic laws, driving simulators, wearing fatal vision goggles (beer goggles) also have no real impact on changing or improving young people's behaviours. They also are not relevant to the curriculum.

The best place for learner drivers to achieve basic driving skills is in the real traffic environment in a real motor vehicle under the supervision of an experienced driver or instructor.

We do not recommend the above practices in NSW public schools.

Transport for NSW has developed the Safer Drivers Course as a best practice model for learner drivers in NSW.

Driver Training Implementation Guidelines

These guidelines below have been developed in consultation with Legal Services Directorate.

If you choose to offer driver training at your school it must be delivered:

  • outside of school hours
  • within the context of the school's PDHPE road safety education program
  • to support licensed learner drivers to obtain their 120 hours of on-road driving
  • to comply with the conditions outlined below.

Programs for licensed provisional drivers (P1 and P2) and advanced driving courses are not recommended and are not covered in this information.

You should also contact Legal Services to discuss any local issues relating your school’s area before commencing.

Schools who are considering implementing a driver training program should use this department Driver Training Guidelines checklist to easily review what is required.

The NSW Driving Instructors Act, 1992 and Driving Instructors Regulation, 2016 detail the minimum standard requirements and regulate the licenced professional driver training service providers throughout NSW. These include:

  • Any person instructing another person to drive a motor vehicle and who receives a monetary or other reward must hold a valid NSW Driving Instructor Licence.
  • Commercial driver instructors be qualified and hold a current NSW Driving Instructor's Licence from Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).

NSW public schools must comply with the Act by conducting school-based driver training:

  • outside regular school hours (as documented by the school timetable)
  • at no cost to the students
  • in a duplicate-controlled motor vehicle.
  • A teacher providing driving instruction must be a qualified driving instructor under the NSW Driving Instructors Act, 1992 and Driving Instructors Regulation, 2016. Not doing so is in breach of the Act.
  • Any a member of the school community giving driving instruction who receives some form of reward such as a meal or petrol money, are also required to be qualified driving instructors or they will be in breach of the Act.

Schools can work with outside service providers for the sponsorship or delivery of driver training. Key considerations for principals are:

  • student safety and wellbeing
  • risk management – identify and measure risks, and implement controls
  • training must be conducted with a NSW qualified instructor in a duplicate-controlled vehicle
  • provision of training and the conduct of instructors is in accordance with the NSW Driving Instructors Act, 1992 and Driving Instructors Regulation, 2016
  • provision of duplicate controlled and well maintained vehicles
  • external sponsorship from must meet the conditions of the department's Commercial Arrangement, Sponsorship and Donations policy
  • training is offered for licensed learner drivers only
  • advanced driver training is not recommended
  • Legal Services Directorate need to be consulted before any contract is entered into between the school and eternal provider
  • liability is not incurred with the outside agency.

Principals need to:

  • ensure staff and students are fully aware of their personal rights and responsibilities. One on one instruction could increase the incidence of allegations of improper conduct of instructors or students.
  • provide individualised training for students who are licensed learner drivers.

A driver training program or course in NSW public schools must:

  • be scheduled outside regular school hours
  • linked to the school's driver education program
  • support the Graduated Licensing Scheme (GLS)
  • be designed to develop practical driving tasks as defined in the Learner Driver Log Book.
  • support learner licence holders to undertake the required 120 hours of on-road driving
  • ensure provisional P1 drivers have enough hazard perception skills to progress to a provisional P2 licence by completing the Hazard Perception Test (HPT)
  • emphasise the importance of safe driving
  • not aim to develop advanced driving skills.

Schools need to consult with parents and carers about driver training and tell them about the:

  • educational quality of the training provided
  • risk management procedures and safety of students
  • specific teaching and learning activities and outcomes
  • procedures in the use of public roads, school premises and other specified areas
  • evaluation process and the criteria to be used in assessing the achievement of student outcomes.

All school documentation must stipulate:

  • that students will observe adequate safety
  • the evaluation process and the criteria to be used in assessing the achievement of student outcomes.

Teachers may act as driving instructors in school-based driver training under the following conditions:

  • they hold a current NSW Driving Instructor's' Licence
  • they must be experienced drivers over 21 years of age, have held an unrestricted (not learner, provisional or probationary) NSW driver's licence for three out of the previous four years
  • their involvement has the approval of the principal
  • their participation is on a voluntary basis and attracts no payment
  • the training is on a one-to-one basis during driver training sessions
  • teachers who qualify as instructors should not directly market their services to students of public schools
  • teachers who act as qualified driving instructors in school-based driver training outside of school hours will be covered by the Workers Compensation Act.

Students can participate in driver training under the following conditions:

  • driver training is free of any charge to all participating students
  • participation is voluntary
  • written consent from parents and carers is specific to the particular activities and the arrangements for the training
  • each student must:
    • hold a current NSW learner driver licence
    • be encouraged to wear flat closed in shoes and comfortable clothing
    • will observe the rules applying to driving with a NSW learner driver licence, as well as the NSW road rules
  • The training vehicle will carry only the driving instructor and the learner driver when training is in progress.

Schools that own motor vehicles for driver training must do so under the following conditions:

  • ownership for each vehicle must comply with the conditions outlined in the Department's policy on purchase and acquisition of motor vehicles by schools
  • each vehicle to be used must be equipped with duplicate driving controls of a type approved by Roads and Maritime Services
  • each vehicle to be used must be registered and have comprehensive motor vehicle insurance
  • each vehicle to be used must be serviced and maintained to ensure safe and efficient operation at all times
  • all costs relating to any vehicle used will be met by the agent or agencies sponsoring the project
  • arrangements will be made for the garaging of each vehicle away from Departmental premises.

Schools may cooperate with outside agencies which:

  • operate in compliance with the NSW Driving Instructors Act, 1992 and Driving Instructors Regulation, 2009
  • provide the driver training within the context of the school's driver education program.
  • are prepared to sponsor and fulfil the monitoring and reporting responsibilities of a driver training program in accordance with the department's Sponsorship Policy.


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