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What is “Cardington”?
Cardington is a facility in Bedfordshire where the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has their training headquarters. The site at Cardington has a large off road section devoted to motorcycle training, and it is here that they developed the Module 1 Test layout. It is now also used as a part-time test centre.
All motorcycle instructors who want to be able to prepare students for their motorcycle tests (Restricted A2 or Direct Access Scheme) must successfully complete two assessed courses at Cardington. The first one lasts for two full days and tests their ability to conduct and supervise Compulsory Basic Training (CBT), and the second one, which takes place in a single day, tests their ability to teach students on larger bikes (A2 or DAS). The assessments are conducted by DVSA examiners.
All instructors providing CBT courses are either “down-trained” and working towards their CBT assessment at Cardington, or have already successfully completed the assessment. All instructors who provide A2 or DAS training have completed and passed both assessments.
1/. Can an instructor teach if they have not been to Cardington?
Yes, they can but only for students on motorcycles/scooters up to 125cc. These instructors are described as "down-trained", in other words the training they have received is the "down-training" from a qualified Cardington supervisory grade instructor.
2/. Does that mean "down-trained" instructors aren't the real deal?
No, not at all, it just means they haven't gone to Cardington yet.
3/. Are the Cardington assessments hard to pass?
Yes, they are; the pass rate is in the region of 40%.
4/. Do they provide instructor training at Cardington?
No, the DVSA expect motorcycle training schools to train their own staff before sending them to Cardington. Training Schools closely monitor the training of all their instructors, including regular in-house assessments, as well as yearly re-assessments by DVSA staff.
5/. What happens if an instructor fails one of the Cardington assessments?
The assessment includes two elements – 1) the ability to instruct students safely and fully in accordance with DVSA regulations, and 2) the ability to supervise other instructors in order to “down-train” them. If an instructor fails the CBT assessment because their instruction was judged inadequate the DSVA will take the CBT card they acquired by “down training” (and therefore their livelihood) away. If they fail because only their supervision was poor, then they may keep their card. In practise, however, the DVSA normally keep the card if they fail.
If they fail the Direct Access Scheme assessment then they are not allowed to conduct any DAS courses and they have to attempt the assessment again in order to reach the required standard. Instructors who fail the DAS assessment are only allowed two attempts per year to successfully achieve the required standard.