+ What car will the public drive?

Pupils will drive your car.

+ What sort of car do I need?

Instruction takes place in your car which, ideally, has a manual gearbox, four seats and a central handbrake.

If this is a problem then please contact us.

+ Who teaches the pupil to drive?

Out instructors are on hand from the start to help if things get tricky. Primarily however, the Associate (parent or guardian) teaches the member to drive. At regular intervals, the pupil will be assessed by an instructor to help guide members and associates alike, and when appropriate move the member up a grade.

+ What about a driving license?

The event takes place on private land so no license is either required or available.

+ What about insurance?

Because the event takes place on private land no vehicle to vehicle insurance is required or available – this is an ‘own risk’ activity. There is no need to inform your car insurance company. Learning to drive is an inherently risky activity; however, we design the road layouts and activities in a manner that mitigates risk whilst maintaining a realistic situation.

+ Who are the instructors?

The core of our Instruction and Marshal team are volunteers from The Under 17 Car Club – our sister organization, who have taken their own children through this process – so they know and understand what you are experiencing. Many are members of the Institute of Advanced Motorists or RoADAR. Other organisations providing Instructors include Gloucestershire, West Mercia and Warwickshire Police Force, Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership and Gloucestershire IAM.

+ How is it funded?

The project is primarily funded from student fees. In Gloucestershire sponsorship is received from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire, West Mercia and Warwickshire.

+ Why do you need supporting adults involved?

The supporting adult is a key part of the tuition process so is normally required full time for the week. This support which builds and develops on existing trust enhances the learning for the students and teaches the adult a lot about the child. The process also requires the adult’s car. (We do manage our way around some short absences as we recognize that adults often have both jobs and other children).

+ What are the hours?

Each day starts with signing in and a briefing by 0845 and typically finishes around 1600 depending on light and weather.

+ What if I don't live near a venue?

We are always seeking to expand the programme to new areas in conjunction with local road safety organisations and public bodies. This is a long and slow process.

Meanwhile, there are reasonably priced hotels local to the venue. Subject to space on the course, students are welcome from any UK address.

+ What is the mix of activities?

The students spend about 60% of their time ‘in the car’ with 40% on discussions concerned with understanding and managing road risk including peer pressure and Highway Code knowledge.

+ What about facilities?

Pathfinder takes place on a disused airfield providing the ideal, open space for learning to drive. We design road circuits on this space using cones to mark out roads, roundabouts etc...

Toilet facilities are available.

+ What if my child has different challenges or needs such as a physical disability or learning difficulties?

Pathfinder is open to all students in the appropriate age range, regardless of other factors. Provided you, the supporting adult or associate are willing and able to provide the support we are happy to include your child.

The only limitation we impose on this inclusiveness is unmanageable risk to others – we have never yet refused entry on these grounds.

It is important to note that the programme is delivered by volunteer instructors who will not be expert in any learning or health conditions that may affect your child. We therefore need your guidance and support in working with them in the most effective way for them. Previous intakes have included children with autism, a range of learning difficulties, physical disabilities, cerebral palsy and Down’s syndrome.

+ What about safeguarding?

Every child is accompanied throughout the week by their supporting adult. The programme is delivered within the Child Protection Policy of The Under 17 Car Club Charitable Trust and all Pathfinder adult volunteers are screened in accordance with that policy.

+ What are the benefits of the course?

Reduced risk of crashing. Too many drivers crash during the first few years behind the wheel. Pathfinder explains why and gives clear guidance on how crashes can be avoided. Young drivers who have attended a Pathfinder course have been involved in significantly fewer collisions than their peers. Get on the road cheaper and quicker. Pathfinder gives you a head start so that when you reach 17 you should need fewer lessons before taking your test. Expert tuition from highly experienced instructors. The accompanying adult will enhance their own driving skills.

+ Do you have a grading system?

Yes. Our members progress through levels 3, 2, 1. Each level requires not only improved driving skills, but theory tests.

+ Are there any conditional charges?

There are no extra charges beyond the initial course fee.

+ I see a Caterham in the pictures - do I really get to drive that?

Once a student reaches a high enough standard of driving car swapping is encouraged to give pupils an experience of a wider range of cars. However any swapping of cars is at the discretion of the vehicle owners.

+ Is there any catering?

Unfortunately we are not able to provide any catering beyond tea / coffee making facilities. You will need to bring your own lunch.