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An online petition has been launched urging Gillingham School to reverse its decision to stop sixth form pupils using free periods in the school day to take driving lessons.

The petition, started by driving instructor Ed Ralph, says that public opinion is against the move and puts forward a number of arguments in favour of allowing school-time driving lessons.

It says: ‘Driving lessons are educational – they are proven to develop many skills that are important for adult and working life such as patience, communication, decision making, dealing with pressure and an ability to multitask.

‘Driving Licenses are often required for jobs – many jobs now list a driving licence as “essential” or “desirable” regardless of whether driving is actually an obvious requirement of the job. Having a driving licence greatly increases employabilty.’

It continues: ‘Without being able to take lessons during the working day young drivers will not experiencing many of the hardest and most dangerous driving conditions during their learning period which will increase the risk to themselves and others on the road.’

The petition also that the daytime lessons prepare young learners better for the tests which always take place in the daytime and argues that pass rates will fall if pupils cannot learn in similar conditions.

It also claims that allowing pupils to take lessons at school frees up more evening time for homework.

The petition has so far attracted 65 signatures.

A spokesperson for Gillingham School said they were meeting to discuss the issue early next week and would make a statement then.

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