D1 Driver Training

Unfortunately,  due to Covid-19 Castle Minibus is no longer able to provide practical minibus training for D1 or MiDAS.  We are extremely proud to have worked with over 2000 schools, academies, colleges and organisations across the UK and remain committed to school minibus safety. Even though we no longer offer the training we want schools to understand the level of training required for their drivers.

D1 Driver Training

At Castle we’re extremely proud to be working with over 2000 schools, academies, colleges and organisations across the UK. We have become the chosen provider of D1 driver training due to our high standard of support and tuition which leads to phenomenal pass rates.

Call today to see what we can do for you 01869 253744

Who needs D1 driver training?

If you passed your driving test before January 1997 you will have inherited your D1 licence as part of that test. However, there is a big difference in driving a minibus full of passengers and driving a car; just because you’re legal doesn’t mean you’re safe.

We recommend that all minibus drivers take the full D1 licence, even if they have inherited the D1 (101).

Candidates will need to complete a medical including an eyesight test, as well passing the theory and the practical driving test.

D1 Driver Training

Champions of Minibus Safety

Currently 12% of drivers are rejected for the D1 licence on the grounds of poor eyesight or medical conditions. Even if your drivers have a D1 currently it’s worth checking their licences, health and eyesight on a regular basis as statistically 12% of them could be currently unfit to drive, depending on when they were last checked.

Castle Minibus also have an online driver risk assessment programme (CODA) that will enable you to easily identify if your drivers need further training.

What to look for with D1 driver training?

Ensuring you’re ready for the test

There are online portals that candidates can use to prepare for the theory test. Schools and training providers can see whether candidates are ready based on the time spent revising online.

D1 driver training student pass
Castle Minibus Celebrating 25 Years

The benefits of a full D1 licence

  • A medical and eyesight test for all drivers

  • Larger vehicle specific theory test

  • Supervised practical training in a large vehicle

  • Safe, confident and certified drivers

  • No concerns over minibus weight limits

What if you already hold a D1?

It is recommended under a Section 19 Permit that drivers with inherited D1 entitlement complete MiDAS (Minibus Drivers Assessment Scheme) every 3-4 years for additional peace of mind. This refresher training can also be taken by those who have the full D1 licence. We also recommend that schools check their drivers medical status bi-annually and complete a 20m eyesight check annually.

Driving minibuses on a standard B car licence

Any vehicle with eight passenger seats or less is considered a car, not a minibus and some 12-seat minibuses can be driven on a standard B car licence. There are some circumstances where a light-weight minibus can be driven on a standard B car licence; if the gross vehicle weight is under 3.5 tonnes (with an additional allowance of 750kg for disabled access equipment only) and the driver is over 21 years of age, is a volunteer and is driving for social purposes. Read more about the guidance for teachers driving with a car licence.

For clarification on licences, vehicle weights and permits, all staff members responsible for minibuses can complete the Online Minibus Compliance Course to receive certification they have received minibus compliance training.

More information can also be found on our Driving a School Minibus FAQ section.

D1 Driver training student passes
D1 Driver training pass student
D1 Driver training pass student
D1 Driver training pass student
D1 Driver training pass student
D1 minibus driver training candidate with pass certificate
D1 Driver training pass student

Benefits of a full D1 driving licence

  • A medical and eyesight test for all drivers

  • Larger vehicle specific theory test

  • Supervised practical training in a large vehicle

  • Safe, confident and certified drivers

  • No concerns over minibus weight limits

Talk to Castle Minibus today

Castle Minibus no longer offer practical driver training but continue to support schools with online driver risk assessments and safety and compliance training. if you have a question, please get in touch.

D1 Course
Consent *

We are very pleased that Russell has at long last passed his driving test and can now drive school minibuses.

The service we received from yourselves was excellent, I know that Russell had to be nagged from both of us to revise and complete work on time but we got there in the end!

We will certainly use you again for any other staff members that need training.

Kind regards


Carolyn Andrews, Assistant to the Business Manager , Long Close School

‘Thank you for all that Castle have done, from the great admin and organisation to the brilliant lessons from Liz. Liz was superb, incredibly knowledgeable and I can’t fault her.

Thank you once again.


Daniel Cupit, King's Bruton

‘I just wanted to give you some feedback on my trainer Cliff. To sum him up in one word would be fantastic! He guided me well in improving my driving, took the time to go over every detail of the test, listened to me when I asked to practise something e.g. pulling away and talking me through the questions. It was an absolute pleasure doing my two driving tests with Castle and please pass onto Cliff my thanks.

Kind regards,


Hayley Perren , Park High School

‘Dear Anne,

Many thanks for your email and administrative support with the D1. Liz was great; she really knows her stuff, kept things simple and made sure I knew what I needed to do to pass. I think we were both pleased to come through with a clean record (no minors) – certainly much better than I managed on my first licence as a teenager!

Best wishes,

Jack Phillips’

Jack Phillips, Dragon School

‘I thoroughly enjoyed my driver training.

I would like to praise Karen for the excellent training that she provided that meant that I was fully prepared for the exam. In addition she has a wonderful personality that made it easy to learn and an enjoyable experience.

Many thanks


Carl Harris, Walton High

‘I’ve found the communication from you guys absolutely brilliant. Quick, succinct and supportive.

With regard to Liz, she was absolutely phenomenal! After 20mins with Liz I felt so at ease. She’s so laid back, knows her shizzle and she explains it in a really clear way. I felt like I had my cool auntie teaching me :)

I genuinely thought I was going to have a shocker today but she was super cool and calm and it really made me feel better! I would unreservedly recommend her and will do to school when we next put someone through the test!

Thanks again for your help but I really couldn’t have done it without Liz!

Becky :)’

Rebecca Davies-Cox, Redland Green School

‘Cliff was fantastic. He was genuinely interested in my progress and took care and attention when supporting me over the two days. He was a complete professional (and perfectionist), but this gave me the best chance of passing the test.

Please pass on my thanks once more.


Rachel Magee, Norwich High School for Girls GDST

‘Thank you for your kind email. I am really delighted to have passed my minibus test last week and in particular I was really impressed with Cliff as my driving instructor, who was just fabulous and ensured that I was ready for the test. As well as being helpful and patient ( which I definitely needed at times ), he explained things clearly and presented things in a positive and detailed manner. Please pass on a huge and sincere thanks to him.

Thanks to all at Castle driver training too for your help and patience. It is very much appreciated.

Kindest regards

Andy Renshaw’

Andrew Renshaw, Queen Elizabeth Grammar School

‘Cliff was great throughout the week supporting us. Please pass on my thanks to him as it was a bit of a rush after my test with Shaun going straight into his.

Kind regards, Jack’

Jack Denham, Merchant Taylors Prep

‘Thank you very much. I had two great days with Liz, she is a brilliant instructor.

Thank you all for your support.

Kind regards, Bradley’

Bradley Sargeant, Bradstow School

“I thoroughly enjoyed it. [The CPC and D1] Was a bit nerve racking for me but Liz was fantastic, and without her experience and guidance I wouldn’t have done it. Also, thanks to Anne for the [driver training support] work involved too.

Regards, Jason”

Jason Woodburn, Yarnton Manor

“Cliff was a really nice guy and great at his job. Explained all required [for the D1 test] really well and he had me on point by the end of the first day. Thanks again. I would also like to say that the theory test revision is great and it’s a must, I learnt a lot from it.

Cheers Mark”

Mark Dalby, BT Fleet Solutions

‘It was rather stressful, if I am being honest, but that was entirely down to me not wanting to fail it.

Liz was excellent and I was very much appreciative to have her in the minibus as I was being assessed.

I found the entire process incredibly well organised from Castle’s perspective and will recommend you to colleagues.

Very best wishes, Andrew Ottaway’

Andrew Ottaway, Berkhamsted School

‘I would like to say how brilliant Castle have been, and how good Liz was over the two days. She was very calming and was a fantastic instructor. I wouldn’t have passed without her….’

Alex Borsoi, The Cavendish School

‘Firstly I would like to thank you for all your support over the past few months with helping me achieve my results.

I would also like to give you some feedback about Liz.

Liz was absolutely fantastic, she really made me feel at ease and was a brilliant trainer. She was very professional and explained everything clearly and put up with me keep asking silly questions and repeating myself she also made me feel less nervous.

I think Liz is an asset to Castle and would recommend both you and her to anyone. Please would you be kind enough to pass this onto her?

Kind regards, Rob Moon’

Robert Moon, Bridge and Patrixbourne Church of England Primary School

‘It was great and Cliff was a really good instructor.

Thank you, Sean’

Sean Hopkins, Teacher of boys PE, Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy

‘My instructor Paul, from Castle Minibus was very helpful. He praised, helped me to realise things that I needed to do, things that I was doing that I clearly shouldn’t and told me not to give up. He was patient and perservered with me when I was moaning and having a tantrum and gave me reasurance that I could do it. Great service that is highly recommended.’

Deborah Lockhart, The Matthew Arnold School

‘I have been very pleased indeed with your whole process. Your support with the bookings and reminders and the software for practising the theory has made it all seamless. Liz, my trainer was very supportive and rigorous in telling me what areas I needed to work on, and had a lot of patience with me when I struggled with the reverse manoeuvre at first. Her tailored advice meant that I could go in with confidence. Furthermore, she was very flexible with the practical arrangements, for example meeting me near to my house as the test centre was near to my house, which made things easier and also meant I had more opportunity to practise.

Overall an excellent experience, and I would thoroughly recommend Castle and Liz to anyone seeking to obtain their D1 licence. Thanks, Geoff’

Geoffrey Andrews, Sidcot School

‘I send this email to thank you for the resources but I also want to extend a massive thank you to Paul. Not only was he professional and so clearly experienced in all things driving, but he was so supportive and a really lovely man. Without gushing, I felt like I could ask any question without feeling silly and that his instruction was tailored to my needs rather than an agenda that he needed to fulfil.

I had an excellent experience with him over the last two days and I am genuinely grateful for his guidance and in honesty, I would have said the same if I had failed. Thank you again. Nicole’

Nicole Newby, Langdon Academy

‘I would like to pass on my thanks to Liz who was an excellent instructor. Firm but fair and with a personable manner. I enjoyed my two days and was very happy with Liz as my instructor. I would certainly recommend her. She gave me confidence.


Edward Welch’

Edward Welch, Bristol Cathedral Choir School

‘Once again a huge thank you for pulling out the stops to get the bus delivered today, it really is appreciated. It definitely confirms that you were the right choice in supplying our minibus. I will be singing your praises to anyone who is thinking of getting a minibus.

A massive thank you !!’

Andrew Beckinsale-Yates, Broomhill Junior School

We are delighted that both David Winter and Matt Nichol have passed!

They both thoroughly enjoyed the training and as a school we have been very impressed with the quality and administration of all contact with Castle. In addition, both candidates gave very positive feedback about Cliff.

Louise Bainbridge, School Business Manager, Bernard Gilpin Primary School

‘Our minibus is absolutely amazing. We`ve started picking up and returning children who live a long way away. And of course it`s publicity for us when we are out and about. I wish we could have got one ages ago.’

Linda Bradley, Byker Primary School

‘I’m very pleased that I passed, Paul was very good and I would highly recommend your company.

Thanks for all yours and Paul’s support.

Thanks Jake’

Jake Francis, 4th Canvey Island Sea Scout Group

‘Liz was brilliant over the last couple of days and my pass is entirely thanks to her. She is calm, patient and clear in what is needed to pass and I couldn’t recommend Castle and Liz highly enough.

Huge thanks again,

Emily Corrigan, Head of Geography, Kings' Bruton

‘Liz has been amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed our 3 days with her. She is an excellent instructor and I’ve really appreciated all of the support from Castle.

Best wishes


Emilie Loveless, House Mistress and Modern Languages Teacher, King's Bruton

‘I would like to write and praise my excellent instructor, Karen. She was incredibly knowledgeable, helpful, patient and easy to get on with. She helped me stay calm and eased my nerves and knew what to advise me on and how to improve my weaknesses. She is an asset to Castle Driver Training. Please thank her again on my behalf.

Thanks, David’

David Humphrey, Cambourne Village College

‘We are more than happy with the excellent service that Castle provide, all the staff that have completed their D1 have been extremely grateful for the professionalism and attitude that the instructors provide.

Thanks again

Leo Healy, Radley College

‘It was an absolute pleasure to have Paul as my instructor and fingers crossed we will be looking to book in more practical experiences in the near future.

Kind Regards

Olivia Kristine, The Matthew Arnold School

‘Just want to say thanks again for the training with Cliff. I learnt more in the two days with you than I did after months of training when passing my regular driving test (I also managed to change a lot of bad habits too!) Thankfully all the advice and wisdom you passed on enabled me to pass the D1 test.

Since passing the test, I’ve driven the minibuses at school with children on board which was a totally different experience but one I enjoyed nonetheless!

Thanks again,
David Winter’

David Winter, Bernard Gilpin Primary School

‘Couldn’t fault the experience I have had with you as a company. Incredibly helpful communications at all times, even if that has been to ‘gently encourage’ my studying for theory tests, speedy responses to any questions and providing handy help sheets. Liz, what can I say? She was simply brilliant. Beyond being a real pleasure to spend two days with, her professionalism, knowledge, handy hints and ever steady/calm demeanour was just what I needed. She had a fabulous ability to instill confidence in me, without being too positive (which would have no doubt made me too cocky!!) and always knew just what to say. So, all in all, with ‘D1’ ready to be stamped on my licence, the process was super easy and I can’t say thank you enough.

Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you.’

Martin Gibb, Amesbury School

‘Everything seemed to go well with the training, Thanks again to you for finding another trainer when the original trainer was unavailable, and to the trainer herself for stepping in to pick this up – it would have been extremely difficult for me to rearrange given the pressures on teaching staff time.’

Louise Simmonds, Langley Grammar School

‘From my side, I find you all extremely helpful. You were very patient with me answering numerous questions when I first contacted you and then dealt with the initial set up so swiftly. Anne is always following up and keeping me informed, which I need! If I ever ask for updates, Anne promptly lets me know what I need.


From Linden:

‘They were excellent, instructor was an especially nice guy. 10/10 from me.


Karen Rowell and Linden Lockhart, Ashford School

‘Karen was a great trainer, very honest and professional! She really took the time to make sure everything was right for the test. She is a real credit to Castle Minibus!’

Marc Spittle, Private learner