As I realised how little I had been taught I got angrier and angrier. I spent a lot of money, had been assured that I would get to test standard, had been allowed to take the test when I was patently not ready, had not been prepared or taught in any sort of way and had accepted incompetent instruction in my inexperience.
So after my fourth test I phoned up Nippers and complained. The guy took a few of my complaints, said it was disgusting and someone would be in contact ASAP.
Three days later I phoned up again and at first the guy professed ignorance of my complaint. I was quite persistent and he said he would look into it. Two hours later he phoned back and it was clear that he had been the one to speak to Steve in the first place. He denied everything, except the London trip which he said was by mutual agreement. I could hear the disbelief in the mans voice as he was talking to me. No chance of a refund and Nippers had no responsibility for anything, I received tuition, that's it. He only dealt with four of my complaints, the rest had got lost along the way. By this point I had had enough and I phoned the CAB next.
The lady gave me a reference number, helped me with the legal phrasing and logged the complaint against the company.
I have written the complaint and it is ready to go. I will send it recorded delivery this week. It includes a demand for a partial refund for services not received.
I revised a copy for the DSA and sent it to them on the 7th of August. I received a reply today, I will post that here tomorrow and deal with the issues raised by it then.
But basically they test instructors at the beginning of their career, then they get regular 'check tests'. Yes Steve had one of those he passed whilst he was teaching me. He joked about choosing his pupil carefully and 'pulling out all of the stops'. Apparently you can have anyone as your 'pupil', family member, qualified driver, anyone and you get enough warning to be able to prepare the lesson thoroughly. Unless you commit a motoring offence or get enough complaints you can be as shit an instructor as you want, as long as you can subtlety intimidate your pupils, have lots of inexperienced and nervous pupils, or can make them feel sorry for you (that would be Steve then).
I have also had some awesome advice from mumsnet which I will also post on here in case it helps anyone else.