I have been a tutor for the last 6 years, tutoring students between the ages of 7-31, including students with dyslexia. Multiple students of mine have gone on to gain A grades at A Level and all have surpassed their original expectations.
I have completed residential tutoring assignments in France and Shanghai, supporting families both on holiday and at home.
Over the last year, I have very much enjoyed extending my online work, supporting students in Abu Dhabi, who have successfully gained entry into UK prep schools, aiding students in Hong Kong to improve and broaden their understanding of English Literature (reading and writing), and conducting extra curricular lessons with students in Atlanta, America, in a bid to enhance their problem solving skills.
After graduating with a degree in English Literature from Cambridge University (St Catharine's College) I studied a post graduate degree in Acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). At A level I gained 4 A's in English, Economics, History and Theatre Studies, gaining the highest UMS points possible in both English and Economics. During my post grad, I realised the value of combining great communication skills with a real passion for good literature. Over the past 4 years I've taught students with a huge variety of academic needs from locations as diverse as Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates and Atlanta over Skype and face to face. I am familiar with most 11+ and 13+ entrance specifications, and with the English syllabus for GCSE and A Level, having prepared many students for these exams. Many of my older students have improved their grades by two or three grade boundaries, whilst 11+ students have gained scholarships to St Mary's Ascot, Wycombe Abbey, Merchant Taylor's, Latimer (North London Grammar) and Marlborough College amongst others. I can provide excellent references. Above all, I seek to provide each student with a tailored experience that matches their individual needs.
My approach is quite simple - if a student isn't enjoying themselves, I won't be either. So I ensure lessons are engaging and varied, with focused analysis and clear structure to set targets. An intense and individual approach requires a level of trust to exist between myself and the student, so I'm as honest and constructive as can be. Only when a tutee feels the freedom to tell me when they don't understand can we make progress and really get results.
What I do when I am not tutoring
I work as a professional actor having gained a Post Graduate degree (Hons) in Professional Acting at LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art), 2008-11. I also volunteer on the patient request radio show at UCHL, utilizing the sensitivity and people skills that I have developed whilst tutoring. In addition, I write scripts for an interactive dining experience that's been syndicated across London and New York, as well as performing my own stand up comedy at the Edinburgh, Adelaide, Melbourne, London and Perth International Fringe Festivals.
'Thank you so much for your fantastic tutoring. You have really challenged our son and brought out the best in his natural ability. He has really enjoyed your tutoring too, which is not easy to accomplish.' (Mother of Eton pre-test student)
"My daughter thought that Helen was fantastic. She was able to do so much with her in just a small window of opportunity and the difference in her work afterwards was remarkable. Helen was able to offer her really sound advice on what was best to write about and the correct tone to use. The white board was also really helpful. Overall, a fantastic experience and I would happily recommend Helen again." (Mother of AS/A2 English and Drama student)
It was lovely to meet Helen, not only is she exceptionally nice, but also a very good teacher! Thank you so much for recommending her. She sees exactly what the problem is with our daughter, I am sure that they can work together well and our daughter will benefit hugely. (Mother of A2 Drama student)
Helen is always prompt and positive and seems very good at what she does. (Mother of 11+ English and Maths student)
Rory enjoyed his lesson with Helen very much and would like to continue. (Mother of 13+ English Student)
We found Helen Duff a delightful girl and great teacher with a serious and focused attitude to her work (Mother of 11+ student)
“My son said Helen was very good, and he's looking forward to his next session.” (mother of A-level student, English)
“I was very happy to meet Helen who was on time, courteous and got along really well with my daughter. She seems very capable, too” (Alex, mother of 11+ girl)
We owe Helen a huge debt of gratitude for the contribution she has made to our children's level of English. Her guidance and encouragement have resulted in both our son and daughter gaining a far deeper understanding and appreciation of English literature and their general command of the English language as a whole (both written and spoken). Helen has displayed time and time again her ability to identify areas that require improvement while, at the same time, strengthening those that are present, through a systematic and progressive approach that is tailored to the individual needs of our children. We could not be happier with how she has enriched our children's learning experience.
Mother of two students based in Hong Kong who Helen tutored via Skype and through an interactive whiteboard.
The eldest daughter was offered a place at Benenden School and Cheltenham Ladies College for entry in September 2015 at 13+ level and the younger son is currently awaiting his results from Harrow and Tonbridge Schools.
We are very pleased to provide a reference for Helen Duff. Helen tutored our daughter for an 11+ exam. She was dedicated, motivating, reliable and very quickly established a rapport with our 10 year old daughter. We were surprised by how successful this was over skype. We would not hesitate to recommend her to other parents and children.
Teresa Huins and Tom Levine
Helen was a fantastic tutor and thanks to her I achieved an A grade in Economics. Having always preferred quantitative subjects, my writing skills were severely lacking and these needed to be improved in order to achieve a high grade and get into university. Helen's guidance on essay structure and tips on how to analyse and evaluate completely transformed my essay writing and allowed me to achieve 93% in Economics. I learnt more about essay writing in the short period in which Helen tutored me than I did in my previous years of schooling. Helen also actively encouraged me to read around my subject in the news which definitely helped to improve my knowledge of Economics leading up to the exam. I cannot recommend her highly enough! - A Level Economics tutee 2013.
Helen is an outstanding tutor, displaying patience, enthusiasm, and devotion. She has used these various qualities to make each lesson unique and interesting, and thanks to her I have accomplished my goals and received offers from all the schools I applied for. I cannot thank her enough, and I would recommend her to anyone who lacks confidence in any particular subject from maths to literacy. - 11+ student.
I am a mature student, who returned to education after a break of 15 years. Written English was something that I had always struggled with and I lacked confidence in my English writing ability. After deciding to study Economics at A-level, Helen helped me enormously through her warm and encouraging teaching style, while increasing my essay writing ability and knowledge of economics. I would recommend Helen to anyone looking to study Economics at A level and hoping to study the subject at University.
Martin Hewing, mature student who's now studying Economics at University.
Helen is an outstanding tutor!
We contracted Helen to intensely tutor our daughter in preparation for her 11+ exams.
Each morning Helen brought her natural enthusiasm to the classes.
Our daughter found the classes fun and stimulating and over a three hour period that took some skill!
We saw a marked improvement in our daughter's score over a relatively short period of time.
Our daughter achieved in total four offers from four different schools and much of this achievement is down to Helen's dedication and enthusiasm.
Helen tutored my daughter in the year leading up to her 11 plus exams. She worked with us in a residential capacity both in my family home and over our Christmas holiday in France. I would have no hesitation in recommending Helen Duff as a tutor for your child. She was both highly able and very hard working.
You always made the lessons fun and your love of literature helped me to look at the texts from a different angle. Thanks Helen, I am so happy with my recent success in gaining entry into Secondary School(s).
Helen tutored my daughter in English for Common Entrance. I can't recommend her highly enough. She not only diligently prepared my daughter in terms of required standard, process and exam strategy but also managed to instil a real passion for the subject.
Once again I cannot thank you enough for all the help you gave my son with his A Level English. I know he feels that your tuition really did make a difference, inspiring him with the confidence and insight to gain the A grades he achieved in the exam papers. I would also like to commend you for your absolute dedication, no matter how demanding your busy schedule. You always found time to squeeze in extra lessons where needed as exam time approached. Your professional enthusiasm for your subject was a joy to encounter and I cannot recommend you too highly!
I will happily recommend you in the future to anyone in need of an excellent tutor.
Helen tutored my daughter last year for A level in the subjects of English Literature and Language, and Drama. Helen’s work with my daughter was first class. Helen’s subject knowledge is excellent. Helen immediately established a very good rapport with my daughter and was able to engage interest, communicate ideas and teach how to successfully tackle the requirements of the exams. My daughter is dyslexic and needed very specific help with how to approach the exams. I felt Helen was an empathic and skilled tutor who was able to give my daughter confidence, inspiration and the knowledge and skills she needed to do her best as proved by her results of 2 A* , full marks in the Drama exam and a very high mark in the English Lit Lang exam. I was delighted to find Helen and can warmly recommend her as a tutor of exceptionally high standards.
My daughter achieved an A Grade for her English Literature exam this summer. As you know, there is a great deal of work involved in Literature in any case, but to do in it in a year, with a different syllabus and different books, takes a tremendous amount of work and effort. My daughter was predicted a C for English and she asked me if she could have extra tuition. She was thrilled to learn that you were familiar with all her books, plays and poems and together you worked very well. I would have to say, that without your help and enthusiasm and in-depth understanding of the subject, she would probably not have achieved her A Grade. Almost certainly.
Helen's friendly and enthusiastic approach inspired my son and he really enjoyed his sessions with her. When we started he was unsure of what was expected of him in the 13+ exams but Helen reassured him and gave him a lot of confidence in his ability. She also gave him many good tips and frameworks to work with. He had lots of great notes that they had made together to read over before his exams and I felt that, when the time came, he was fully prepared.
He was given an A grade in both papers and so will be able to start at his new school feeling really confident about his English for which I am very grateful. I would not hesitate to recommend Helen as she is a pleasure to work with and made a very real difference to my son's approach to his exams. She was also very easy to communicate with and understanding of my son's rather erratic extra-curricular sports schedule!