Over the past two decades I have acquired a significant amount of teaching experience in highly regarded independent schools. I have taught English Language and English Literature to pupils ranging from the ages of 11 to 18, and these pupils have achieved excellent results at GCSE, AS and A Level. I have also taught Philosophy and General Studies, and have prepared pupils for entry to Oxbridge and Ivy League universities.
I have regularly served as an examiner in relation to 11+ and 13+ entrance and scholarship examinations, and have successfully tutored a number of private pupils in the 11 to 18 age range over the years, including pupils preparing for GCSE, AS and A Level examinations. I also have some experience of teaching International Baccalaureate pupils.
I have contributed lectures and seminars to a number of university-based professional development programmes for English teachers, including Master's degree and doctoral programmes.
I am a very experienced teacher of English. I am also the Literary Executor of Roy Harris, Emeritus Professor of General Linguistics at the University of Oxford, who died in 2015. Professor Harris supervised my MPhil and DPhil degree studies at Oxford.
I began my career in education at the University of Hong Kong, where I was Lecturer in English Language and Literature from 1988 to 1990, and returned to the UK to take up a teaching post in English at Magdalen College School, Oxford. Since then I have acquired extensive teaching experience at other leading independent schools in this country, including Bristol Grammar School and Dulwich College (where I was Head of English), and was subsequently appointed as a Director of Teaching and Learning. I have also held appointments in higher education in the UK, and have served as a GCSE examiner in English Language and English Literature.
While Head of English at Dulwich College, I was the senior teacher in charge of debating, and coached our school teams to success in national and international competitions. I have advised a number of schools (including maintained schools in socially deprived areas) on how the study of debating can have a major impact on pupils’ critical thinking capacity, on their academic attainment in a range of disciplines, and on their personal and social development. I have also served as a World Schools Debating judge (representing England).
My interest in education extends beyond the classroom in that I have published on curriculum-related matters in educational and professional journals and have delivered papers at academic conferences.
The significant experience which I have acquired as a classroom teacher has given me a very sound understanding of a range of successful approaches to teaching and learning. As a tutor, I particularly welcome the exciting and productive educational opportunities afforded by one-to-one tutorials. I aim to promote in my tutees a genuine sense of enjoyment in learning, to stimulate - or revive - an interest in the subject, and to enhance critical thinking and written communication skills.
What I do when I am not tutoring
I am currently undertaking research on the history of debating from ancient times to the present, and am also offering consultancy advice to schools.
I wanted to say how much the children are enjoying their lessons with you. As well as being a good teacher they think you are ‘not boring’ which is high praise indeed. (Mother of Year 9 & Year 11 student)
"Stephen has been incredible with my son who is very fond of him. He has always brought interesting articles and spoken to him about very interesting and thought provoking topics. He has made him really "think outside the box"." (Mother of Year 9 student)
"My daughter thought he was terrific. She got an enormous amount out if the two sessions she did with him , and really enjoyed them." Mother of English student.
'The lesson with Stephen went really well, he is an excellent tutor. My daughter was hugely uplifted and felt a real sense of accomplishment after her lesson with him' (Mother of GCSE student)
Stephen is awakening a true love of English in both my children, and it is a joy to watch them respond to his carefully prepared and often humorous lessons. He is highly professional, and knows exactly where to pitch the subject matter so that young teenagers are truly engaged. We can't recommend Stephen highly enough! (Mother of GCSE English students)
Our son now looks forward to English with Stephen! He has never enjoyed English or found it easy but says that Stephen teaches in a way that makes it fun and exciting. (Mother of home-schooled student)