• 11+ entrance examinations (Westminster, Rugby School, Oundle, King's Canterbury, Harrow, etc)
• 13+ entrance examinations (Winchester, King's Canterbury, Westminster, etc)
• Successfully coaching students for the UKiset and the ISEB pre-test examinations.
• 16+ (St Edward's, Shrewsbury, Rugby School, Malvern College, etc)
• BA, Hons. English (taught at University of Oxford)
• AS/A2 English (AQA, OCR & Edexcel)
• IGCSE / GCSE English (Cambridge, AQA, OCR & Edexcel)
• The new reformed Eduqas GCSE curriculum of English Literature
• The long-form Level 3 'Extended Project' qualification taken by some A-Level students (EdExcel, OCR)
I have tutored students in English for the past five years at a range of levels from pre-11+ work through to undergraduate and some graduate work. I have worked with students with widely different abilities, from foreign students looking to improve their vocabulary ahead of their 11+ exam, through to 15-year-olds struggling to pass their GCSEs, and on to some of the brightest undergraduates in the country. I particularly enjoy working with younger students preparing for their 11+, 13+, and 16+ entrance examinations as I have extensive experience of successful coaching in this area. In the past I have spent a year in China teaching English to students aged 15-19.
For the past three years I have taught English to undergraduate finalists at the University of Oxford, with a particular focus on Shakespeare and Renaissance literature, in both class sessions and individual tutorials. Alongside this I tutor English students at IGCSE and AS/A2-Level, am familiar with all the set texts a student will encounter at IGCSE or at A-Level, and am part of the University of Oxford's outreach network.
I have worked as an academic and pastoral mentor to students at Oxford for the past four years. This involves detailed work on essay-writing, helping students to structure their timetables, and engaging them in wider reading. In this capacity I was part of a pilot programme that sought to help students balance their academic and extracurricular workload with the psychological pressures of intensive study.
I have also interviewed A-Level students applying to read English at Oxford as part of the university's admissions process, and have used that experience to coach prospective students seeking to apply.
I was born in Brighton, and after attending Vinehall Preparatory School in Robertsbridge I studied English Literature (A), History (A), and Maths (B) at A-Level, as well as gaining distinction in the now-obsolete Advanced Extension Award for English Literature. I then took a year out to teach English to Chinese students at Yuexiu Languages School in Zhejiang province.
I am a doctor of English literature (D.Phil, Oxon), which I completed at the University of Oxford early in 2016, specialising in Renaissance literature, in particular Shakespeare. Before that, my undergraduate degree was in English literature at Exeter University (first class), and my masters degree (distinction) was in early modern English literature, also from the University of Oxford. As of October 2016, I will be teaching English to undergraduates at Lincoln College and at Wadham College, University of Oxford.
I very much enjoy personal tutoring, and see it as an important part of my life alongside academic work and undergraduate teaching at Oxford. Over the years, I've learned that each student is deeply individual, and am a firm believer in the way that the one-on-one format of Keystone provides the time and space to work out each student's needs.
My own approach involves clearly establishing what each student's needs and goals are - whether that's getting into their first choice school at 11+ or 13+, like Westminster or Harrow or Cheltenham, or, later in life, pushing an A-Level grade up from an A to an A*. In practice this usually involves an initial class in which I gauge the student's needs through conversation and a variety of tests. From there, with patience and empathy, I will set out clear expectations for a programme of study. This programme of study is revised as the student and I progress. Often a student will want ongoing support (for their coursework, or to improve their critical thinking) but will also have specific goals, such as learning the conventions of letter-writing, studying a particular text, or submitting an assignment.
Through giving years of one-on-one tutorials at various levels I have found the most important learning tool is to kindle the students own interest and love of their subject. I am passionate about English, and enjoy discovering that excitement in new students! Confidence is often vital for this, so I encourage students to realise the value of their own ideas by giving thoughtful feedback, and creating a supportive relationship. This helps students to discover their own questions about a text or a point of grammar, and gently guides their natural intellectual creativity and curiosity.
My best results have often come when subject-specific work is mixed with broader study-skills techniques, such as essay-writing, or exam technique, and I enjoy working on these broader, humanistic skills that help students in aspects of their study beyond English. I also have a wide knowledge of the history of English Literature, as well as its appropriate critical and theoretical contexts, and use this to open up new avenues of reading and learning wherever possible.
What I do when I am not tutoring
When away from old books and manuscripts, I am a keen sportsman, playing in a local six-a-side football league and running regularly. I also enjoy new music, and spend hours looking through records and CDs in music shops or persuading friends to join me in a pub for a gig.
In quieter moments I enjoy letterpress printing and bookbinding, and often make one-off projects for friends - a wedding album, or a book of poetry. Other hobbies include drawing and photography, and my resolution for 2016 is to get into a sea-kayak.
Having submitted my doctorate in October 2015, I am looking forward to new research avenues and professional development as a tutor and academic in 2016.