Since June 2009 I have worked as a private tutor in history and government and politics, from GCSE to Undergraduate level.
As a Tutor I have taught:
* A Level History (AQA, Edexcel, OCR, Cambridge Pre U and CIE)
* A Level Politics (AQA, Edexcel)
* GCSE History (AQA, Edexcel, OCR)
* IB various subjects
* Oxbridge and University Admissions
* Undergraduate and MA level History, Politics, International Relations, PPE (Cambridge, Oxford, LSE, etc)
As an Examiner I have assessed:
* OCR and AQA: various history modules (exams and coursework)
* Edexcel and AQA: Politics
* Cambridge Pre-U: History
I am a professional history and politics tutor with over thirteen years' experience, in both face-to-face and online tuition.
I graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2009, before completing a MA and PhD in 2011 and 2014 respectively.
I am also a historian and writer specialising in twentieth-century British history and contemporary politics. I have worked at several universities in the UK and abroad, including the University of Sheffield and Queen Mary, University of London, and I bring academic expertise to inform my A Level tuition.
My first book, based on my PhD thesis, For Class and Country, has been described by Prof Peter Stansky of Stanford University as ‘an important contribution to the ever-fascinating subject of the history of the British left with particular attention to the development of the Labor party. It is also timely as we are in the process of marking the centenary of the First World War and how it affected British society.’
My two most recent books, focusing on contemporary politics, were both reviewed in The Times, amongst other publications:
You can peruse (and buy!) my books here:
You can view my academic writing here:
In addition to my academic research and books, I also write on politics and twentieth-century history for a variety of traditional and digital media, including The Times, the New Statesman, The Independent, The Spectator, Tribune, the Jewish Chronicle and UnHerd.
You can read some of my articles here:
Having several years’ experience as a private tutor, teacher and university lecturer, I am keenly aware that every student is an individual, and it is absolutely imperative to tailor tuition to the specific needs of the student. This has been made apparent to me through teaching students from top independent schools, students from under-privileged backgrounds, and students with special educational needs.
I aim to create a bespoke programme which focuses on weaknesses (for example: revision methods, exam preparation, or exam technique) and builds on existing strengths.
My approach is therefore tailored to each individual student, according to their objectives (e.g. improving their confidence, improving exam performance, resitting exams, etc) – as well as their personality and academic aptitude.
Generally speaking I find my students fall into one of three groups:
1. Academically gifted students (potential A*/high A quality) who are not performing at a level commensurate with their abilities.
For these students I normally focus on exam technique and essay writing, so that they are able to translate their talent, knowledge and appreciation of the subject into consistently excellent performance in homework and exams. Although subject knowledge is usually less of an issue with these students, even the most able sometimes have lacunae which need to be addressed. Through ensuring that they thoroughly understand every aspect of the course, and exactly what is required of them in the exams, their confidence tends to improve immediately and their academic performance shortly afterwards.
With these students, in addition to my usual focus on exam technique and ‘core examples’, we also talk about broader aspects of the course, and about issues that are not necessarily on the syllabus, but which will nonetheless enhance their intellectual development and better-prepare them for university.
2. Academically-able students (potential A/high B level) who might have difficulties with both the content of the course, and with exam technique.
With these students I normally have an equal focus on exam technique and subject content, covering any gaps in their knowledge and ensuring that they fully understand exactly what is required of them in exams. For these students, once key gaps in their knowledge are addressed, and their exam technique improves, they soon grow in confidence and improve their academic performance.
3. Solid but less academically-gifted students (potential B/high C level) who are often struggling with all aspects of their A Level course.
With these students I try to focus on the essential components of the course, in terms of subject content and exam technique. Very often these students are somewhat ‘overwhelmed’ and might be regretting their choice of A Level. In these cases I try to simplify the subject, focusing on the key themes and issues, and stressing the importance of memorising ‘core examples’ which can be used in homework and exams. With these students there is also usually a quick improvement in their confidence and (if they apply themselves) in their academic performance.
It is very unusual for any of my students to score lower than a B in their final exams, and even Bs are fairly rare.
What I do when I am not tutoring
In my spare time I enjoy hiking, camping, mountaineering and rock climbing. I have climbed in the Annapurna range in Nepal and ascended the Thorong-la, the world's highest mountain pass. In addition I enjoy participating in television quiz shows and have appeared on programmes such as The Weakest Link and The Chase, as well as competing in a local pub quiz team.
'I want to inform you that Rebecca did amazing and achieved a grade 9 in history! We have been celebrating! A massive thank you from both of us. Thanks for all the support.'
- Mother of Rebecca, Edexcel GCSE History, 2022.
'Just wanted to let you know that [my daughter] achieved her aim and got a 9 for History in her GCSE. We are delighted with her result and I wanted to thank you for helping her refine her exam technique and help practice for the exam. I know that she found it really reassuring to have one to one tutoring sessions geared specifically to her and was very grateful for your help. This allowed her to take her exam feeling confident and prepared in one of her favourite subjects.'
- Carrie, mother of Edexcel iGCSE student, 2022.
'I still cannot believe it but I achieved an A* in history as well as A*’s in both my other subjects. I just wanted to write to you to say thank you. I genuinely could not have got through my history A-Level without all your help and advice.'
- Amy, OCR History, 2022.
'I got A*AA !!!! The A* was in politics thank you so much for all the help !!!!'
- Imogen, Edexcel Politics, 2022.
'Hi David, I am very pleased to tell you I got an A for politics. I am confident I couldn't have done it without your help and for that I am incredibly grateful. Thank you very much for your help over the last two years.'
- Fred, Edexcel Politics, 2022.
'A really big thank you for helping Charlie achieve an A in Politics. He was really pleased with the outcome and so are we !'
- Thelma, mother of Charlie, AQA Politics, 2022
‘Dear David, Thank you so much for all your help over the past year. You have helped my standard of work progress rapidly. On my coursework particularly. I am not sure what I would have done without your help.’ – Mike, OCR History, 2021.
‘Dear Sir, Thank you so much for your excellent teaching through this challenging academic year. I have very much enjoyed our lessons, and I hope you have an enjoyable summer break, and that the next book flows and flourishes!’ – Will, Cambridge Pre-U History, 2021.
‘Hi David I just got the news from Cambridge! Thank you so much for your help, it obviously made me much more competitive. As I told you the interview had gone well in my opinion and it was really more like a discussion. Thanks again’ – Alex, Cambridge entry (HSPS), 2021.
‘Dear David, I hope this message finds you well…I would like to thank you for your help with Alex. As he already told you he is going to receive a Cambridge uni offer for next year and he is really happy with it. It’s definitely a team effort so thank you again for the time you spent with him these last three months.’ – mother of Alex, Cambridge entry (HSPS), 2021.
‘Hi David, I just wanted to thank you for everything you’ve helped me with this year and the support you’ve given me with my a levels. I really appreciate it and feel like I’ve learned so much. I feel so much more ready for Cambridge and I think that has a lot to do with the help I got from you. Thank you again!!’ – Emma, AQA Politics and Cambridge entry (History), 2020.
‘Hi David, I hope you're well. I've just had the results from the October exams I sat and I managed to pull off an A* on all three papers so I just wanted to email and thank you for all the help you gave me. It was a pretty strange set of circumstances for me but our sessions really helped to push through them. I somehow only managed to drop 5 marks on the US paper and I credit a great deal of that to our joint thoroughness. Hope you have a good Christmas and New Year.’ Robert, OCR History re-sit, 2020.
‘Hi David, I hope you’re having a great summer! I got an A* in History!! Thank you SO much for all your support, advice and pep talks. Thank you for being a great tutor and helping me enjoy learning History again! Thank you again!’ – Helen, OCR History re-sit, 2019.
‘A huge thank you from me too. Helen had a year designed in a bespoke fashion to support all her learning wants and needs. At the end of this year she not only achieved outstanding academic success and her place at Cambridge but has able to grow as a person in maturity and independence. She is well prepared on all fronts to go to university.’ – Mother of Helen, OCR History re-sit, 2019.
‘Thank you so much for all your help - after being let down a few times by my school, I can say with certainty that you have contributed by far the most of all my teachers to me attaining this offer. I'm sure you have quite a few students celebrating similar news, but I might as well tell you that as far as I'm concerned your lessons were absolutely wonderful, both the exam preparation and the guided assistance through the various application steps, the assessment and the interview. You managed to keep me focused and engaged throughout this whole ordeal - your lessons were often the highlight of otherwise very dull weeks during my year out, your explanations were always utterly clear and precise and you listened to me frankly and honestly even when I wandered off topic or got something a little confused; you've been an absolute blessing and I really can't thank you enough for all your help.
I hope that as long as you continue to enjoy it, you get to keep teaching and guiding students like me through and otherwise often cold and mechanical-feeling exams and applications system - the books, news journals and email subscriptions, the little specific facts you always have up your sleeve, the thinking and organising processes and the heart you put even into a shallow A level subject, I know all of that will stick with me for years. Thank you ever so much for always going above and beyond, for organising extra lessons or talking over the phone whenever something unexpected was sprung on me, especially over this particularly crazy year, especially for our recent phone call which was a bastion of sense to me in the midst of the chaos post-results day. Thank you for everything - I can only hope to make the best of all your assistance by trying my absolute hardest at Cambridge, and I assure you that that's exactly what I intend to do.’ – James, Edexcel Politics re-sit and Cambridge entry (History and Politics), 2020.