• A-level English (OCR, AQA, Edexcel, CIE)
• A-level Religious Studies (AQA, OCR)
• iGCSE and GCSE English Literature (CIE, AQA, Edexcel, OCR)
• iGCSE and GCSE English Language (CIE, AQA, Edexcel, OCR)
• iGCSE and GCSE Religious Studies (CIE, AQA, Edexcel, OCR)
I currently help teach English at King's College School, Wimbledon.
I have a wide range of teaching experience. I help teach English at King's College School, Wimbledon (2019-). I taught undergraduate philosophy at the University of Virginia (2015-16). Prior to this I taught theology to graduate students at Boston College, Oxford University, and Yale University (2010-2013). I also supervised classes for undergraduates at Oxford in Theology (2009);
I was brought up in London and attended King's College, Wimbledon. This is where I fell in love with the humanities - I studied English, History and Latin at A-Level, achieving A's across the board.
I took my first degree at Trinity College, Oxford from 2000-2003. I graduated with a double-first in English, was a viva candidate at All Soul's, and became one of two Oxbridge students to receive a Henry Fellowship to Yale University in the US.
After Yale I returned to Oxford to study new subjects at graduate level - Theology, Ethics and Political Philosophy. My PhD was published by Oxford University Press in 2013.
Following this, I took time out of academia to gain real-world experience in politics, working at independent Westminster think-tank, The Centre for Social Justice.
In August 2013, I returned to academia, taking up a postgraduate research fellowship at the University of Virginia, where I taught undergraduates in the Philosophy department.
Then in January 2018 I decided to leave academia in order to pursue a literary career. To that end, I published my first trade press book, VEXED: ETHICS BEYOND POLITICAL TRIBES, with Bloomsbury (2020). I now write - on issues literary, cultural, political and ethical - for a variety of magazines and journals both sides of the Atlantic, including THE NEW STATESMAN and THE SPECTATOR. And I am at present writing a new book entitled 'The Trouble with Pschology'.
My first goal as a teacher is to generate excitement, convinced as I am that academic success in a subject derives to a large extent in passion for it.
Secondly, my tutoring approach is student-centered - recognizing the ways of working which best suit the particular student, their academic background and personal needs. I try to sustain a dialogue, gain regular feedback and overcome obstacles.
Providing entry-points to new topics, focusing on close reading, helping to break up complex material - I have found these pedagogical skills are as vital in a tutorial context as in the undergraduate class setting in which I have taught.
What I do when I am not tutoring
Writing. My first book, Vexed: Ethics Beyond Political Tribes (Bloomsbury 2020) was the Observer's Book of the Week in March 2020. I also write fiction (TV screenplays). I enjoy adventures and exploring the world with my young daughters, Connie and Vera, playing and watching football (avidly) and watching and listening to music (fanatically).
I managed to get two 9's which I would never have been able to do without your help so thank you so much for everything that you have done for me over the past few years to help me get such a good result.
"My exam results have just arrived and I am writing to inform you that I got an A with a Percentage Uniform Mark of 86% in CIE AS Level English Language. So we managed to achieve a wonderful result together! Thank you very much for all the help during my exam preparation. It means very much to me and it truly helped me perform to my full potential. I loved working together to prepare for my AS level exam, it was a great pleasure for me." AS English Student
“I wanted to say a special thank you to you, and to James for his brilliant lessons over the past few weeks which have been an absolute joy in a sea of on-line learning, and a welcome break from curriculum stuff. James was really excellent at presenting my daughter with interesting texts that she hadn't seen before, and opening her eyes to new concepts. James crafts his lessons really carefully, and it was really heart-warming to listen to my daughter having an animated discussion around new and different subjects. James was incredibly kind and patient, and we will absolutely be back for more.” (Parent of Year 8 girl).
James tutored our daughter over a series of intensive sessions during a month or so in the lead up to iGCSEs. His insights and guidance over these sessions gave her a wider and different perspective from that she had gained from her English lessons over the past three years. James was well-prepared for the tutorials and his input was tailor-made to address our daughter's concerns and questions. Above all, James instilled in our daughter the confidence that she could excel in both her English Language and World Literature iGCSEs; this self-belief being particularly important for someone who speaks mostly Swedish at home and therefore views the subjects from a bi-lingual perspective. In the event she was graded a "9" for English Language, scoring 83.4% vs the "9" grade boundary of 80%; this compared with her mock exam grade of "6". For World Literature, she was graded an "A*"; this compared with her mock exam grade of "A" (Father of a GCSE student)
(October 2022) ''James worked with my daughter after her GCSE English Literature mock exam, in which she obtained a grade 6. After a few months of working with James we were beyond pleased when she achieved a grade 9, scoring 90%. After a disappointing mock result, James was able to rebuild my daughter’s confidence in the subject, he quickly assessed her abilities and he tailored his lessons to focus on areas he felt needed improvement. James is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate tutor and my daughter has no doubt that she wouldn’t have achieved so highly without his help and encouragement''
''James taught my eldest daughter English A level and my middle daughter Religious Studies GCSE and both achieved results way beyond their school’s expectations. He was equally interested in GCSE and A level which says a lot for someone with such a distinguished academic track record...''
''The tutoring sessions in the past year and half has benefitted [my daughter] in multiple ways. I can see she learned to approach literature analysis in a much more rigorous way. She started off with a pretty weak foundation, esp in terms of forming and expressing her own opinions of literary works. She has improved tremendously and learned to put her analysis into organised critiques and express them well. This has in turn improved her confidence in the subject. I think she would not be able to become so confident and expressive within this short year without your help. The style of teaching seems to work effectively for her...''
''James Mumford is a highly conscientious, experienced and inspiring tutor. He is particularly skilled at tailoring his teaching to the specific needs of the student. His way of working is dynamic and effective; my son's improvement in the subject is marked''
''James stepped into the breach when my daughter had to miss a term from school following an operation during her crucial A level year. He very capably unlocked T.S. Eliot’s poetry for her. But even more important, he inspired her with his teaching methods. Two hour sessions seemed to fly by, and she now can’t wait for university. I would highly recommend James as a personal tutor''
''An excellent teacher, who is very inspiring. Would certainly recommend him/use him again.'
''We are very lucky to have him as a mentor and tutor. He is highly capable, caring, intelligent, well organised and has given her great support and encouragement.'
''James was excellent, [my daughter] thought she got a lot out of his tutorials, and appreciated the preparation he put into them.'
''James is so kind and he makes me think. I believe this is the best that you could ask of a tutor''