• A-level English (OCR, AQA, Edexcel, CIE)
A-level History (Cambridge)
• ELAT (English Literature Admission Test)
As well as extensive teaching experience in higher and continuing education, I have also had experience of teaching A-Level and Oxbridge entrance prep (including Elat and interview prep).
I sat on interview panels for English admission for both St. Peter's and Somerville colleges in Oxford, so I have an insider's view of the process and am keen to help students in this area!
After a first degree in English awarded from St. Peter's College, Oxford, I completed an MA (Distinction) and PhD, also in English, at Queen Mary, University of London (2009). By background, I'm an academic who has held lecturing positions at the universities of Birmingham and Oxford - working primarily in literature, but with interests in art, history, and politics.
More recently, I've acquired producing, presenting and writing experience for BBC radio (factual/arts). My series Weird England, for Radio 3 (December 2018), can be heard here https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0001n8w). It featured my piece on Lewes Bonfire alongside a range of other writers. Another documentary for Radio 3, 'Escape of the Zebra', about London Zoo in the Second World War, came out in December 2019. My essays, criticism and other pieces have also been published by Penned in the Margins, Slightly Foxed Quarterly, Times Literary Supplement, New European, Times Higher Education, Times, and Guardian.
I am currently at work on a book one on the city and human-animal encounters in modern London.
As a tutor, I love working with students on modern and contemporary literature in particular, but I've taught a range of literature from the middle ages to the present day.
Understanding the individual needs of clients is key. This means I adapt my approach to the personality and particular interests of each student I teach. For some people, sharp and focused attention to grammar and essay structure is what is needed. For others, a more expansive approach, where we look at a range of texts together and ask questions about what they mean and are doing is more important.
I aim to impart a confidence in writing essays and handling different texts to the student. I’m also always keen to make sure that reading and writing are enjoyable tasks! The world of literature is a treasure-trove, and making sure students get the most out of what they’re reading, at whatever level, is key.
When we look at specific exams, entrance tests etc, we make use of past papers and as much information as is available to ensure students have the best possible chance of performing well. I always try to explain to my clients in the simplest terms possible what is needed to perform highly in the subject. I encourage the student’s originality, talent, and perception to shine through – sometimes all that is needed is a little coaxing to get the best out of a particular student.
I have experience of online and face-to-face tutoring and will ensure that students always get an excellent service, whatever format they are using.
What I do when I am not tutoring
In my spare time, I like walking, urban rambling, European travel and cooking, although I'm also not averse to consuming Netflix box sets when I'm feeling less energetic.
‘David was invaluable as I prepared for my Cambridge interview. He built up my confidence through interesting, fun and challenging conversations: when it came to the real thing, I was able to discuss my ideas and my reading with my interviewers, and could respond to their questions and challenges without coming unstuck. I would highly recommend David as a tutor!’ (Ciaran, secured a place to read English at Cambridge)
'David was fantastic at refining my son’s essay writing skills and building his confidence. He gave my son much needed essay writing practice (including detailed discussion of characters and themes) for his IGCSE English Literature - all of which was incredibly helpful.' (parent of GCSE English student)