• I/GCSE Chemistry (AQA, CIE, Edexcel, OCR and WJEC)
• A-level Chemistry (AQA, CIE, Edexcel, OCR and WJEC)
I have taught Chemistry in small examination-oriented tutorial colleges in London since 1993, where I have contributed to their excellent record of obtaining great chemistry results, usually as one of a three person team.
Mostly (26 years so far and counting) this has been for the same employer, the Abbey DLD group. During this time I have been a Director of Studies, Head of Chemistry, Head of Science, and Acting Principal. Currently I am teaching part-time at Abbey College Cambridge.
Throughout all of these positions I remained a classroom teacher, and I taught very much with the specification in one hand and mark schemes in another, balancing the need to understand the subject with the need to be fully practised in examination technique and past-paper questions.
I am from Northumberland, where I went to Ashington High School, and gained AAB grades in Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics.
I then studied Chemistry at Wadham College, Oxford, gaining a II.ii in 1993.
After moving to London, I have taught Chemistry continuously, at the Abbey DLD group and Lansdowne College, the former of which I have taught at for over 26 years, and counting!
I am currently teaching Chemistry on two days a week at the Cambridge branch of the Abbey DLD group.
I live in Muswell Hill, North London.
I offer A-level chemistry tuition in an examination-oriented, skills-based manner.
The majority of marks in an examination come from material that can either be rote-learned (such as giving the definition of ionisation energy) or material that is routine, and can therefore be rehearsed (such as interpreting a graph of ionisation energies). Difficulties often arise when questions are asked in an oblique way, meaning the inexperienced student may not write the answer down, even though they actually know it.
Underpinning the subject is a range of skills, such as being able to confidently manipulate the various and confusing ways that organic molecules are depicted, that are sometimes taught quickly at the beginning of a course. If not correctly grasped and fully developed, these can affect vast swathes of the subject down the line.
Consequently I teach by breaking down the subject into material to be memorised, individual topic skills that can be rehearsed, and broader subject skills that need to be fully understood and developed. This is coupled with early introduction and emphasis upon board-specific past-paper questions, in order to develop examination technique and identify barriers to achievement.
What I do when I am not tutoring
My wife and I are lucky enough to be able to work part time to balance child care. When I am not at Abbey Cambridge on Tuesdays and Fridays, I am a househusband! When not teaching, I am usually cooking, cleaning or ironing, whilst listening to music and audiobooks.
I have the most free time for tutoring on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, when I could commit to regular lessons. On an ad hoc basis I am also available on weekend mornings.
''Neil is an excellent teacher at GCSE and A level. He gave our sons a clear understanding of all topics and an enthusiasm for the subject. Both said he is one of the best teacher they’ve had. We have found Neil to be encouraging, personable and completely reliable. He also produced the top grades without that being the main focus of the tutoring'' (Parent of brothers, year 11 Edexcel IGSCE and year 13 OCR A level)
''Good, committed, reliable and likeable chemistry tutor. Our boys have liked him as have others we have recommended to'' (Parent of brothers, both year 13, Edexcel and OCR A level)
''Neil was incredibly helpful with A level chemistry. Online tutoring was no less beneficial than in person'' (Year 13 student, AQA)
''Neil gave our son some A Level Chemistry tuition and it really helped. Would be happy to recommend him to other parents. A genuine person who cares about his students'' (Parent of year 13 student, AQA)
''Neil was my A-level chemistry teacher. He is one the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable teachers I ever had. His deep understanding of the topics makes his explanations super easy to understand. I would definitely recommend him to anyone looking for some extra help'' (Year 13 student, OCR)
''Never had I been so interested in chemistry than the two years of A-level chemistry that was taught by Neil. The foundation he laid for me has helped me through my university years. He explained every topic fully, ensuring it was grasped fully by students and this applied to each and every student regardless of their learning speed. At the same time, his class was the most structured class of my A-level studies; there was no wasted time, no unfinished chapters and nothing from the curriculum that was overlooked or hastily passed over because of lack of time. I was quite lucky to have him as a teacher and I certainly recommend anyone who wants a proper understanding of chemistry to take classes with him'' - (Year 13 student, OCR)
''I was taught A-level chemistry for two years by Neil when I attended Abbey College in London, Neil is an amazing teacher who knows how to bond with his students, he has a solid knowledge of chemistry and I never felt that he was unable to answer something that I asked; furthermore, I have always found his method of teaching to be quite effective as he continuously finds a way to explain an issue in a manner that every single student will understand. My chemistry lessons with Neil were always interesting but at the same time I have noticed that among all the jokes and sarcasms and the cheerful atmosphere in his classroom, he has a certain seriousness in his work and what he teaches. I would strongly recommend Neil to whomever considering learning chemistry from him'' (Year 13 student, OCR)
''Neil was my A-Level Chemistry teacher. Now I’m a graduate from King’s College London and Imperial College London. He helped me achieve my goals and he is a fantastic chemistry teacher'' ( Year 13 Student, OCR)
''Neil taught me A Level chemistry this year, and I can honestly say that he is one of the most dedicated, helpful, knowledgeable and supportive teachers I have had! He is very good at explaining difficult concepts in a clear, relatable manner and provides excellent resources. He is also quick to respond to any questions via email outside of teaching time, and had helped me to greatly improve my confidence in the subject. Highly recommend Neil as a tutor!'' (Year 13 student, Edexcel)
''Neil is an outstanding chemistry teacher, for both top end students who are aiming for the highest grades as well as those who struggle to understand concepts fundamental to chemistry. Neil excelled at forming the solid understanding of the subject matter required for the exams, rather than just learning answers from past papers'' (Year 13 student, Edexcel)