• 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) 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.
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 have experience as an examiner for GCSE chemistry.
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 before leaving at the end of 2021 to focus fully on online tuition.
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
When I am not teaching I am a househusband, and also teaching myself GCSE physics and biology. When not doing this, I am usually cooking, cleaning or ironing, whilst listening to music and audiobooks.
"My son is thoroughly enjoying his time with Neil. He says he explains things really well, is kind and very supportive. Even After a long week at school my son still looks forward to his 1:1 with Neil - now that says something about Neil and his level of teaching. Huge thanks from me." (Parent of an IGCSE Chemistry student)
''Neil has tutored and prepared my daughter for A2-Level Chemistry. My daughter has been part of the student cohort that have been affected extensively by the pandemic with the delivery of their education at school being either non-existent or heavily affected. Despite my daughter's attending one of the (not private) schools that are rated as excellent, it had become clear that the unsatisfactory manner that her school dealt with A2-Level courses during the academic years 20/21 and 21/22, had an almost catastrophic impact which became clear at the start of the academic year 21/22 which was the year that my daughter would take her A2 Levels. Her confidence in Chemistry was very low despite her best efforts; not that A2-Level chemistry is an easy subject but the school was simply not up to the job. At that stage Neil kindly accepted to be my daughter's Tutor in Chemistry which changed my daughter's approach to the subject and improved enviably her morale. I can confirm that Neil is a top-notch, patient, tenacious and caring professional who takes his tutoring extremely seriously. Neil is what one good call ''an excellent teacher''; and this not a figure of speech. My daughter's morale improved, she put extra long hours in the topic (trying to practically cover the curriculum of two academic years in one because of her school's approach to teaching during the pandemic years) and she achieved the grade needed in order to enter one of her university choices/degrees. Had it not been for Neil, his meticulous tutoring and his sterling efforts I am certain that the A2 Level exams, particularly in Chemistry, would not have ended happily. Thank you very much for all your efforts Neil. My daughter and our family are indebted to you for ever'' (Parent of a girl on AQA A level)
''Neil tutored my daughter for GCSE chemistry at a time when her confidence was at an all time low. Neil was patient and encouraging, tailoring his lessons to suit my daughter and her style of learning. As a result, she really enjoyed her lessons and ultimately passed her GCSE with flying colours, something she would not have achieved without Neil's excellent tutoring and unwavering support. I would highly recommend.'' (Parent of a girl on Edexcel IGCSE)
''Neil has taken chemistry lessons for my son’s A level exams. He is very professional and knowledgeable about the subject and helped my son a lot for preparing his chem exams.'' (Parent of a boy on OCR A level)
''Neil is an excellent, reliable chemistry tutor. He always prepared for lessons and answered all my questions in depth. I highly recommend!'' (A girl on Edexcel A level).
''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)