I’m an Oxford English graduate, and I’ve been working as a private tutor and schoolmaster since 2009 after several years as a strategy consultant. I teach English, Maths and French plus most other Common Entrance and GCSE/IGCSE subjects (and photography). I’m based in Putney and have given private lessons to 531 students of all ages, including some with dyslexia, dyscalculia, autism, ADHD and other Special Educational Needs. I’ve taught Verbal and Non-verbal Reasoning to 64 pupils, Maths to 281 and English to 377. That includes 56 trainee teachers and 284 school entry candidates, mostly at 11+ and 13+, some of whom have won places at schools such as Harrow, St Paul’s and Eton. I’ve taught 84 of my students online using Skype and carried out residential assignments in Belarus, Greece, Hong Kong, Kenya, Russia, Switzerland and Turkey.
I generally teach from past papers, so I’ll ask pupils to do one for their homework and then go through it the following week, marking it and then filling in any gaps in their knowledge. I’ll start by trying to help pupils remember what they’ve learned by asking questions rather than telling them what to do, but, if they’ve forgotten something or haven’t yet been taught it, I’ll take them through one of the articles on my website and ask them to do a few practice questions to make sure everything is clear. I’ll then ask parents to print out the article, and those print-outs will become a ready-made revision guide that pupils can look through in the run-up to their exams.
The only exception comes when I teach 11+ or 13+ English. There are only two types of question in these exams – comprehension and composition – so I’ll generally start off by teaching pupils how to do one or the other and then ask them to do a sample paper for homework that we can go through together during the next lesson. After a few weeks, I’ll swap to the other topic and do the same.
Alternatively, I’m happy to address specific problems or look at particular texts if clients ask me to, but that’s not my usual way of working.
If I’m teaching English, I’ll also ask pupils to write down any new words in a vocabulary book and then set them a spelling test every few weeks. Any words they can spell and define properly can be ticked off the list, and any pages that only contain ticked-off words can be ticked off, too. I’ll also try to get them used to using the words themselves by asking them to tell me a story using all the words in their spelling test. That can sometimes be a challenge, but it’s a good test of the imagination, and it gives them the confidence to use the words properly in their own work.
I’m generally very patient, so it doesn’t matter where we start from or how slowly we go, as long as we’re making progress. I also like my lessons to be enjoyable, which might mean ‘colouring outside the lines’ by having a discussion of Cantor’s Inn during a Maths lesson or playing an Alanis Morissette song during an English lesson to illustrate what irony is – or isn’t! Whatever works…
If you’re a parent or student and would like to have a chat about booking an initial lesson or a residential assignment, please get in touch. I teach either at your home if you live locally or online (using Skype and an electronic whiteboard).
References available on request.
School entry success
- Year 5: Fulham Prep School, Kensington Prep School
- 10+: The Harrodian School, Hampton Court House
- 11+: Alleyn’s School, Bancroft’s School, Benenden School, City of London School, Emanuel School, Epsom College, Francis Holland School Regent’s Park, Hampton School, The Harrodian School, Ibstock Place School, Immanuel College, James Allen’s Girls School (JAGS), Jewish Free School (JFS), Kew House School, Latymer Upper School, Notting Hill and Ealing High School, Queen’s Gate School, Radnor House, Reed’s School, Royal Grammar School Guildford, St James Senior Boys’ School, St John’s School, Stowe School, Streatham & Clapham High School, Wimbledon High School
- 12+: Hampton Court House
- 13+: Bedales School, Charterhouse, Duff Miller, Eaton Square School, Eton College, Hampton School, The Harrodian School, Harrow School, King’s College School Wimbledon, Oundle School, Shrewsbury School, St Edward’s School, St George’s Weybridge, St John’s School Leatherhead, St Paul’s School, Westminster School
- Scholarships from Alleyn’s School, Bancroft’s School, Bedales School, Hampton School, Latymer Upper School
- Honorary scholarship from Streatham & Clapham High School
Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) success
Each of the 56 trainee teachers I’ve taught has passed the QTS Skills Test, whether in Literacy or Numeracy.
- Any level: English, French, Verbal Reasoning, Non-verbal Reasoning (plus photography, golf, skiing and tennis)
- Up to GCSE/IGCSE: Maths, Science, History
- QTS: Literacy, Numeracy
- Daily or weekly rate negotiable for overseas assignments
- The full fee will be payable unless notice of cancellation is received in advance
- Payment may be made in cash after each lesson or by cheque, standing order or PayPal (using the email address email@example.com)
- II.1 in English Language & Literature from Oxford University (Christ Church college)
- English, French and German A-levels, all at A grade
DBS (or CRB) check
I have an Enhanced Certificate from the Disclosure and Barring Service (ref. 001455962848, dated 20 August 2014).
Here are a few typical case studies.
Provided some last-minute help with Science revision to a St Paul’s applicant in the final month before his 13+ exams. We went through several past papers in Physics, Chemistry and Biology, plugging any gaps in his knowledge as we went along. As it turned out, his B grade in Science was just enough to for him to win a place.
Taught English, French, History, Verbal Reasoning and Non-verbal Reasoning to a 12-year-old Russian boy on a three-week residential assignment in Moscow. I prepared him for a number of pre-tests at Charterhouse, Westminster and other schools in the UK, and I was later invited to Switzerland to teach him and his sister skiing and a variety of academic subjects over New Year.
Taught Maths, Science and English to a GCSE candidate who had been excluded from school and who also suffered from mild dyslexia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). On a couple of occasions over the course of a two-year period, I stepped in to provide lessons while she was waiting to be accepted back. We worked together sometimes for two or three hours a day over several months until she finally took her exams in 2012.
Taught a dyslexic 11-year-old English and Maths for nearly a year. Dyslexics require a different style of teaching to tackle the problems they have in multi-tasking and short-term memory, so I tried to explain Maths concepts step by step and as far as possible using concrete examples. When discussing fractions, a bowl of fruit is sometimes a Maths teacher’s best friend!
Helped a trainee teacher about to resit her Skills Test for Numeracy, a requirement for her to become a qualified teacher. She ‘desperately’ needed help as her Maths was ‘dreadful’! She had only achieved a C at GCSE 13 years before and couldn’t seem to pass the practice tests. The deadline was three weeks away, so time was short, but she was ultimately successful.
Prepared an 11+ candidate for reading comprehension, composition and spelling. He later passed The Harrodian exam and was offered a place on the spot by St James Senior Boys School, Ashford, after getting 75% in his English paper.
Helped a partially dyslexic 12-year-old at a specialist school with his English comprehension, spelling and essay planning in preparation for 13+ entry. He was accepted into Charterhouse having achieved 65% in the English exam.
Helped a GCSE English candidate with his response to poetry and essay writing skills. He went on to achieve A* grades in English Language and Literature.
Taught English A-level to a 16-year-old private candidate. Isobel was a pop singer just starting out in her music career so couldn’t enrol in a school or college full-time as she had to spend every day in the recording studio prior to a UK tour and visits to Los Angeles!
Prepared a 10-year-old pupil for 13+ Common Entrance. Hector didn’t like reading, lacked detailed description in his stories and relied on being ‘spoon-fed’ ideas. However, after a term of lessons, he managed to improve his scores in his school exams from 52% to 58% in composition and from 50% to 74% in reading comprehension.
“Having failed the 10+ entry at his chosen school, my son came to Nick for help and guidance on exam technique and to fill in the gaps in teaching at his current state primary. Nick’s results have been beyond our wildest expectations. Not only has my son been persuaded to pick up a book instead of a bat or ball, but he’s secured entry into a top school he loves at 11+ and is now in the top set for every subject at his current school. Nick is firm but fair, and my son credits him with having given him the self-belief to achieve his dream.”
Alec (successful 11+ candidate, Hampton School, Reed’s School)
“Thank you so much for your help! And thank you so much for letting me send you my draft to read over!! I’m a bit clumsy with my sentences, so you reading it will be a great help!! You really have helped me in grasping the concept of this essay question and what to include!”
Rachel (English undergraduate, Nottingham University)
“I hope you have a great Christmas and a happy New Year. Thank you for being my great tutor. Love from Charlie. PS You’re the best tutor ever!”
Charlie (successful 11+ candidate, The Harrodian)
I really just wanted to say ‘THANK YOU’. Just taking a moment to reflect on the last few weeks, I thought I would take this opportunity to share this with you.
I was so embarrassed when I first contacted you about Maths. I have always known that I have had difficulty processing and after failing the test the first time, I genuinely questioned why I even bothered to continue the teacher training.
Throughout the time you have been tutoring me, my confidence rose 100%, and secretly I knew that I might just have a chance of passing. However, two nights before the exam, I drafted an email to my tutor to say that I was going to quit the course. That’s how panicked I was about doing the Maths exam. Your words of wisdom and encouragement really helped and I can’t thank you enough, especially for your ‘driving test story’.
I still need to do my English skills test, but I feel like I have found my old confidence again. It may take two tries but I will do it.
For now, take care and the kindest regards.”
Aggie (successful QTS Numeracy & Literacy Test student)
“Hi, Nick – just had glowing reports from both Ben and Matthew’s schools. Ben is now on target for an A*, and all his coursework is completed. Matthew is now thankfully back in the top group. [Their parents] are both very happy thanks to your hard work. Thank you for all your hard work with the boys – have a great Easter!”
Matthew & Ben (12- and 16-year-old English students)
“Hello, Nick! Hope you are well. Just to let you know that Bruno is going to The Harrodian thanks to you. You are such a fantastic teacher. All the best.”
Bruno (successful Common Entrance 13+ candidate, The Harrodian)
“Jack passed CE with 65%, 3 As, 3Bs and 3Cs. He got a B in English, so both you and he should be very proud. He’s going to Charterhouse with a fighting chance!”
Jack (successful Common Entrance 13+ candidate, Charterhouse)
“Nick was very professional and calm, our son really liked him.”
Henry (10-year-old Maths student)
“!! and ! Did Willy tell you his test results? Maths 83%, French 86% and Science 90% – 2nd highest in his class for French and Science and 4th highest in Maths. What a boy!”
Willy (successful 11+ candidate, The Harrodian)
“Thank you so much. You’re an absolute life-saver! I didn’t do much work last year, and in my mocks only three weeks before the exams I got a D, but then I ended up with an A!”
Tatiana (English A-level candidate)
“Nick’s approach to tutoring my daughter was exactly what she needed – a calm, thorough approach that stretched her but was fun. Nick has so many diverse skills and has a superb knowledge base. My daughter improved especially in Maths, where her marks went up by 20% over four months, and she was moved up a Maths set in an academic school in west London. I recommend Nick unreservedly – he made my daughter think through problems, and she took a really giant step forward in her approach to learning and studying.”
Sophie (successful 13+ candidate, St Edward’s)
“Thank you!!! We are all thrilled. And many thanks for your help.”
Theo (successful 11+ scholarship candidate, Hampton School)
“Thanks for all your help in preparing our daughter for her entrance exams. Maddie got places at all four schools and two academic scholarships. ”
Maddie (successful 11+ candidate)
“I received my English A-level result today and am delighted to report that I managed to score 100%, meaning I’ve got the A* overall that I so wanted. Obviously this is in no small part due to your excellent tuition, so thanks again for your patience and diligence. If you can get Ben a top grade, you must be doing something right. Hooray!”
Ben (English A-level candidate)
“I just wanted to write to thank you so much for helping Rory get the B grade he needed to apply for the John Lewis graduate scheme. It meant so much to him, and you made such a difference. He couldn’t have done it without your help. Actually, I have never seen him apply himself so earnestly. He was pleased, too, to get comfortably over the B threshold, as he thought it might be a scrape-through at best, as he felt he did not do well in one paper. You have helped him on the way to his dream career, and you can’t imagine how pleased we both are.”
Rory (Maths A-level candidate)
“A great tutor and patience of a saint. I have learnt so much with his guidance and tutoring and enjoy my lessons.”
Trevor (Microsoft Excel student)