Tag Archives: private tutor

Reflecting Shapes in a Mirror Line

Reflecting shapes in a mirror line










This is a typical question from a Dulwich College 11+ Maths paper, and it asks you to draw a reflection of the triangle in the mirror line shown on the chart.

Dulwich papers tend to be a bit tricky, and this is not the easiest version of this kind of reflective symmetry question.

For a start, the mirror line is drawn at 45 degrees rather than being horizontal or vertical, and it doesn’t help that the diagram is a bit ‘squashed’, which means the mirror line is actually at around 40 degrees rather than 45!

So how should you do it?

The first thing to do is to imagine that you were looking at yourself in the mirror from, say, 30cm away.

Your reflection will appear ‘in’ the mirror, but it won’t be on the surface of the mirror, will it?

It’ll actually seem to be 30cm ‘behind’ the mirror – which is exactly the same distance as you are in front of it.

That’s important, and you’ll have to use that fact when you do the question.

The basic steps are these:

  1. Plot the ‘vertices’ (or corners) of the reflected shape one by one by drawing a small cross in pencil.
  2. Join them up using a ruler and pencil.

In order to plot each corner, you need to imagine that the corner is your face and that the mirror line is the mirror.

To see your reflection, you have to be standing right in front of the mirror – looking at an angle of 90 degrees to the mirror – so to ‘see’ the reflection of a corner, you have to do the same, looking at an angle of 90 degrees to the mirror line.

The distance from your face to the mirror is the same as the distance to the spot ‘behind’ the mirror where you see your reflection.

In the same way, the distance from the corner to the mirror line is the same as the distance to the spot ‘behind’ the mirror line where the reflected point should go.

If you use the diagram at the top of this article to help you, you should be able to see that the top of the triangle is one-and-a-half diagonal squares away from the mirror line.

That means you need to go another one-and-a-half diagonal squares the other side of the mirror line (continuing in the same direction) in order to plot the reflected point.

Now repeat this for the other corners of the triangle, which are four-and-a-half and three diagonal squares away from the mirror line.

Once you’ve done that, you can join up all three points using a ruler and pencil to make the reflected triangle.

Once you get the hang of it, you may not even need to plot all the corners: if it’s a simple shape like a square or a rectangle, then you might be able to draw it from scratch.

Just make sure you label the shape if the question asks you to.

And that’s it…!

How to Become a Private Tutor


I’ve talked to a few people who wanted to become private tutors, so I thought I’d write down a few tips for anyone who’s interested.

How Did I Start Out?

I started as a private tutor quite by accident. It was 2009, and I was finding it hard to get work as a freelance management consultant when I happened to read an article in the Telegraph called 10 Ways to Beat the Recession.

The author mentioned a few ways of earning some extra cash, including becoming an extra on film sets – which I was already doing – and working as a private tutor. I’d never done any proper teaching before, although I was a golf coach, and I’d coached skiing a few times in the Alps, but I thought I’d sign up with a couple of agencies and see what happened.

Within a week, I had two clients, and I’ve never looked back since!

What Qualifications do I Need?

The first and most important thing to say is that you don’t need any teaching qualifications! Yes, that’s right. You don’t need a PGCE, and you don’t need to have done any training as a teacher. As a private tutor, you are just that – private – so you don’t have to jump through all the Government hoops that a teacher in a state school would have to do.

Obviously, potential clients want the best person to teach their child, so you need to show some sort of academic record, but that can be as little as a degree in English – which is what I had when I started. Admittedly, I went to Oxford, which probably counts for a lot with Russian billionaires (!), but you don’t need to have an Oxbridge degree to become a tutor. Far from it.

However, what you probably will need is a criminal records check. This is just a piece of paper that certifies you haven’t been convicted of a criminal offence and was often known as a ‘CRB check’, although it’s now officially called an Enhanced Certificate from the Disclosure and Barring Service, or ‘DBS check’.

You can’t apply for an ‘enhanced certificate’ yourself, but your tuition agency can help you. In fact, they may require you to have one and even to renew it every year or two. It costs around £18 and can take up to three months to arrive, so it’s worth applying as early as possible.

Some agencies may charge up to £80 to make the application on your behalf, so be careful! You can find further information here.

What Subjects Can I Teach?

You can teach whatever you like! Agencies will just ask you which subjects you offer and at what level, so you have complete freedom to choose. I focus on English and Maths, which are the most popular subjects, but that’s mostly led by demand from clients. They are the main subjects at 11+ level, so that’s what most people are looking for help with.

What Age Children Can I Teach?

Again, the choice is yours. I’ve taught students from as young as five to as old as 75, but the peak demand is at 11+ level, when the children are around 10 years old. I make it a rule that I’ll only teach a subject to a level that I’ve reached myself, such as GCSE or A-level, but clients sometimes take you by surprise.

When I turned up to teach what I thought was going to be English to two boys, the nanny suddenly asked me to do Latin instead. When I said I hadn’t done any Latin since I was 15, she just said, “Oh, you’ll be fine…!”

What Preparation do I Need to do?


One of the big attractions of tutoring for me is that the work is very enjoyable. I like teaching, and I like spending time with children, so it’s the perfect combination! The reason I stopped work as a management consultant was the constant stress, the persistent worry that I wasn’t up to the job, but teaching 10-year-olds never makes me feel like that.

Whether it’s English or Maths, I’m confident in my ability to teach and never worry about being asked an impossible question. However, that doesn’t mean you can walk into your first lesson without doing any preparation at all.

In my case, I wanted to teach English, so I needed to find out what kind of questions cropped up in 11+ and 13+ entrance exams and come up with a good method of answering them. Once I’d done that, I was ready.

Maths was a bit easier, but I still looked through a few papers to make sure there was no risk of being blind-sided by something I’d forgotten how to do or had never studied. Whatever the subject you’re offering, I suggest you do the same.

Past Papers

The other thing I needed to do was to find past papers to give to my pupils. That was a bit tricky in the early days until a kind parent gave me a collection of photocopied exams. After that, I carried a couple around with me to take to lessons, but it wasn’t a great solution, so I decided to create a website – this one.

Over time, I collected dozens of past papers and wrote various articles on how to do different kinds of question in Maths, English and French. Now, I don’t have to carry around anything with me or spend time dictating notes. I can simply ask my pupils to look it up online.

Setting up a website is pretty easy using WordPress or something similar, but you should feel free to use the resources on my past papers tab if you don’t want to go to the trouble yourself, and all my articles are available for free if you need them.

The main ones I use for English are about doing comprehensions and writing stories, but there are plenty more. The website proved unexpectedly popular, and I had over 28,000 visitors last year! The other advantage is that it generated enough business for me not to need agencies any more.

That means I can charge what I like, I don’t have to pay any commission, and I can have a direct relationship with all my clients without anybody acting as an intermediary – and often just getting in the way!

Business Cards

I know it sounds a bit old-fashioned, but having business cards is very useful. If you’re just starting out, nobody knows your name, so paying a few quid to market your services is one of the best investments you can make.

You never know when people will tell you they’re looking for a tutor, and it’s the easiest thing in the world to give them a business card. Even if you don’t have a website, it will at least tell them how to reach you, and you should get a lot more clients out of it.

How Can I Find Work?

Tuition agencies are the best place to start, but there are different kinds. Some are online and simply require you to fill out a form for them to check and vet, but others ask you to go through an interview, either over the phone or in person.

Either way, you need to put together a tailored CV that shows off your academic achievements and highlights any teaching experience you’ve had. This may not be very much at the beginning, but you simply need to show enough potential to get you through the door.

Once you’ve shown enough aptitude and commitment to get accepted by a few agencies, you’ll rapidly build up your experience on the job.

Here is a list of the tuition agencies I’ve been in touch with, together with contact details where available. I’m based in London, so there is obviously a geographical bias there, but some of the agencies such as Fleet Tutors offer national coverage, and you can always search online for others in your local area.





A-Star Tuitionastartuition@btinternet.com01772 814739astartuition.com
Approved Tutorsapprovedtutors.co.uk
Athena Tuitionathenatuition.co.uk/
Beacon Tutorsinfo@beacontutors.co.uk020 8983 2158beacontutors.co.uk/
Bespoke Tuitionemma@bespoketuition.com07732 371880bespoketuition.com
Bigfoot Tutorstutors@bigfoottutors.com020 7729 9004bigfoottutors.com
Bright Young Things07702 019194brightyoungthingstuition.co.uk
Dulwich Tutorsinfo@dulwichtutors.com020 8653 3502dulwichtutors.com
Enjoy Educationkate@enjoyeducation.co.ukenjoyeducation.co.uk
Exam Confidence
First Tutorsfirsttutors.co.uk
Fleet Tutors0845 644 5452fleet-tutors.co.uk
Greater London Tutors020 7727 5599greaterlondontutors.com
Harrison Allenharrisonallen.co.uk
Holland Park Tuitionrecruitment@hollandparktuition.com020 7034 0800hollandparktuition.com
IPS Tutorsinfo@ipstutors.co.uk01509 265623ipstutors.co.uk
Ivy Educationivyeducation.co.uk
Kensington & Chelsea Tutorstutors@kctutors.co.uk020 7584 7987kctutors.co.uk
Keystone Tutorsenquiries@keystonetutors.com020 7351 5908keystonetutors.com
Kings Tutorsemily@kingstutors.co.ukkingstutors.co.uk
Knightsbridge Tutors07890 521390knightsbridgetutors.co.uk
Laidlaw Educationlaidlaweducation.co.uk
Mentor & Sonsandrei@mentorandsons.com07861 680377mentorandsons.com
Osborne Cawkwellenquiries@oc-ec.com020 7584 5355oc-ec.com
Personal Tutorsadmin@personal-tutor.co.ukpersonal-tutors.co.uk
Russell Education Groupjoe@russelleducationgroup.comn/a
Search Tutorssearchtutors.co.uk
Select My Tutorinfo@selectmytutor.co.ukselectmytutor.co.uk
SGA Educations@sga-education.comsga-education.com
Simply Learning Tuitionsimplylearningtuition.co.uk
The Tutor Pagesthetutorpages.com
Top Tutors020 8349 2148toptutors.co.uk
Tutor Houseinfo@tutorhouse.co.uk020 7381 6253tutorhouse.co.uk/
Tutor Hunttutorhunt.com
Tutors Internationaltutors-international.net
UK Tutorsuktutors.com
Westminster Tutorsexams@westminstertutors.co.uk020 7584 1288westminstertutors.co.uk
William Clarence Educationsteve@williamclarence.com020 7412 8988williamclarence.com
Winterwood winterwoodtutors.co.uk

That’s obviously a long list, but, to give you an idea, I earned the most from Adrian Beckett (teacher training), Bespoke Tuition, Bonas MacFarlane, Harrison Allen, Keystone Tutors, Mentor & Sons, Personal Tutors and Shawcross Bligh.

Once you’ve been accepted by and started working for a few agencies, you’ll soon see the differences. Some offer higher rates, some the option to set your own rates, some provide a lot of work, some offer the best prospects of jobs abroad. It all depends what you’re looking for.

Where Will the Lessons Take Place?

When I first started tutoring, I had to cycle to all my clients. I put a limit of half an hour on my travel time, but it still took a lot of time and effort to get to my pupils. Fortunately, I’m now able to teach at my home, either in person or online using Skype and an electronic whiteboard, which means my effective hourly rate has gone up enormously.

Travel is still a little bit of a problem for most tutors, though, and I certainly couldn’t have reached my pupils without having a bicycle. I didn’t have a car, and public transport wasn’t really an option in most cases.

You just have to decide how far you’re prepared to go: the further it is, the more business you’ll get, but the longer it’ll take to get there and therefore the lower your effective hourly rate.

The other possibility, of course, is teaching abroad. I’ve been lucky enough to go on teaching assignments in Belarus, Greece, Hong Kong, Kenya, Russia, Switzerland and Turkey, and it’s a great way to see the world.

The clients can sometimes be a little bit difficult, and the children can sometimes behave like spoiled brats (!), but staying with a great client in a sunny getaway overseas can be a wonderful experience.

The only reason I don’t apply for more foreign postings is that I don’t want to let down my existing clients – going away for three weeks just before the 11+ exams in January would NOT go down well!

When Will the Lessons Take Place?

If you’re teaching children, lessons will usually be in the after-school slot between 1600 and 2000 or at weekends. That does limit the amount of hours you can teach, but it’s up to you how much you want to work.

I used to work seven days a week, but I eventually gave myself a day off and then another, so I now work Sundays to Thursdays with Friday and Saturday off.

During the holidays, you lose a lot of regular clients when they disappear to the Maldives or somewhere for six weeks (!), but others might ask for an intensive sequence of lessons to take advantage of the extra time available, and there’s obviously a greater chance of a foreign assignment.

All that means that the work is very seasonal, so you should expect your earnings to go up and down a bit and plan your finances accordingly.

What Should I do During the Lesson?

I generally teach from past papers, so I ask pupils to do a past paper for their homework and then mark it during the following lesson.

‘Marking’ means marking the questions, obviously, but it also means ‘filling in the gaps’ in the pupil’s knowledge. If he or she is obviously struggling with something, it’s worth spending a few minutes explaining the topic and asking a few practice questions.

I’ve written a few articles on common problem areas in English and Maths, such as commas and negative numbers, so I often go through one of those and ask the pupil’s parents to print it out and put it in a binder. After a few weeks, that collection of notes gradually turns into a ready-made revision guide for the exams.

If the parents want you to work on specific topics, that’s also possible. For example, one mother wanted to help her son with ratios, so she printed out dozens of past papers and circled the ratio questions for him to do. He soon got the knack!

I approach English in a slightly different way to begin with. There are two types of question in the 11+, comprehensions and creative writing, so I generally spend the first lesson teaching pupils how to do one of those. I go through my article on the subject online and then ask them to answer a practice question by following the procedure I’ve outlined.

They usually finish it off for their homework. After a few weeks of stories or comprehensions, I’ll switch to the other topic and do the same with that. I also ask pupils to write down any new words or words they get wrong in a vocabulary book because building vocabulary is very important for any type of English exam (and also for Verbal Reasoning).

I ask them to fold the pages over in the middle so that they can put the words on the left and the meanings on the right (if necessary). Every few weeks, I can then give them a spelling test. If they can spell the words correctly and tell me what they mean, they can tick them off in their vocab book.

Once they’ve ticked off a whole page of words, they can tick that off, too! I usually try to reinforce the learning of words by asking pupils to tell me a story using as many words as possible from their spelling test.

It can be a familiar fairy story or something they make up, but it just helps to move the words from the ‘passive’ memory to the ‘active memory’, meaning that they actually know how to use them themselves rather than just understand them when they see them on the page.

What Homework Should I Set?

Most children who have private lessons have pretty busy schedules, so I don’t want to overburden them. I generally set one exercise that takes around 30-45 minutes. That might be a Maths paper or an English comprehension or story, but it obviously depends on the subject and the level.

Just make sure that the student writes down what needs to be done – a lot of them forget! You should also make a note in your diary yourself, just so that you can check at the start of the next lesson if the work has been done.

What Feedback Should I Give the Parents?

I generally have a quick chat with the mother or father (or nanny) after the lesson to report on what we did during the lesson, what problems the child had and what homework I’ve set. This is also a good time to make any changes to the schedule, for instance if the family goes on holiday.

If that’s not possible, I’ll email the client with a ‘lesson report’. Some agencies such as Bonas MacFarlane make this a part of their timesheet system.

How Much Will I Get Paid?

When I first started, I had absolutely no idea how much I was worth, and I ended up charging only £10 an hour, which is not much more than I pay my cleaner! Fortunately, a horrified friend pointed out that it should be ‘at least’ £35 an hour, and I upped my rates immediately.

I now charge £60 an hour for private lessons, whether online or in person. Unfortunately, some agencies such as Fleet Tutors don’t allow you to set your own rates, so that’s one thing to bear in mind when deciding which agencies to work with.

However, they did provide me with quite a bit of work when I first started, so it’s swings and roundabouts. The pay scale often varies depending on the age of the student and the level taught, so you’ll probably earn more for teaching older students at GCSE level or above if the agency sets the prices.

If you have any private clients, you can obviously set whatever rate you like, depending on where you live, the age of your pupils, whether lessons are online or in person and so on. Personally, I only have one rate (although I used to charge an extra £5 for teaching two pupils at the same time), and I raise it by £5 every year to allow for inflation and extra demand.

Tutoring is more and more popular than ever these days, and I read somewhere that over half of pupils in London have private lessons over the course of their school careers, so don’t sell yourself short! You should be able to make around £25,000 a year, which is not bad going for a couple of hours’ work a day!

Foreign jobs are a little different, and there is a ‘standard’ rate of around £800 a week including expenses. That means your flights and accommodation are all covered, and you can even earn a bit more on the side if you decide to rent out your home on Airbnb while you’re away!

When it comes to day-to-day expenses such as taxis and food and drink, it’s important to negotiate that with the agency before accepting the job. It’s no good complaining about having to live in the client’s house and buy your own lunches when you’re in Moscow or Bratislava! It can be a dream job, but just make sure you look at it from every angle:

  • What subjects will I be teaching?
  • How many hours will I have to teach?
  • How many days off will I get per week?
  • Where will the lessons take place?
  • How do I get to and from my accommodation?
  • How long is the assignment? (I refuse anything more than three months.)
  • Where will I be staying? (NEVER at the client’s house!)
  • How old are the children?
  • Will I have any other responsibilities (eg ferrying the children to and from school)?
  • Do I need a visa?
  • What is the weekly rate?
  • What expenses are included (eg flights, accommodation, taxis, food, drink)?

How Do I Get Paid?

Most agencies ask for a timesheet and pay their tutors monthly via BACS payments directly into their bank accounts. That’s a bit annoying from a cash flow point of view, but there’s not much you can do about it – other than using a different agency.

When it comes to private clients, I generally ask for cash after the lesson, but it’s even more convenient if they can pay via standing order – as long as you can trust them! I once let a client rack up over £600 in fees because he tended to pay in big lump sums every few weeks, but then his business folded, and I had to use a Government website to try and chase him up.

Fortunately, his wife saw the email and paid my bill, but it took months to sort out. Normally, though, the worst that happens is that a client just doesn’t have the right change and promises to pay the following week, so you just need to keep track of who owes what.

I hope all this helps. Good luck!



Click picture to play video

Help your child succeed with private lessons from a patient, experienced and knowledgeable tutor!

Are you worried your child lost ground academically during lockdown? Do you feel confused by the whole process of applying to a new school? Are you frustrated your child is not getting enough support in the run-up to entrance exams?

The last couple of years have been very challenging for pupils and parents alike. Some schools closed while others stayed open. Some didn’t offer any online tuition while others provided a full programme of lessons. The admissions process was also affected, with some schools replacing paper-based tests with online assessments and others keeping the old exams.

I’m an Oxford English graduate, and I’ve been working as a private tutor since 2009. I teach English, Maths and Reasoning plus most other Common Entrance and GCSE subjects. I’ve taught over 600 students of all ages, including a member of the Qatari royal family and several with dyslexia, dyscalculia, autism, ADHD and other Special Educational Needs. Many have ended up winning places and scholarships at grammar schools and private schools such as Eton, St Paul’s and Winchester. I teach mostly online or at my flat in Putney, but I’ve also carried out residential jobs in Belarus, Greece, Hong Kong, Kenya, Russia, Switzerland and Turkey.

If you’d like to feel reassured and confident your child is making good progress or has the best possible chance of winning a place at your target school, you can book one-on-one private lessons with me on +44 7942 800921 or at info@nickdale.me.

I also have a collection of over 20,000 past papers and mark schemes in every subject and at every level, including 11+, 13+, GCSE, AS-level, A-level and QTS. You can buy an annual subscription here for a one-off payment of just £13.99.



I generally teach online 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 printouts will then 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 – comprehensions and compositions – so I’ll generally start off by teaching pupils how to do one or the other, then ask them to do the same task for their homework and finally go through it together during our 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, and I can also mark pupils’ papers remotely if that’s more convenient. It generally takes me around half an hour to mark a comprehension, a story or a Maths paper, for instance.

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 well-known 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 rather than just recognising them in a comprehension.

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 discussing 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…

Contact Details

If you’d like to have a chat about booking lessons or a residential assignment, please get in touch. I teach either at my place in Putney or via Skype and an electronic whiteboard called Bitpaper.

Flat 99 Ormonde Court
364 Upper Richmond Road
London SW15 6TR

Email: info@nickdale.me
Mobile (for FaceTime or WhatsApp): +44 7942 800 921
Skype: nicholas_dale

School Entry Success

  • 7+: Eltham College
  • 8+: Newland House School
  • 9+: Fulham Prep School, Kensington Prep School
  • 10+: The Harrodian School, Hampton Court House, St Catherine’s School Twickenham
  • 11+: Aldenham School, Alleyn’s School, Bancroft’s School, Belmont School, Benenden School, City of London School, Colfe’s School, Emanuel School, Epsom College, Francis Holland School Regent’s Park, Hampton School, The Harrodian School, Highgate 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, Trinity School, University College School (UCS), Westminster Under School (WUS), Whitgift School, Wimbledon High School
  • 12+: Hampton Court House
  • 13+: Bedales School, Charterhouse, Duff Miller, Dulwich College, Eaton Square School, Eton College, Hampton School, The Harrodian School, Harrow School, Ibstock Place 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, Winchester College

Scholarship Success

  • Scholarships from Alleyn’s School, Bancroft’s School, Bedales School, Colfe’s School, Dulwich College, Hampton School, Latymer Upper School, Radnor House, Streatham & Clapham High School, Trinity School, Whitgift School

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) Success

Each of the 56 trainee teachers I’ve taught has passed the QTS Skills Test, either in Literacy, Numeracy or both.

Subjects Taught

  • 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


  • 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).


  • £80 per hour
  • Daily or weekly rate negotiable for overseas assignments
  • The full fee will be payable unless notice of cancellation is received in advance
  • Payment to be made by bank transfer by 2100 on the day of each lesson

Nick Dale - Private tutor

Case Studies

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)

“Hi Nick,
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)


Nick Dale - Private Tutor

I read English at Oxford before beginning a career as a strategy consultant in London. After a spell as Project Manager, I left to set up various businesses, including raising $5m in funding as Development Director for www.military.com  in San Francisco, building a £1m property portfolio in Notting Hill and the Alps and financing the first two albums by Eden James, an Australian singer-songwriter who has now won record deals with Sony and EMI and reached number one in Greece with his first single Cherub Feathers.

In 1998, I had lunch with a friend of mine who had an apartment in the Alps and ended up renting the place for the whole season! That was probably the first real decision I ever made in my life. After ‘retiring’ at the age of 29, I spent seven years skiing and playing golf in France, Belgium, America and Australia before returning to London to settle down and start a family. That hasn’t happened yet, but I did at least make the decision to go ‘quality of life’, and a couple more happy accidents led to two great career opportunities.

The first came in 2009 when I happened to read an article in the paper about ‘Ten Ways to Beat the Recession’, one of which was private tutoring. I signed up with a couple of agencies and ended up with three clients within a week! The other was a random email in 2012 from a loose acquaintance inviting me to climb Mount Kenya and go on safari. I jumped at the chance and decided to buy myself a proper camera. As a result, I’m now a private tutor and a wildlife photographer. I teach for a few hours a week in south-west London and on assignment in places as far afield as Bodrum, Hong Kong and Nairobi. I also take several trips a year to take pictures of the world’s great predators, including bears catching salmon in Alaska, tigers in Rajasthan, polar bears in Svalbard and the Big Five in Africa. In my spare time, I enjoy skiing, tennis and golf. I still have all the same problems as everyone else, but at least I never get up in the morning wishing I didn’t have to go to work!

I also have a collection of over 20,000 past papers and mark schemes in every subject and at every level, including 11+, 13+, GCSE, AS-level, A-level and QTS. You can subscribe here for just £13.99 for 12 months.


Contact Details

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 in Putney if you live locally or online (using Skype and Bitpaper), and I charge £80 an hour.

Email: info@nickdale.me
 +44 7942 800 921
Skype: nicholas_dale

Flat 99 Ormonde Court
364 Upper Richmond Road
London SW15 6TR

Social Media

I’m on a number of social media platforms:

Facebook: facebook.com/NickDalePrivateTutor
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/nickdaleprivatetutor
Twitter: twitter.com/nickdale_pt


I’m also a wildlife photographer. If you’d like to have a look at my favourite images, please visit any of the following sites: