"Dear Alex, Your lessons were hugely helpful in progressing Ollie both for the English GCSE exams and as an educational experience! Ollie did incredibly well and got 11 grade 9’s ( one of 322 pupils in the country) which he was thrilled with and so are we. Many thanks for your work with him. You are clearly a talented teacher."
Mother of GCSE English Language & Literature student
History of Art
Senior School Entrance
2021 Birmingham City University: Distinction – LBR7566: Understanding & Managing Behaviours of Self, Teams and Organisations
2008 – 2012 University of St Andrews, MA (Hons) 2:1 – English & Art History
- Secretary of University Fishing Club for two years
- Coach for University Clay Pigeon Shooting Club
- Committee member for Russian cultural festival.
2004 – 2007 Davies, Laing & Dick College, London
- 4 A levels: English (A), History (A), Drama (A), French (B)
- Prize for Outstanding A levels
- Member of the College Council for 2 years
2002 – 2004 Ampleforth College, York
- GCSEs – English Literature (A*), English Language (A*), History (A), French (A), Drama (A), Science (A), Maths (C), Latin (C)
- Member of College Council
I have been private tutoring since 2014. I specialise in teaching English, History, History of Art, Entrance examinations (VR, NVR) and IELTS. My approach to tuition is to be both friendly and focused. For the tuition to be a success is it important to develop a rapport with the student, while keeping sight of the student’s goals and needs. When tutoring, I have found that using analogies that are pertinent to the individual student and using their existing interests as a way to explain complex topics and practise skills are also very helpful techniques. For example, I have used a student’s passion for Manchester City Football Club to introduce lessons on The Wars of the Roses, as the Lancastrian red rose appears on the football club’s logo. On another occasion, for a student with a great interest in cars, I used the text of car reviews to practise comprehension skills. Flexibility is also essential to keep the lessons effective and relevant. Occasionally, lesson plans may need to be adapted to changing circumstances such as altered deadlines and upcoming assignments.
Please see below some snapshot examples of my tutoring experience.
Entrance examination recent successes include, Garden House 8+, Kings Wimbledon 10+, Cranleigh 10 +, 11+ Common Entrance, Downe House, 13 + Lancing & Millfield, 14+ Uppingham, Bryanston, 13+ Le Rosey,
Year 4 History
Ben was in year 4 at Prospect House School in London and his parent’s were concerned that he was not performing well in his history lessons on Medieval England while being homeschooled due to the pandemic. Ben said that he found history “boring” and didn’t understand why it was important to study the past. Ben was an avid Manchester City football supported and I noticed from the various club merchandise in his house that the club’s logo included the red Lancastrian rose. I used this to focus Ben’s attention on The Wars of the Roses, which he was currently studying, explaining the significance of the royal houses and their symbols and linking this historical connection to the design of the football club’s logo. Ben soon became fascinated by this link between the medieval period and modern times and he quickly overcame his resistance to focusing on history.
William was preparing for a 10+ school entrance exam to King’s School, Wimbledon, in three months’ time. His maths was excellent but he found engaging with comprehension texts difficult and “boring”. He was very interested in cars and I decided to use this passion to help practise comprehension tasks. I designed English assessments in the style of the examination William would be sitting and which were tailored to William’s interest in cars. William found these texts much more interesting and, as a result, he became much more engaged with practising English, and his standard soon improved. Thanks to this bespoke approach, I’m pleased to say that William did very well in the English test and was offered a place at the school.
I tutored M, a boy at Eton taking his GCSEs. Covering both the English Language and Literature papers, I worked with M on consolidating his core skills – understanding literary techniques, close analysis of texts, and essay structure. Although a bright student, he had been losing marks through careless work and not understanding what the exam required of him. As the exams approached, I focused more on exam technique and past paper practice, offering targeted and constructive feedback. M was delighted to receive grade 9s in both the English Language and Literature GCSEs.
IB HL English Literature
Avery was struggling with the IB Higher Level literature oral presentation which involves comparing two extracts from two books from the ten previously studied, in relation to a global issue which the student can pick themselves. The assessment was only 10 weeks away. She had been given little support from her classroom teacher at Le Rosey about the complexities of assessment and how to prepare. By carefully explaining the specifics of the task and explaining how choosing texts from different genres, periods and by writers with highly diverse backgrounds would improve the quality of the presentation and gain more marks, Avery soon made great progress and selected two excellent extracts from two intriguingly diverse texts and an interesting global issue through which to compare them. With a structured approach to selecting extracts and choosing a global issue, in only a few lessons, Avery had made great progress with the presentation and eventually performed very well in the assessment, which has greatly supported her applications to universities in UK and North America.
A-Level History of Art
Daniela was a student at Marlborough College, who had recently begun the A level in Art History. She had little previous knowledge of the subject, so before she returned to start her Lower Sixth studies, I arranged to take her around the National Gallery in London, so give her a grounding in some key artistic movements ahead of starting the course. This trip had a number of beneficial consequences. Firstly, Daniela got to see, first-hand, the variety and stylistic developments of Western art, which helped provide valuable context to her studies. Secondly, as I know from my own Art History studies at St Andrews University, it is much easier to notice and appreciate artistic techniques when you see the paintings in the room, rather than on a screen. Being able to see the work from a number of angles, also highlights the artist’s skills at creating complex compositions. From my knowledge of the curriculum, Daniela would be following I directed her attention to particular pieces which I know she would be studying at Marlborough. This introductory visit helped ignite Daniela’s interest in an unfamiliar subject and has meant that she has made an impressive start to her A level course.
In the Autumn, Tarek, 15, was about to start the AP World History course at The American School in Dubai. Over the Summer holiday, I was asked to devise an introductory course that would fill in some gaps in Tarek’s historical knowledge and perspective, so he had a solid framework of skills and information in time for the start of term. Tarek had some excellent historical knowledge but found it hard to link different areas and periods. Consequently, we examined world history through a number of themes such as ‘invasion and conquest’ and ‘consequences of viruses and diseases’ in shaping world history, rather than employing a more linear focus. Tarek was also going to be doing a lot of travelling over the Summer and this also gave us an added perspective as Tarek could research where he was going in advance, which would, in turn, deepen historical understanding. During this project, I asked Tarek to think of topics, issues or periods that he finds interesting and we could use these topics in combination with my initial ideas to build a programme. I wanted to give Tarek as much chance as possible to steer this project, so he had ownership of it and had the opportunity to develop some more intellectual independence and self-motivation ahead of starting the new school year.
Please find a snapshot of my longer-term residential placements below:
September 2015 – June 2016: Residential tutor, Athens, Greece
September 2016 – July 2017: Private tutor, Seoul, South Korea
September 2018 – December 2019: Private tutor, Moscow, Russia
October 2021 – January 2022: Private tutor, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Hobbies and Interests
I much enjoy travelling and have visited over 60 countries. What I enjoy about visiting new places is how and why the reality of a place correlates to or is different to my expectations and research about it. Often I am intrigued by something I see abroad, that I hadn’t expected to be interested in. Exploring this dynamic makes travelling a very rewarding experience.
“Dear Alex, Your lessons were hugely helpful in progressing Ollie both for the English GCSE exams and as an educational experience! Ollie did incredibly well and got 11 grade 9’s ( one of 322 pupils in the country) which he was thrilled with and so are we. Many thanks for your work with him. You are clearly a talented teacher.”