“Helena is a confident and reliable tutor who has been able to work with Hugo at both KS3 and GCSE level, and helped him to engage and enjoy History as an interest as well as a school subject.”
Teresa, Key Stage 3 and GCSE History Parent
Senior School Entrance
2018-2019, Birbeck University of London, MA Medieval History (Merit)
2016-2017, University College London, MA Publishing (Distinction)
2012-2016, The University of Edinburgh, MA History (2:1)
2012, James Allen’s Girls’ School, A Levels – Russian (A*), History (A*), English (A*)
I have been a private tutor since 2016 and specialise in English and History tuition up to A Level.
My main approach to tutoring is listening to the student, and discussing their needs, concerns, and interests directly with them. No single teaching approach works for every student, and I prefer to be individualistic in my teaching style rather than general. I always use the first session with a new student to address this, speaking to both parents and the student themselves to determine what approach will work best for them, both to ensure success and enjoyment. With some students I might prepare personalised handouts for them to review and learn from; with others I might work from the resources they already have. I am flexible and open to trying new techniques, constantly reviewing and adjusting lesson styles and structures according to how the student is progressing. I also like to work closely with parents in order to keep track of student progress and to keep them abreast of the work I am doing with them.
Equally, I understand that tutoring sessions, particularly after school or in holidays, can feel boring, tiring, or pointless, so I strive to make sure that they are relevant for the student as well as dynamic and fun! I do this by taking advantage of digital learning resources alongside books and sheets, such as videos and online quizzes or infographics like maps, and encouraging discussion as part of the session. I have found in my own studies that going beyond the existing resources, and considering topics from more than the ordinary angles, can really help a student to think critically and broadly and, therefore, succeed. I pose questions, ask students to explain concepts to me verbally, and consistently refer back to the topic at hand by asking ‘does this all make sense?’. I want to give students the opportunity to say no, or to ask me to tackle certain topics, ideas, or questions.
One of my key strengths is synthesising and presenting information. I have successfully completed several high-level research projects dealing with large amounts of information, and this is a skill I apply to my teaching. Often I find students are struggling to deal with the amount of information they are required to handle as part of their studies, and so I draw upon my own skills in this area to teach them techniques in how to handle information, and how to best present it according to the structures of whatever qualification they are studying towards. My students have made progress in deepening their understanding of the subject as well as of what the assessments they are studying towards actually require of them. This, for me, is a two-fold approach which has always underlined my style of tutoring.
The students who work with me make key progress in understanding exam techniques, writing styles, and using methods to apply the knowledge they have gained at school or in sessions with me to their exams. This is a priority for me as I have found having all the knowledge in the world is not useful if a student does not know how to apply it. I support them in this by providing past papers for them to practice with, including ones I have written myself, and giving them revision techniques to support their independent work. This is in conjunction with extra learning resources, and constant support from me – I am happy to be contacted for extra lessons, including quick online catch-ups and homework help.
I have over 100 hours of tutoring experience, with students from the 11+ up to A Level. Please see a snapshot of my experience below.
Year 5 Homework Help and After school Guidance
Sameer was a very bright boy in his final year before 11+ exams began, and his parents wanted someone to come in once or twice a week to go through his school work with him to ensure he was on the right track in his learning. They were keen for him to succeed in the Common Entrance, and so I focused on discussing his learning with him in each session, probing his critical thinking skills with questions and going through Common Entrance preparation papers with him. I also tracked his reading progress, suggesting appropriate-level books for him to read and discussing them with him as he went. Our sessions together helped to focus his learning and to keep him on the right track as he entered into Year 6.
11+ and 13+ English
I worked with a family who had two boys, first with their oldest son Hector who was studying for the 13+. His parents wanted extra help for him to make the transition from state junior school to private secondary school, and so I provided practice entrance exam papers from several different schools, both London Day and Boarding, to help him practice and apply his skills in English and Creative Writing. I also worked with him on Verbal reasoning, and interview preparation. Hector successfully gained entrance into Gordonstoun School, and his parents asked me to come back to tutor his younger brother Sasha at 11+ to help prepare him for entrance exams at Dulwich Prep. He was also making a transition from state to private school so I took a similar approach, providing past papers for him to complete so I could give him feedback. Both were bright boys who enjoyed talking during their sessions, so I also made sure to take time to discuss their schoolwork with them, particularly in English, and kept track of what they were currently reading so I could discuss it with them to spark creativity and interest which could be applied to their Common Entrance skills. Sasha also successfully gained entrance into Dulwich Prep.
iGCSE and KS3 History
I have worked with Hugo in History at KS3 and iGCSE level over the course of two years. At KS3, whilst preparing for 13+ exams, he was struggling to apply what he had learned in History lessons to exam-style questions and said he was not enjoying the subject though he thought he would. In light of this I worked chiefly with practice questions, working with Hugo to help him apply his knowledge to them and to demystify them so he was less intimidated by them. His grades in History at school improved and he successfully gained entrance into Ampleforth College. I also worked with him in the final year of his iGCSEs in History, again focusing on exam-style practice, and applying his learning successfully to the questions and mark schemes. He has expressed a desire to study History to A2 Level as well, an exciting development for me as his tutor.
iGCSE History Home schooling
I worked with Henry as his History teacher, home schooling him through the syllabus over a period of a year and a half. His mother was also keen for him to be taught medieval history to deepen his knowledge of the subject, and so I put together a series of lessons myself, tackling all areas of the medieval world, from the Normans to the Mongols. We maintained two weekly lessons over the year and a half, with breaks on holidays, and I taught him through a mixture of official textbook and past papers, videos and digital resources, and discussion of the topics between ourselves to help him gain critical thinking skills. I found discipline was most difficult to ensure with him since he was a busy home schooled student unused to the classroom, and he preferred Science and Maths subjects to History. I worked to ensure he was totally familiar with the course content and the structure of the exam, and he successfully took the exam half a year early before going into formal schooling for his last two years of education.
A-Level History Coursework Prep
I worked over a few sessions, both online and in-person, with Hayley, who was preparing to hand in her A2 Level History coursework on pre-revolution Russia. She was concerned with comments from her teacher saying her structure and expression was holding her back from a high grade and wanted guidance on how to improve her essay. In the first session I went through her coursework and the mark scheme with her, pointing out how she could better meet the high grade descriptors, and we decided on a plan for her to rewrite and restructure the work. We used colour-coordinating techniques to match up grade descriptors with sections of her work, and I provided her with sample essays on the same topic to look at and help guide her. I stayed in touch with her to mark her rewrites and give her further advice before she handed it in.
Hobbies and Interests
My personal hobbies include reading and fiction writing, singing and playing piano, and sports, including running and playing netball. In the last few years I have run two half marathons and am gearing up to run another in May. I have also been part of a social netball team playing competitive games weekly since returning to London from university. I am a keen reader – I set myself reading goals and have worked through eighty books in the last two years! – and work on my novels whenever I have the time. My particular interests in books are YA, which particularly helps me to connect with the students I teach, as well as classics such as Jane Austen or Daphne de Maurier, and historical novels. I recently began reading Umberto Eco’s ‘In The Name of the Rose’ and am finding it challenging but a fantastic portrait of religion and fanaticism in the medieval world. I enjoy these activities because they challenge my mind and body, encourage me to work on my techniques and skills, as well as expand the horizons of my mind. I find this helps me to connect better with myself and with other people, encourages organisation, and supports my teaching skills in developing my abilities to be patient, to persevere, and overall to learn.
“Helena is a confident and reliable tutor who has been able to work with Hugo at both KS3 and GCSE level, and helped him to engage and enjoy History as an interest as well as a school subject.” Teresa, Key Stage 3 and GCSE History