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James D

“James is a gifted and talented tutor who established friendship and trust with my son immediately. My son looked forward to his arrival and never lost concentration throughout the day during a home-schooling session. I could not recommend anybody more highly.”

Parent of Home Schooling student

  • 13 +

  • Art

  • Geography

  • Home schooling

  • Science

  • SEN

Academic History

2014, University of Brighton: MA Fine Art (Merit)

1996, University of the Arts London (LCC): BA Hons Photography (2.1)

1993, Portsmouth Art College: Foundation Film & Photography (Distinction)

1989, Southdowns College, Portsmouth: BTEC National Diploma in Electronics

1984, The Portsmouth Grammar School: 4 ‘O’ Levels, Maths, Physics, Geography & Technical Drawing

1978, The Portsmouth Grammar School: Common Entrance Exam

About Me

I have been tutoring students since 2012. I teach Science, Geography and The Arts. In addition I have experience preparing students for the Common Entrance Exam (13+).

I am very passionate about Art and Science and have been told this comes across during the session with the levels of enthusiasm when delivering the lesson. The natural pace and flow helps to keep the student engaged which creates a good momentum. Having originally trained as an engineer I have an analytical approach which aids varying methodologies. I also prefer to link different subject areas together to create a broader context which reveals why we are learning the fundamental elements of science.

When I teach Science my key objective is to get as many facts across to the student as efficiently as possible. The pace of the session is determined by the student’s ability. To keep the students interest l contextualise the content of the session into the broader science world. I use videos, whiteboards and sketch pads as well as conventional oral methods to deliver the content. I have found that it is very effective to get students to keep a science scrapbook/journal, this can include concise bullet points drawn diagrams and printed illustrations. By the end of each session I employ a role reversal method to see that the student can actually teach the subject back to me allowing me to gauge the student’s understanding of the topic. As the academic year progresses I gradually increase the pace by introducing expanded past papers, for each question a more in-depth list of questions are asked pertaining to that particular subject. This serves as an excellent revision process as well as practising exam technique.

When tutoring arts subjects a more investigative approach is required, finding out what the student is interested in, what the strengths are and what they want to achieve. Drawing upon 25 years of visual arts experience I devise a program that turns their ideas into a tangible cohesive body of work for the external examiners. The more the student flourishes the more they enjoy it and this takes the stress out of the examination process.

Recent tuition

I have worked with over 100 students at different academic levels from Key Stage 2 through to Postgraduate level.

Below is a sample of my most recent experience.

Common Entrance Exam Preparation 13+

This case is an example of where you have a strong student that has to be pushed even further to match the exacting standards of an institution such as Eton College. This was achieved by being extremely rigorous in our working approach – by taking the syllabus in components to ensure the pupil knows absolutely everything in and around each topic thoroughly. Over the duration of a 14-month period with regular 1.5-hour sessions per week, permitted enough time to achieve the level of rigour required. He was successful in entering Eton College.

Other schools I have worked with students for successfully at 13+ are Winchester, St Paul’s, The Harrodian, Rugby school, Bryanston and Harrow.

Year 7 Homeschooling – Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, Art & Photography (SEN)

This student has an Asperger’s condition and found the school environment difficult to interact or make any progress. His parents employed me for 12 hours a week to teach all the Sciences, Geography, Art and Photography. Working at home in a more relaxed environment allowed him to regain his confidence. We gained enough momentum for him to catch up with his classmates at Cranbourne. Weekly visits to art institutions in London also gave him an insight into the contemporary art world. This was useful process to further develop his very competent art and photography skills. After 14 months of tutoring, he felt mentally strong to return to a school environment. It was reported that his science teachers were stunned by his newfound science knowledge!

Year 8 Homeschooling – Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Photography, Art & IT

This pupil was class one suicidal and had to be handled very delicately due to his high vulnerability. I found the level of depression very demanding and was employed by the family to maintain his academic studies to a good level, as well as keeping his spirits in good health. He achieved some very good results during my time with him, taking his AQA GCSE science two years early and achieving A and B grades, a remarkable improvement considering his young age. Overall there was a great rapport and momentum was created between us, which in turn developed sufficient mental stability to return to Hurst College the following academic year.

Year 9 & GCSE Homeschooling – Geography

I have helped several home schooling pupils with Geography, up to GCSE level, teaching the Physical Geography as well as the Social Political side of Geography. I particularly enjoy the Geological topics and encourage my pupils to create as many drawings and diagrams to help them consolidate their knowledge so that they can recall it in an exam situation. For one year I was working with a Year 10 pupil and set him the Year 11 GCSE paper which he passed with a grade 7 one year early.

GCSE Science Foundation SEN (AQA)

Sadly, this student was born with half her brain missing – so, I created a tailor-made study program at a reduced rate of learning which covered a longer period of three years. This proved to be the key to her success, overcoming the chronic learning difficulties she had to endure. During this time, her confidence grew, as well as her ability. Once she knew her goals were achievable she became very determined and actually achieved a GCSE in science – we were thrilled.

GCSE Science – Cambridge Gateway

This case is at the opposite social spectrum to the previous case. This student was getting into a lot of trouble with gangs and was only in school on average around 40% of the time. His parents brought me in to try and get him to catch up academically, as well as try and give him some momentum and hope for a more positive future. Starting in year 10, I gradually started to make a good connection with him, keeping him amused so that his attention was good throughout our weekly sessions. In general, truancy decreased and all his subjects started to gel together, to move in a positive direction. He was now focusing on the possibility of actually passing his GCSEs. Last August I had his mother on the phone in tears of joy telling me that he had passed two of his science GCSEs.

GCSE Science

This student was a very interesting case because she suffered a massive seizure which left her with amnesia. I worked with her throughout the year and during the holidays. Although a very capable student, the issue was her memory. She was unable to remember any of the work she had already completed from her previous years. It was like starting completely from scratch. The seizure had also affected her short-term memory, so everything had to be explained many, many times before she could remember the various concepts within each topic – this was by far the hardest challenge I’ve come across since tutoring. Eventually, everything started to slot into place and she was able to retain information. It was a very emotional experience for us all when we were able to reach this point. She went on to achieve the B grades in her Physics, Biology and Chemistry, a remarkable achievement considering her circumstances.

IGCSE Science (Edexcel)

With this student there was the luxury of working over a two-year period starting in Year 10. The parents were concerned as he was only achieving an average of C grades on all of his science subjects. By working over a prolonged period around 1.5 hours per week, effective continuity and momentum was created around the learning and understanding the subject. His final results this August surpassed his parents’ expectations, achieving all A* grades in Chemistry, Biology and Physics. These were in fact his strongest subjects. For a tutor to turn a pupil’s subjects from the weakest to the strongest is extremely satisfying and rewarding, job done!

GCSE Science & A-Level Photography (SEN Dyslexia)

My story with this student started when he was in Year 10. He is extremely dyslexic and struggles academically. It was very difficult to get him to engage and he would get very frustrated and his confidence was getting rather diminished, to a very low point. He is very creative and a fantastic musician, so I felt the best way to go forward was to get his revision notes into a more creative form. This was achieved by using oversized poster journals, including many diagrams and photos. It was a very effective way of laying out the work, with its graphic nature, there was a sense of scale and less cluttered information, which would help with the dyslexia. From this point onwards, there was rapid progress made, right through to the end of year 11 and he achieved two Science GCSEs. He was always a creative personality, so when he decided to take A-Level Photography he asked me to tutor him for the duration of the course. I was very pleased to be working on a different challenge with him. We are about to go into the final year of A-level, and the work he has made is very interesting conceptually and aesthetically. It has been fascinating watching this student develop over the last four years.

Hobbies and Interests

I am an artist so hobbies are primarily researching for my art practice. This includes gallery and museum visits, collecting art catalogues and artist monographs. I also enjoy keeping abreast of all the latest Science developments from around the globe through various blogs and publications. The majority of my spare time is taken up by actually making the artwork which is shown around Europe and America.

 Client Testimonials

“James tutored my son up to the time of his GCSE exams this year. He had been struggling with Chemistry, Biology and Physics at school and had rather lost confidence in his ability to do well in these subjects. J– asked if he could have some private lessons in order to catch up. James planned his sessions well and made the lessons interesting for J–. J– looked forward to the lessons and enjoyed James’s company and teaching method. Having James’s help and calming influence in these three subjects made the run up to the exams far less stressful for J– and us. J– received A* grades for each of these subjects. We are very grateful for the expert tutoring that James provided to enable Jack to secure these grades. We feel fortunate to have secured James’s help when we did.”


“I have a delightful but non-engaged, dyslexic and slightly lazy teenager who needed help with his science GCSE. We wanted a dynamic, strong tutor who could help re-engage him into the task in hand. In walked James who was perfect for my son. He worked with him in a way that suited his dyslexia and made science interesting for him. James helped him organise the way he worked and how to revise for an exam. Something that has become a template for other subjects. Our son looked forward to his sessions with James which really is a first and did an excellent job of it. I would thoroughly recommend James as a tutor and advise parents to keep a well-stocked biscuit tin.”

Mrs J Maber, GCSE Science Tuition

“James is a gifted and talented tutor who established friendship and trust with my son immediately. My son looked forward to his arrival and never lost concentration throughout the day during a home-schooling session. I could not recommend anybody more highly.”

Mr D Riggol

  • Home schooling Experience

  • SEN Experience