"James has tutored my eldest child and is now tutoring my second child. He has been an exceptional tutor. Very focused and child led. Both children have really enjoyed the sessions and have an excellent relationship with him (despite being very different). He has an enormous wealth of expertise and was able to give excellent, constructive feedback from the beginning. He was able to teach for the 11+ and fill in the gaps for my children coming from a local state school. My eldest child surpassed our expectations, getting into all of the private schools he applied for. I have recommended James to multiple people already and would have no hesitation in recommending him or using him for my other children."
Parent of 11+ Student
Cambridge University, BA in Philosophy and English (English Tripos part 1 and Philosophy Tripos part 2) – 2.1
A levels: English Language and Literature (A), Religious Studies (A), History (A), Philosophy Special Paper (1st), English Special Paper (1st)
GCSEs: Religious Studies (A*), History (A*), English Literature (A*), English Language (A*), Chemistry (A), Biology (A), Art (A), German (B), Mathematics (B)
My main focus is adapting to the needs of the learner. People learn and engage differently so this is key; some are visual learners and others respond to aural cues. I then focus on building tasks or questions around the learner’s needs. Providing questions at the right level is also key – I have experience in preparing students for top schools and I know all of the previous questions from past years. Because of my experience I can create tailor made papers and questions to suit the student; many companies charge hundreds of pounds for this but it is part of my service. Finally, I find students benefit from a model answer approach – if they can see what a top answer looks like, it helps them recreate it in their own work. Overall, tutoring should be fun so I regularly use puzzles, riddles and interactive audio visual aids to make the lessons enjoyable.
I provide interview preparation for a range of Oxbridge subjects, specialising in the arts and humanities. I am employed by a top independent school and prepare their students every year (approximately 20 candidates). I also provide support with personal statements and tests such as the ELAT and TSA.
St Paul’s 7 +
I tutored twins who both ended up receiving offers to St Paul’s, KCS and Westminster. The boys covered reasoning, English, maths and interview practice with me. They were both very academic but lacked structure in their longer pieces of writing. As they were attending a local state school, there were also challenges in getting them to the required level. Tutoring took place over a year.
St Paul’s 13 +
I tutored the student online during the pandemic and focused just on the St Paul’s process. I was able to provide all the questions from previous years for English and maths, as well as the interview. The student found the discussion of poetry in the interview particularly difficult so I was able to create a poetry course for him, covering the main techniques involved and also how to thematically analyse unseen poetry. Tutoring took place over a period of 6 weeks. He secured an offer.
Highgate 11+ and City of London 11+
The student was taught for over a year and came from a state school where they weren’t being pushed enough. In particular, their creative writing lacked planning and focus. I worked on all areas including maths and reasoning. I was able to get the student to plan creative writing more effectively and include all the relevant techniques. Maths was also a challenge due to some of their knowledge gaps – I worked through past papers for the relevant schools, particularly focusing on ‘word problems’. The student received offers for Highgate and City of London, and several other schools.
Cheltenham Ladies’ College 11+
The student is Turkish and had no familiarity with the UK system. I had to advise on everything from where to apply as well as application deadlines. There were differences in the syllabus and various confidence issues to work through. However the student settled down and over the course of a year developed to a high level, passing the ISEB pretest and then scoring well at all of her assessments. She chose CLC as she felt it was the best fit for her. The tutoring took place online over a year with a short period of face-to-face while they were in London.
Marlborough College 13+
The student wasn’t getting adequate support from their school as they narrowly missed out on being placed in the top sets for year 6. As a result their progress suffered – I was brought in to make sure that their application was competitive, starting with the ISEB pretest. They had little support from school in this area. Despite this they went on to secure an offer from Marlborough. Tutoring took place over 8 months and is ongoing.
St Paul’s 13+
This student was tutored online for approximately ten months. I focused mainly on the discursive / persuasive piece and the interview, as their maths was strong. The student found the discursive writing difficult as it wasn’t taught in their school. I went through some model answers highlighting the structure and techniques needed, as well as giving the student a checklist so they could create their own answer. The student received an offer.
English GCSE / A Level
I initially tutored the eldest boy of the family online and he secured a grade of 8 in both English exams. I now tutor the younger sister who has also achieved the same grades. Both students were at the same state school and while well supported, the school lacked the specialist knowledge on how to secure higher grades. I showed both students model answers and explained the mark schemes in detail so they were clear what examiners were looking for. Tutoring took place over a year for the eldest and for the sister it is ongoing.
Philosophy A level
The student was being homeschooled and had experienced considerable emotional difficulty, with the death of several close family members. He needed an A* to secure his offer to Oxford to read English. I went through the entire AQA syllabus, covering every question and topic with an A* model answer. The student got the grade and secured his offer. The tutoring took place over 6 months.
Philosophy A level
The student was tutored online during the pandemic. They were retaking their A level as they needed to secure an A* to get into their chosen course (Dentistry). I went through the entire syllabus, preparing model answers for every possible question. The student had issues with knowledge and structure and these were rectified quickly. It was particularly challenging as they weren’t at school and had to be submitted as an independent candidate – I supported them through the process and gave advice. The student was awarded an A*. The tutoring took place over 8 months.
The student was at a high level school but wasn’t thought of as being ‘of the Oxbridge standard’. I worked with her for around 3 months prior to the interview, covering all the key typical interview tasks and developing the depth and breadth of her knowledge, particularly in philosophy. The student received an offer.
Hobbies and Interests
I competed in powerlifting at university so I try and maintain strength and conditioning training. I find exercise very rewarding even though it is a long time since I competed! I am a keen classical and jazz musician and have studied piano to grade 4. I enjoy the creativity of improvising as well as the study of theory.
“Excellent tutor – we would highly recommend James. We approached James to prepare our son to sit the 8+ Entrance exam for KCS. James was very quick to understand his strengths and weaknesses and helped him to develop and further his reasoning, comprehension and creative writing skills. At the end of each lesson, James would always provide a brief summary of how each lesson went, what they did and advice on additional things we could do between each lesson. Our son felt prepared on the day of the exam and we were elated to be offered a place at KCS.”
Parent of 8+ Student
“James has tutored my eldest child and is now tutoring my second child. He has been an exceptional tutor. Very focused and child led. Both kids have really enjoyed the sessions and have an excellent relationship with him (despite being very different). He has an enormous wealth of expertise and was able to give excellent, constructive feedback from the beginning. He was able to teach for the 11+ and fill in the gaps for my children coming from a local state school. Our eldest child surpassed our expectations, getting into all private schools he applied for. I have recommended James to multiple people already and would have no hesitation in recommending him or using him for my other children.”
Parent of 11+ Student
“I approached James in preparation for the English Language GCSE at the beginning of year 11. We created a loose plan to cover and review all the types of GCSE questions within the two (AQA) papers. On the basis of individual lessons, he allowed me to chose the subtopics within the question to work on and provided model answers, guidance in planning, and criticism of the answers I produced. This proved to be very useful and helped develop exam technique and boost the quality of the answers. Out of class I sent James many essays, all of which where marked and constructively criticised; all the replies were sent back very quickly. It is also important to mention that James was instrumental in making and editing the personal statement I made to City of London School, which was successful. All in all an excellent tutor who helped me progress from a 6 in English language in the mock to a 9 in the GCSE.”
GCSE English Student