Joanna

“Jo has successively tutored our three children through 11+. You will have to look long and hard for a tutor to be more beloved by the children than her! Our youngest was really keen to finally be tutored by her too. If occasionally we have to re-schedule or skip a session my children think they’re losing out on all the fun.”

11+ Tuition

  • 11+

  • 13 +

  • English Language

  • English Literature

Academic History

2009-2011, The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA): Postgraduate degree in Professional Acting.

2005 -2008, University of Bristol BA (Hons.) English Literature and Drama (2:1).

1998-2005, North London Collegiate School:

–           A-Levels: English Literature (A), Politics (A), Theatre Studies (A) A/S Levels: Philosophy (A).

–           GCSEs: Nine (A*) grades.

About Me

I have been working as a tutor since 2011 working with pupils aged 5 to 18 in English Literature, English Language and Maths. Furthermore I provide tutoring support for the 11+ Entrance Exams.

I tutor because I love to see my pupils excel and reach their full potential. I aim to make my sessions informative and enjoyable so my pupils look forward to tuition. Education should be inspiring, not a chore. I have used my years of experience as a tutor, writer and actress to ensure the sessions are personable and enjoyable. I am happy to go the extra mile and speak to pupils/parents over skype, on the phone or via email so they feel supported between sessions if any imminent issues arise.

I use the first session to gauge the pupil’s ability and to ensure they feel at ease and comfortable working together as a team. I manage the pupil’s and parent’s expectations so each session is tailored to what will be most beneficial for the student’s progress. We set clear targets on a session by session basis and an overarching goal for the term and academic year. For example, if they are struggling with their homework commitments, we can focus purely on tackling those. However, I also bring along my own materials so we can target difficult areas on a one to one basis and challenge the pupil beyond what they may be covering in the school syllabus.

I treat each pupil as an individual, listening to their anxieties, weaknesses but also their strengths so I can help them gain confidence in the face of the biggest academic challenges.

Recent tuition

I have extensive experience tutoring 11+ Entrance Examinations, including Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning. I have successfully tutored pupils for entry to a range of London schools including North London Collegiate, City of London, Haberdashers’ Aske’s, South Hampstead High, Channing, Highgate and Godolphin & Latymer. During my time as a pupil at North London Collegiate, I was also Head Girl in my final year. As a result, I have first-hand experience and an in-depth knowledge of the ethos of NLCS and schools of a similar calibre.

I have worked with over 50 students in a one to one setting, tutoring students of varying ages from pre-schoolers to adults. Here is a sample of my recent tutoring experience.

Year 4 English Language

Reading was always a chore for Freddy and as a result, he struggled to articulate his own creative writing ideas on the page. This was a great source of frustration for him and reflected in his final presentation – poor grammar, basic vocabulary and a confusing narrative. However, I was determined that Freddy should not lose his passion for the subject. We worked extensively on planning our stories, focusing on a checklist for our writing: 3 part story plan – following the story mountain, 2 contrasting main characters, an adjective for every noun, an adverb for every verb, 3 moments of direct speech, 1 piece of onomatopoeia. To keep Freddy engaged and excited, I would generate a range of customised story titles, inspired by his favourite reading books, which he would then choose (on a weekly basis), from our special writing box. Finding this connection meant Freddy felt he was getting to write stories that he was passionate about which directly improved the quality of his writing.

11+ English

Achieving highly in her Maths papers, Anantaa had always felt “English wasn’t her subject”. With the 11+ becoming increasingly competitive and her parents with their heart set on her gaining entry to North London Collegiate School, we knew it was vital her English grade be as high as her Mathematics. Verbally, Anantaa showed deep understanding of some of the most difficult passages, however, it was crucial she was able to tackle the more challenging “inference” questions and be able to articulate her responses eloquently on the page. Using past papers, we implemented the “Point, evidence, explanation (P-E-E)” technique, working together on the higher mark questions to build her confidence. Eventually, independently, she was intuitively using the technique and once we’d exhausted all the past papers, I generated P-E-E style questions from short stories aimed at Year 7-Year 9 level. This meant that ahead of the exam, Anantaa was stretching herself beyond her academic year. As a result, she gained an Academic Scholarship to South Hampstead High School for Girls and successfully secured a place at North London Collegiate.

11+ English – Discursive Writing

Frieda would always run out of time during the second part of the 11+ paper. Creative writing came naturally to her, but the new Consortium style paper incorporating a discursive piece, would always bring down her overall mark. Planning was crucial, so when responding to a range of titles (e.g. Should boys and girls be educated separately? Should school uniform be banned?), we implemented a 5 part plan (Introduction – which side you will support, 1st point with evidence, 2nd point with evidence, Counter point – consider the other side, Conclusion – including a rhetorical question). Each week, I would bring a current news story, with a relevant topic for debate, which Frieda (under strict timed conditions), would have to plan and write. For homework, I set her the task of finding an intriguing story she might have heard on the radio, seen on television or read in the newspaper herself that week. She would then have to present the news piece and debate with me the following session. This nurtured her own awareness of current political issues which not only prepared her for this specific section of the exam, but also for the interview stage. As a result, Freida successfully gained a place at Haberdasher’s Aske’s School for Girls.

13+ Interview Technique

Alex was highly academic across all subjects and this was reflected in his extremely high scores. However, at the interview stage, he struggled tremendously with confidence which would inhibit his responses to the interviewer’s questions. Through weekly tuition, over the course of six months, I began by creating a relaxed environment, which Alex knew was free from judgement. We worked through a range of questions and challenges so he’d feel prepared for whatever was sprung on him on the day. Orally, we worked through various Maths challenges (e.g. simultaneous equations) and English challenges (e.g. sight reading a poem and answering questions on the text). This meant Alex was able to focus more on his attitude and approach to tackling a difficult problem, not necessarily on getting the “perfect” answer. Imagining I was the interviewer, he would guide me through each step of his thought process. This successfully showed me he was able to think laterally and connect topics he’d previously learnt to move onto new, more challenging topics. After our work together, he was fluently responding to all questions, providing reasons for his answers (without prompting). Alex was overjoyed to gain a place at City of London School for Boys.

IGCSE English Language

Born into a French family and only moving to the UK when she was 11, Charlotte had struggled with English as her second language. Her attitude to her studies was highly commendable and she was determined to see her English grade improve. She felt nervous to put her hand up in class at the fear of looking inferior to her classmates. However, through our one on one work together, we saw Charlotte’s confidence and passion for English grow exponentially. We worked extensively on identifying figurative language, being able to explain its effect on the reader and explaining the quotation using her own words. We created a “synonyms list” which we added to each week so she was able to substitute words in the exam paper for her own at an increasing pace. As her vocabulary improved, she was also able to identify unfamiliar, more complex words in the exam paper, making educated suggestions which saw her marks steadily rise.

Year 13 Drama School Audition Technique

Despite her parents wanting her to study English at university, Sophie was determined to go to drama school. Her parents would only permit her on the condition she gained entry to the “Big 3” in the UK (LAMDA, RADA, Guildhall). These are highly competitive schools (3000 applicants for 30 places), so we knew we had a significant challenge on our hands. We worked intensively over the course of a year, on her physical and vocal technique. I provided a diverse range of texts from Shakespeare and Marlowe to modern day playwrights such as Mike Bartlett and David Eldridge. As a LAMDA graduate myself, I was able to provide mock lessons to prepare Sophie for the day to day life of training. I would recommend important theatre productions she should see as well as extra workshops to supplement her education. This ensured her audition stood out from the crowd and Sophie successfully secured a place on the Three Year Acting (BA) course at LAMDA.

Hobbies and Interests

From 2011 to 2012 I worked for Perform, a drama school for 4-12 year olds. This involved running weekly workshops for medium sized groups of 4-7 year olds and where I gained experience in coaching pupils for LAMDA examinations.

As an actress, I have worked extensively at the Donmar Warehouse – “Dazzlingly intelligent and courageous, Joanna’s an artist to watch” – Josie Rourke (Donmar / Channel 4). I am represented by talent agency, Scott Marshall Partners and as a writer/performer, I have been featured in The Guardian, The Independent and on the BBC.

I enjoy music, travelling, dancing, reading, swimming and learning new languages.

 Client Testimonials

I have maintained great relationships with all the families I have taught. Please see below for a selection of testimonials:

“Joanna is one of the best tutors we have ever had. She has taught two out of three of my daughters so far, and the youngest can’t wait to get started! Her energetic and enthusiastic style of teaching has ignited a real love of learning in my children. Her attention to detail, breadth of knowledge and positive and passionate attitude has made the whole tutoring experience incredibly enjoyable, not just for the children, but for the parents too!”

Mother of current NW3 pupil

“Jo has successively tutored our three children through 11+. You will have to look long and hard for a tutor to be more beloved by the children than her! Our youngest was really keen to finally be tutored by her too. If occasionally we have to re-schedule or skip a session my children think they’re losing out on all the fun.”

Mother of current NW6 pupil

“Jo Griffin taught my daughter Olivia when she was in year three. Jo is an extremely kind and caring tutor with a huge abundance of enthusiasm and encouragement. She gave Olivia the confidence she needed to get through challenging pieces of comprehension and she also helped improve Olivia’s spelling considerably. I know Olivia loved the lessons – this was due to Jo’s wonderful personality and love of the subject. Jo was always punctual and well prepared for the lessons which we were most grateful for.”

Mother of past NW11 pupil

“As a working mother with children in academic schools, I was looking for someone to work in partnership with me to ensure that the my son Carlo was guided and encouraged in his learning at home. Joanna fit that description perfectly. She was flexible in the subjects she covered and in the content of what she taught. Equally importantly, she made sure Carlo looked forward to their sessions. She took the time to provide detailed feedback and suggestions. We were very happy to have found her.”

Mother of past NW3 pupil

 

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