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Leon

"Hi Leon! Just wanted to let you know that [ ] got a scholarship [to Westminster School] and we are so thrilled for him as he has worked so hard. We cannot thank you enough for all your help and support and look forward to working with you in the future. Best wishes, [ ]"

13+ Scholarship Tuition

  • 11+

  • 13 +

  • 7+/8+

  • A Level

  • English

  • GCSE

  • Maths

  • Philosophy

  • SEN

  • Senior School Entrance

  • Social Sciences

  • Theory of Knowledge

Academic History

In 2017, I abandoned the idea of doing a PhD on story structure when I was offered the opportunity to study with Shonaleigh Cumbers, a Jewish storyteller from a long-standing oral tradition, who is – as far as we know – the last Drut’syla.

In 2005, I attained an MA degree in the History of Design & Material Culture of the Renaissance from the V&A/RCA, London. My thesis was on the History of English 16th and 17th C Woven and Embroidered Textile Bookbindings.

1997 I graduated from The Industrial Society’s Runge Balliol Effective Leadership Course and became an associate trainer with The Industrial Society (now The Work Foundation).

Between 1971 and 1981 my schooling began at Willington School (Wimbledon), then I attended Bi-lingual Public Schools in Alexandria, Egypt: with primary schooling at EGC, and secondary schooling at Victoria College (known as the ‘Eton of the Middle East’).

Teaching qualifications include:

1995-1996 – C&G 7306 – Further & Adult Education Teachers’ Certificate – The City Literary Institute, London

1990 – Vocal Pedagogy for the 21st Century Course – Princeton University, USA

1989-1998 – Vocational voice training and presentation courses taken through the British Voice Association, London

1986-1989 – GTCL (Hons) Music – Trinity College, London

1986-1987 – LTCL, LRAM Music Teaching Diplomas – Trinity College, London; Royal Academy of Music

SEN EXPERIENCE

I have a MENSA-level IQ rating and was a member of MENSA for a year, running a special interest group in winemaking for a while but left as – apart from the SIG – I found the experience boring.

I was diagnosed as mildly dyspraxic while studying for my MA in 2003.

I am the parent of a praxic, dyscalculic child.

I received training in SEN strategies while working at the International Language Institute Kindergarten and via teacher training courses at TCM, London.

I have received training in Speech and Language Therapy diagnosis and intervention as part of my training as a voice teacher through the BVA. This includes a course in VPA profiling with Christina Shewell, and training in the Accent Method of holistic breath management, used in therapy with stammerers but with applications to other situations as well.

About Me

“School is a bunch of periods (7.30 hours) that make you sit in a lesson and you learn 1 thing in 2 periods which you will forget by the time you got home because it was such a terrible description. But with Leon its fun, you can learn 5 things in 10 minutes! and can remember it forever.” SEN student, aged 9 3/4.

People tell me I come over as a friendly, intelligent, supportive tutor who helps students fulfil their potential. I have nearly 30 years’ experience tutoring and teaching learners of all ages, from kindergarten to adult education; in sixth form colleges and on graduate courses, in state, private and home schooling environments.

I love what I do – and bring a wealth of experience and creative strategies to the learning environment. My approach is based on an integrated approach to the liberal arts, particularly the Trivium of Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric. I firmly believe in a sound foundation of logic, grammar and rhetoric as the basis for a disciplined approach to developing understanding, wisdom and enlightenment. And I encourage learning through the nurturing of natural inquisitiveness, confidence building, developing an eagerness for discovery. I take a holistic approach to dealing with students who appear unmotivated to learn, or have been put off learning by uninspiring teachers.

I have several teaching qualifications, but the main core of my teaching is my integrated liberal arts approach. I am a parent as well as an educationalist and understand the frustrations parents sometimes have with an increasingly regimented schooling system, as well as the challenges that teachers face within that system. I aim to provide practical solutions that empower children to cope with learning both within and without the school environment. My approach is rooted in sound educational practice, has grown through a wealth of experience and is nurtured with a good dose of common sense. It is organic and constantly evolving.

My key specialist subjects are English which I cover to degree level and Reasoning, based on Classical Logic. I also cover Maths up to GCSE level, and have also tutored students at KS2 and KS3 levels in Essay-based subjects such as History, Geography, and Social Studies and provided revision support for students across subjects for Common Entrance.

Recent tuition

I have prepared students for 7+, 8+, 10, 11+, 11+ and 13+ pre-tests and exams who were offered places at St. Paul’s, Harrow, Eton, Westminster School [The Great School] (Queen’s Scholarship) and Winchester College (Scholarship), KCS, Epsom, Dulwich, and University College School (UCS). I have also prepared students who were successful in gaining places at Emanuel, Alleyn’s, Wimbledon High, Dulwich College, Tiffin, Kingston and Sutton Grammars, Dame Alice Owen, City of London, King’s College School, Latymer, St Paul’s School, The Abbey School Reading, Wellington College, Kendrick Grammar School, St John’s Leatherhead, Epsom College, Whitgift, Hampton School, Wycombe Abbey, Henrietta Barnett, Lady Eleanor Holles, Lady Margaret School, Surbiton High School, Roedean, Brighton & Hove GDST, The Hall School (Wimbledon) and Godolphin and Latymer, among others.

I have helped a number of native and international students with the Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay and English Literature modules for the IB exams. In specific terms, I have helped them improve their creative thinking and logical reasoning skills; hone their paragraph structure, essay writing skills, and literary analysis techniques; and enhance their vocabulary and their clarity of presentation. In addition to being familiar with the Assessment Objectives for the IB exams, I have a particular interest in the ToK module, and have directly relevant experience working with tradition bearers from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds through my work with the LifeLore Institute and my long-standing interest in the classical liberal arts as an integrated and integrating educational tool for holistic learning.

11+ preparation for a student with Dyslexia and Dyspraxia

I tutored a severely Dyspraxic student who sat his 11+ exams in January, flourishing at interview and getting decent results on paper. He obtained a place at a school of his choice. The child was bright, and bilingual. Their greatest challenge seemed to be around structuring thoughts and thought processes. Work was done specifically to support the student in improving this aspect of their cognitive skills certainly, which seems to have had a positive effect, as the feedback below, which was sent in after the exams were over:

Journey to excellence, English, Reasoning, Cross-Curricular Essay Composition for GCSE Grade Boost

I was asked to tutor a bright girl at an independent school who had a good understanding of the GCSE exams she was taking, but who was only hitting B grades in classwork due to her unfocused attitude to essay writing. I had tutored her younger sibling for 11+ entry with good interim results, and they asked me to help out with their daughter. Within three lessons, her mark for the next English essay she submitted went up to an A+ on a piece of work she’d worked on independently, applying a sound structural framework we’d covered together on a sample topic in one of our sessions. Work continues to enhance and support her school’s approach to literary analysis, and we are exploring different ways of structuring paragraphs and arguments. The family then asked me to help out with preparation for debating. The approach I take to this is to clarify the purpose of the debate with my students – do they see debating as a process whereby holders of both sides of an argument can come to terms and evolve a shared vision of what they can both agree is true beyond or within reasonable doubt, or do they see debating as a process of combative sophistry, an ideological battlefield on which the most dominant psychological strategy wins – along with debating, public speaking, and logical reasoning skills, the process becomes an important lesson in terms of building civic awareness and cultivating civic engagement.

13+ English and Reasoning

I was engaged by an ESL family to tutor their young son who was being put forward for the entry to Winchester. The boy’s parents were high achievers and I was told they’d had some poor experiences with tutors in the past. A plan was put in place with their involvement, which covered strategies for approaching the Common Entrance exams, essay writing, interview, and assessing and plugging any gaps in language, with work done supporting and complementing the tasks he was being set at school. The student responded well. Progress was made, but then dipped which prompted an informal review half-way which showed that stress was a factor. We continued in a fun way and keen to achieve results creatively, he produced some of his best work, decided to go for a scholarship, which he was successful in gaining.

13+ English and Maths

I was asked to tutor a student with poor performance in maths at school, an unfocused approach to studying and revising, and an entrance exam for a place in year 9 at the Hall School, Wimbledon coming up in 2 weeks’ time. An intensive series of six lessons over the two weeks, focusing on study skills, revision strategies, exam technique in English Comprehension, Composition, and Maths and – last and most importantly – coming to terms with the joy of learning and the challenge of doing one’s best resulted in an unconditional offer of a place.

EPQ Essay support

I worked with a student who was writing her EPQ on feminism and media. The format was in that of a film script, and her chosen concept was that 3 historical characters came back to life (Cleopatra, Marie Antoinette, Marilyn Monroe), and were commenting on the various portrayals of them in film. The essay referenced historical accounts, primary sources, and addressed questions relating to the philosophy of history in the process. She was predicted an A for her work. Her work was awarded an A*.

IB Philosophy

I have been providing online tutoring for a bright off-shore-based IB student specifically to help with the philosophy part of their course, a module they felt they were particularly weak on. Weekly tutoring sessions have been following the institution’s curriculum. Each session starts off by building the integral tools necessary for clear inductive and deductive reasoning from first principles about any topic. Topics and approaches covered link naturally to the Theory of Knowledge syllabus – looking at ways of knowing, and areas of knowledge, then focusing awareness on topics being covered and discussed in the philosophy course. Particularly fruitful sessions have included looking at words and how we use them; reasoning about the soul from first principles; comparing Daoist, Existentialist and Rationalist approaches to life, and looking at the link between rhetoric and philosophy – in particular pre-classical approaches to rhetoric; and looking at Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s fascinating approaches to knowledge through keen observation and engagement with an object of study. Briefed at the beginning of the job that the student was reluctant to do much extra homework, and that most, if not all of the learning should take place during theory and practical application of theory to key topics that were relevant and of interest, supporting them with suggestions for short but unusual readings related to the topics, including philosophical riddles. The student’s engagement with these was immediate, and clearly both personally rewarding, as well as providing practical benefit in terms of clarity and depth of thinking when approaching the course requirements.

Tutorial Support for undergraduate Liberal Arts student (Philosophy / History of Art) at McGill University, Montreal

I have been supporting a creative first-language English speaker in argumentation, essay planning, and study skills. The student required support with suggestions for wider reading, historical context, and particularly essay planning. Work focused on apposite use of structure words, structuring academic essays, and critical thinking techniques. Topics covered in the philosophy course were discussed and put into cultural context, with wider themes of zeitgeist, culture, intellectual bias, and practice in employing different lenses (eg phenomenological, epistemological, rationalist, mystical) to explore particular topics, enabling the student to deepen their understanding, develop original lines of enquiry, pursue them clearly, and explain that process and its results clearly to others in written and spoken formats. As a result the student gradually increased in confidence and grade achievements climbed from being consistently around the B mark to being consistently around the A mark. Tutoring support is on-going, with regular tutorial sessions to support work on course ssignments and revision for formal assessments.

Structure and Presentation for MA Success (Art, with a focus on Philosophy of Art)

I was asked by an MA student who is an ESL speaker to edit and help structure and critique an essay and presentation for an art-related degree.

Reasoning and Presentation for MA Coursework Essay and Thesis Proposal (Philosophy of Art)

I was asked by an MA student who is an ESL speaker to critique and edit an essay and dissertation proposal for a philosophy of art degree. The work involved engaging critically with source material, context, contemporary academic and artistic practice in the field that the client was referencing in order to help improve the structure of the argumentation across the two works, and ensure academic rigour in a supportive, fun way.

Hobbies and Interests

I have performed as a musician, worked with top opera singers as a vocal coach and accompanist, written and performed poetry, and had it published, and teach public speaking and presentation skills to adults. I enjoy telling stories, reading, baking and decorating biscuits, doing practical research into historic needlecraft techniques, and thinking. I am keen on promoting the value of living traditions and the important role that living tradition bearers have to play in society. I am particularly intrigued by questions we don’t yet have answers for.

I have a deep respect for the work of George Spencer-Brown, author of Laws of Form, and have applied his methodology to both the study and teaching of classical logic and of story structure.

I have written and co-authored a range of educational books (History Riddles, 2013); (Odyssey: Dymanic Learning Journey, with David Pinto, 2013) and am currently working on Bible Riddles, the next in the series of cultural riddle books I’m writing. I also worked closely with author Tony Cleaver on his book, ‘Frogs, Cats and Pyramids’ (Liberalis, 2014) which is geared specifically to IB students.

Client Testimonials

“We wanted to share the good news that [ ] passed his exam! We really appreciate all your guidance which has greatly helped! You have really been brilliant with him, so a huge thank you!” Mother of 8+ student

“Our son has now received offers from Winchester, King’s, St Paul’s, City of London, Harrow and Eton. So a full sweep, in a sense, which is an excellent outcome … Thank you from him and from us for helping him so much. We are so happy with the outcome, and clearly, you helped him achieve this. ”

Parents of a student applying to a range of top schools at 13+

“Our son has been enjoying very much his tutoring sessions with Leon. He likes the challenges set by Leon and his high expectations. Leon is helping him with acquiring key skills (reasoning, study skills, getting organised) which he knows will help him throughout his studies. His English as well as his vocabulary have improved. We highly recommend Leon. His teaching is special; he encourages pupils to think for themselves.”

Parents who requested an ongoing liberal arts-based tutorial programme for their son to complement and expand on the school curriculum he was following.

  • Entrance Exam Specialist

  • Multidisciplinary

  • SEN Specialist