"Nina was fantastic with our son. He is quite shy but she engaged with him so well and was able to get the very best out of him!"
- Parent of an 11+ Student
Personal Statement Support
Senior School Entrance
My academic history is as follows:
-2019 to present – PhD in English and American Literature at the University of Cambridge (Saint Edmund’s College)
– 2017 to 2018 – Distinction (First in Class): MA in English Literature at University College London
– 2014 to 2016 – Outstanding (AA): PGCE and QTS at the UCL Institute of Education
– 2008 to 2011 – Honours (2.1): BA and MA Cantab. in Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge (Jesus College)
– 2009 – Intensive Summer Course in Linguistic Anthropology at Harvard University
– 2007 to 2008 – A (highest mark at the time) in A-Level English Literature, Spanish and Biology, and AS-Level Mathematics, at Saint Paul’s Girls’ School
– 2005 – A* in GCSE English Language, English Literature, French, Spanish, History, Art, Mathematics and Science (A*A*) at Saint Paul’s Girls’ School
I offer high-quality tuition for the Early Years, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, GCSE, A-Level and university students, as well as for adults. I have many hours of teaching and tutoring experience, and glowing letters of recommendation. I am a qualified secondary school English teacher (QTS and PGCE), with one year of additional teacher training in Key Stage 1, and I am an official GCSE examiner for AQA. I have taught students from the age of four up through their fifties: I am experienced, adaptable, effective, encouraging, friendly and fun — and I strongly believe in adapting my teaching style to suit each individual student.
I am knowledgeable in all areas of English and American Language and Literature, with specialisms in Shakespeare, Victorian Literature, Contemporary Literature, Academic English, University Applications and Job Applications. I am also an education consultant who specialises in helping students with applications to British and American universities. As a graduate of both Cambridge and UCL — and a current PhD student at Cambridge, where I teach undergraduate English and postgraduate Creative Writing — I am highly qualified to help students succeed in all stages of their university applications. Finally, I am available for Creative Writing tuition, and for assistance in completing submissions to literary agencies, editors and literary magazines.
I have extensive experience of working with students facing particular challenges. I have taught and mentored numerous students with Dyslexia, students in treatment for eating disorders, students on the Autism Spectrum, students with Visual and Hearing Impairments, and students dealing with a variety other health-related difficulties, such as Multiple Sclerosis and Cystic Fibrosis. I am a warm, friendly and empathetic educator, and I am committed to helping students build confidence in themselves, despite any obstacles they may face. As someone who overcame an eating disorder myself, as a teenager, and went on to study at Cambridge — having secured straight As at A-Level and As at GCSE — I hope that I can prove to my students that they can achieve their dreams, as I did.
Please find below a snapshot of my tuition experience.
Homeschooling (aged 7)
I recently tutored a seven-year-old native Mandarin speaker, who was very intelligent but had only recently moved to the UK and therefore needed an extra boost to find confidence in written and spoken English. I supported him with lots of reading, writing and conversation practice, challenging him with books that expanded his vocabulary. He now speaks and writes completely fluently (in fact, he rarely stops speaking), and he is very happy at the leading independent school in his borough.
11+ English, Maths and Reasoning
I recently prepared a student for the 11+ who was very nervous about moving from a state primary school, where she had thrived at sports and drama, to an independent secondary. She targeted James Allen’s Girls’ School and was successful. I helped her to focus and structure her written responses, and to learn to infuse her creative writing with her bubbly, charming spirit. She is now thriving at JAGS.
11+ English, Maths and Reasoning
Another recent primary school student of mine was targeting St Paul’s Girls’ School, but had begun to struggle with concentration during the pandemic. I worked with her in a very structured way for several months, helping her to increase her attention span and reduce her anxiety, and she is now settling in happily at St Paul’s. The key here was to be very warm and encouraging, while also challenging her to fulfil her potential.
11+ English, Maths and Reasoning
Preparing two brothers for their entrance exams: the elder to Eton and the younger to the Perse School, in Cambridge. Both boys were exceptionally able students, but both had grown up overseas, speaking Mandarin at home, and therefore lacked confidence in English. I tutored them intensively for a year, with a focus on interview techniques and vocabulary, and both were awarded places at their chosen schools.
Homeschooling GCSE English Literature and Language
Working with a fifteen-year-old student who had been taken out of her boarding school while she struggled with anorexia, and who had just spent several months in a rehabilitation centre. Over the year that I taught her English Language and Literature, she made great strides towards conquering her eating disorder and did brilliantly in her GCSEs, achieving a 9 in Literature and an 8 in Language. She wrote to me the following summer from a work experience programme in New York, telling me how much happier she felt, and how much I had helped her by sharing my own experience of overcoming anorexia.
GCSE English Literature, SEN
Teaching GCSE English Literature to a young man with severe Dyslexia and poor Working Memory. He was predicted a target of Grade 5 by his school, based on his past achievements and mock results. However, I provided him with learning, memorisation and writing strategies specifically tailored to his educational needs, and he achieved a Grade 8 in his GCSE English examinations.
GCSE English Language and Literature
Teaching GCSE English Language and Literature to a student for whom English was a second language. Although he was very bright, and felt confident in Mathematics- and Science-based subjects, he struggled with extended writing. I designed a programme for him centred around Creative Writing, confidence-building exercises, and conversation in English, and he achieved a Grade 9 in his GCSE English examinations.
Another recent student of mine, now in Year 10, struggled with an eating disorder. She felt lonely and demotivated in her studies, and had a tendency to “give up”. I deconstructed the GCSE English syllabus for her, and took her through it again bit by bit, one small and cumulative step at a time. I also supported and encouraged her on her path to overcome her eating disorder. She is now on track to achieve a Grade 9 at GCSE.
A Level English Literature
I was working with an A-Level student who was having a very difficult time with bullying at school, and therefore felt unable to participate, ask questions, and engage fully in his classes—leading to his underachievement. I worked with him to rigorously analyse the syllabus and build his confidence, and he achieved a Grade A in a recent mock, despite only being in Year 12. I also helped him to submit to a national poetry prize, which he won.
A Level English Language
Another recent A-Level student felt able to articulate her ideas vocally, but struggled to write essays: she was terrified by empty pages. We began by recording her spoken responses to essay questions, which we transcribed; we then progressed to visual essay plans; and finally, we tackled essay structure. This student now writes without hesitation, and is on track to achieve a Grade A* in her A-Level examinations.
Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)
I am also an experienced teacher of the generic admissions test used during the application process to some degree courses at Oxford, Cambridge and UCL. I specialise in Section 1, a multiple-choice, reading-based exam that asks students to read critically, and to discern the assumptions, arguments and biases underlying short texts—essentially, to ‘read between the lines’. As a writer and interdisciplinary scholar myself, I am also a confident tutor of Section 2, which tests students’ essay writing skills and ability to organise ideas clearly and concisely.
My past experience includes:
– 2006 to present – Tutor of English Language, English Literature and Creative Writing in London and New York.
– 2014 to 2019 – Teacher of English Language, Teacher of English Literature, Head of Creative Writing and Form Tutor at an “Outstanding” Academy in East London.
– 2014 – Teaching Assistant at an “Outstanding” Academy in East London.
– 2013 – Volunteer Teacher of French and Creative Writing at the Brooklyn Public Library.
– 2013 – Volunteer Teacher of English for the Doe Fund.
Hobbies and Interests
My hobbies and interests include: writing fiction and non-fiction, dancing classical ballet and flamenco, going to the theatre and the opera, skiing, sailing, horse-riding, visiting museums and art galleries, travelling to new places, learning new languages, and organising writing workshops and discussion groups.
I am British-American, but I speak fluent French, as I grew up in Paris. I also speak excellent Spanish, and am deeply interested in Spanish culture and history. I have started to learn British Sign Language, and have secured my Level 1 diploma.
“I’ve known Nina since May 2013, and can testify to her intelligence, precision and dedication, her excellent communication skills, her natural teaching abilities, and her in-depth knowledge of linguistics in general and of the French language in particular. Her course was beautifully planned in advance, taking us from basic pronunciation to conversations in the present tense in the space of a few months, but also allowed for adaptation to different students’ diverse levels, interests and areas of focus—an important dimension given that group sizes would range from ten to twenty-five students, and would be comprised of different people depending on their work schedules and other commitments. Considerable and increasing numbers of Francophiles began returning every week, however, myself included: a testament to how helpful and fun it was to take Nina’s classes! I have especially fond memories of the day when she taught us the lyrics to Édith Piaf’s ‘La vie en rose’; she broke them down, explaining unfamiliar vocabulary, tracing grammatical structures and testing us on conjugation, before encouraging the whole class—men and women of every age and background—to sing the song together, along with her. We learned so much that day (as ever), and had a wonderful time.” – Judy, a student from my position teaching an open-level French course at the Brooklyn Public Library.
“I am delighted to recommend Nina for a teaching position with you. I attended Nina’s Beginners’ French classes at the Brooklyn Public Library, and enjoyed every moment of them. Nina is bright, kind and reliable, and has an excellent sense of humour. She made every member of her large classes feel included, remembering our names, backgrounds and strong and weak points. She was always well-prepared for class, but was also willing to adjust her lesson plans to cater to different students’ specific needs and requests. She was patient with those who worked at a slower pace, while making sure that her more advanced students continued to feel engaged with the material. The ways in which she chose to present this material were clear and absorbing. Nina devised her entire course herself, incorporating many aspects of the Parisian culture she grew up in (song lyrics, movie clips, extracts from books and poems, &c.) in her introduction to the French language. This really helped me to understand how to apply my new skills to real-world contexts, and was a great way of getting me to retain difficult words and phrases. Nina also encouraged each of us to speak about our own cultural and linguistic background—in French, of course—which allowed us to get to know each other, and to learn interesting things about unfamiliar languages and countries: for instance, how to mime that someone is drunk in Belorussia, or how to welcome someone to your home in Spanish.” – Jeremy, a student from my position teaching an open-level French course at the Brooklyn Public Library.