Sarah B

'A huge thank you for all the work you have done with E. over the last almost two years. Your hard work, enormous patience and encouragement made all the difference. We so appreciated you slogging out to H. every week, come rain or shine, and helping her to achieve at AS and A, she couldn't have done it without you.'

A Level Philosophy Tuition

  • English Language

  • English Literature

  • Philosophy

  • Religious Studies

  • Theology

Academic History

Pembroke College, Cambridge: MA 2:1 in Philosophy (2006).

A-Levels: English Literature (A), Music (B), Latin (B); GCSEs: 10 at A*-A.

About Me

I’ve been tutoring full-time now for nearly ten years. My specialist subjects are Religious Studies, Philosophy and English Literature. I’ve tutored all major exam boards at both A-Level and GCSE. Over the past three or four years I have moved more into home schooling, where I’ve enjoyed working with children who have a variety of different educational needs, including ADD, autism and dyslexia. I much prefer longer-term positions, though pick up a number of pupils for A-Level and GCSE revision in RS each Easter or for weekly support from school.

I’m a teacher at Civitas Supplementary Schools, a primary programme that introduces state school pupils to classic literature, rigorous grammar teaching and a hopefully demanding intellectual atmosphere using more ‘traditional’ teaching methods. I work with around 80 children each week in classes of no more than 10, following them from Y3 through to Y6. I plan each lesson, regularly test the children and write termly reports to parents.

I have also been invited to become the project’s Educational Advisor, being responsible for the overall educational direction of the project (500 children and around 20 teachers), providing guidance on teaching methods and content and inducting teachers. I teach at and help to run the Summer School most years; previous themes have included Magna Carta, the Greeks and Roman London.

Other than this, I work sometimes as a freelance academic editor in the social sciences, mainly on PhDs, journal articles and occasional book manuscripts.

Recent Tuition

I have worked with students from schools including: Dulwich Boys, Oundle, Highgate, Wellington College, Rugby, Whitgift, Ampleforth, Stowe, King’s School Canterbury, Latymer Upper, Tiffin and Esher College among others. At 11+ I have helped students prepare for: Dulwich Boys, Harrow, St. Paul’s, King’s, Hampton, Eton, etc.

Home schooling

Maths and English, Y3, Aliya: providing home schooling in Maths and English for this lovely little girl who had missed schooling in Y2 due to travel. I was responsible for all areas of the Maths teaching and shared English teaching with another tutor. In particular, we worked on areas such as times tables, place-value, handwriting, reading and then moving onto problem solving and comprehension. I have then supported her for six hours weekly for seven months, alongside providing broader exposure to literature and culture and a trip to the National Gallery with a friend.

Tallulah, English Literature and Language IGCSE: currently working with this ADHD-diagnosed student who requested home schooling herself to re-engage her with English and gently prepare for the GCSE exams in 2020.

Freya, English Language GCSE (B): Freya had dyslexia, I worked with her each week to prepare her for the IGCSE in English Language in one year, she worked hard and was thrilled with her B. Freya found the writing part of the Language GCSE difficult due to her underlying difficulties with spelling and grammar, so we spent time on spelling strategies and remedial grammar – including revising a range of different sentence structures and strategies. We also spent a lot of time reading and re-reading a wide range texts so she because more confident and fluent in this area – most especially with language analysis, which was often a struggle.Haani, Religious Studies A-Level (A): I worked with this high-functioning ASD student out of school to cover the whole (new) Edexcel syllabus in under two terms ahead of his exam; Haani received two A* and one B.

GCSE Religious Studies (OCR), B.: B. has dropped out of school due to learning difficulties and is currently undergoing a programme of home schooling. I am her GCSE teacher and am covering Christianity 1/Islam 1/Mark and Luke’s Gospels. While B. can only focus for short bursts of time and finds recall and revision difficult, she is really engaged with the subject and has lots of views and opinions that she wants to explore. We use lots of clips and different exercises in the session to keep her focused and are working together to ensure she does as well as possible in her exams at the end of the year.

GCSE Religious Studies (OCR), X, Due to behaviour problems that became acute among lots of people and changes to routine, this child had been expelled from school and was being home-schooled while a more appropriate school was sought. I was his GCSE teacher for several months to this high-functioning and lovely student, where we worked through initial modules from the course. His understanding developed nicely, while his aptitude for facts was fantastic and we had in-depth discussions on discrimination and human rights.

A-Level Tuition

Ben, A2 AQA Philosophy (new syllabus): a capable student at AS, Ben has fallen prey to exam anxiety and struggles with the A02 part of his course and the demands of A2 essay writing. I work with him once weekly on the tougher A2 topics and Ethics AS revision for re-sit.

Alec, AS AQA Philosophy (new syllabus): I work with Alec once per week to help prepare for the 9 and 15 marker in the exam, for both halves of the syllabus (Epistemology, Religion). We have revised most areas of Epistemology.

Osh, AS AQA Philosophy (new syllabus): I have been working with Osh one per week via Skype since he started at sixth form. I give him support wherever he is struggling or wants to revise things from school; in particular, we are currently working on Gettier cases and modal versions of the ontological argument.

AS and A2 Philosophy (AQA), Elspeth: I supported Elspeth with a two-hour session each week as she moved from the private sector into a local sixth form. Initially disengaged with the subject and wanting to drop it after AS-Level, she gradually found her feet and started really enjoying our sessions together, which she initially found demanding. She saw her hard work pay off with an ‘A’ at AS and decided to keep on to A2, where we spent many happy sessions reading through Mill’s On Liberty and discussing political philosophy together. She was particularly interested in the differences between philosophy and sociology, and I helped with her personal statement and suggesting background reading. She came through again at A2 with an ‘A’ grade and A* in Unit 3 (well done!), allowing her to meet her grade offer to study Sociology at her first choice, Bristol University.

AS and A2 Religious Studies (OCR), Roxanna: I worked with Roxanna initially in holidays home from music college for her AS, focusing on essay-writing in particular. She was a motivated student with limited time to study due to her music commitments. She scored 100/100 in her philosophy exam and I was invited back to work with her at A2, where she received 96/100 in Ethics, after some real hard work on meta-ethics. She was pleased to say Philosophy was her ‘fall back’ career after gaining scholarships to study oboe at top music colleges and it was lovely to see her really mature and become confident in the subject.

AS and A2 Philosophy (AQA), David: David was a sensitive student studying at a top South London Independent School who had fallen down in his AS exam, gaining a ‘D’ and then ‘E’ grade at re-sit. I worked with him intensively for 4-8 hours each week for five months, re-teaching the entire AS syllabus, and was asked to stay on re-teaching him all of A2 ‘Philosophy of Mind’ and Plato’s Republic. Despite lacking confidence and being particularly reluctant to write essays, he gradually grew in ability and reported explaining difficult concepts to classmates at school (he had spent several weeks getting his head around this one and nailed it). His awareness of Philosophy as an academic subject really grew over the time and he showed great interest in what it might be like to study further and even began to break away from his teacher’s positions at school. He achieved a high ‘B’ overall and was considering studying Philosophy at University after his gap year.

AS Religious Studies (OCR), Jessie: I tutored Jessie via Skype over a six-month period to support her for an independent re-sit from her (state) sixth form college. She had received a D in her initial exam and was struggling particularly with the Philosophy parts of the syllabus. Focusing especially on concepts and written expression, with her sending me practice essays t in the post, she received an A at re-sit and used what she’d learned to go onto get a good B overall at A2. After much self-application, she was a considerably more independent and diligent scholar by the end of our sessions, taking her confidence into her other A-Levels.

AS and A2 Religious Studies (Edexcel), Ella: in most holidays back from her boarding school, I worked with Ella – a considerably driven student – to help prepare for AS and A2 exams. She was particularly puzzled by the ontological argument and the set-text on AJ Ayer, which she put considerable work into understanding. She achieved ‘A’s both years.

AS and A-Level, Religious Studies (Edexcel), Stefan: Stefan was a foreign student who had done well with the Bible study aspects of his course but was struggling with the philosophy component. We had several 3-4 hours sessions to revise the philosophy syllabus, including preparation for an AS re-sit, working at A2 on religious language, the ontological argument and then the ‘I am’ sayings of Jesus in the NT.

A2 A-Level, Religious Studies (OCR), JL: I had three intensive ‘cramming’ sessions with this hugely ambitious student to help fill in some ‘holes’ she claimed to have before the exam. In reality, she had been studying extension material and wanted to make sure she’d understood the original passages from Boethius correctly – which of course, she had. This was a whirlwind of a job and hugely fulfilling for hopefully both of us.

IB Philosophy, Olga: Olga switched to Philosophy over a third of the way through the course at school, so had understandably lacked some grounding in the course. We worked together for ten hours over her half-term to help prepare her for an exam the following week, going over the topics of ‘what does it mean to be a human being?’, religion and philosophy of mind in some detail. She really grew and developed from the sessions, and would often come ready armed with questions the following day. I went back to help her develop ideas for A2 coursework, where she remained as engaged and inquisitive as ever.

A2 A Level Religious Studies: Sacha did not have a dyslexia diagnosis  but found reading and essay-writing a real struggle and had particular problems with spelling. We spent a lot of our lesson time reading and re-reading the textbook in manageable chunks to help give her models for correct sentence structure, which she then practised using in her own writing – which improved dramatically.

Pre- U Theology: I worked with Amalia ahead of her A-Level exams, she found it difficult to organise her ideas and structure her essays due to a visual-spatial processing problem. We spent considerable time mapping out the various topics on the course in a logical way, devising essay plans and practising essay-writing.

Alex, A-Level English Literature: I am working with Alex to help lift her grades up from Us and Es to where she could be given her GCSE results in English. She is studying poetry, comparative literature (‘Never let me go’/’Frankenstein’) and Streetcar as her play.

A-Level English Literature, Reuben: Reuben was focused on his History and Economics A-Levels but had fallen behind in English, needing to update his understanding and technical vocabulary from GCSE. We worked to structure and improve his coursework, and spent much time on Yeats poetry and his set text, The Picture of Dorian Grey. Reuben tended to panic in an exam situation and found literature questions too open-ended. We devised a blanket essay plan and practised including ‘context’, ‘form’ and ‘structure’ sessions, alongside working through how to embed and analyse quotations in an essay format. He really applied himself over the sessions and fully deserved to receive his 187/200 overall in his exams.

AS and A2 English Literature, Natasha: Natasha needed help to structure and develop her Shakespeare coursework, before moving onto examine the importance of form, rhythm and rhyme in ‘work’ themed poetry. We did some reading around her set text, Forster’s Howard’s End, to deepen Natasha’s essays in their understanding of narrative, structure and context in the novel. We worked on developing her essays to be consistently in the high A range, since she had mainly been receiving Bs, and on really stretching her ability to analyse and interpret poetry. She brought this all together in regular practice efforts and received an A at AS. I went back to work with Natasha at A2, since she claimed she had ‘fallen asleep’ (!) during her school lessons on WWII poetry and was receiving D/Cs in essays. We spent intensive sessions analysing the poems together and building up writing comparative essays to prepare for the comprehensive essay in the exam. After walking out of the mock in a panic, she worked incredibly hard to receive an A* in this module in the final exam.

AS English Literature, Charles: due to teacher illness at his school, I worked with Charles when home for the holiday on his comparative coursework essay. We finished reading his set text and spent time discussing the significance of narrative approach and structure, before going onto to develop his thesis for the essay. Despite a sudden illness of his own, Charles spent a lot of time tightening up his comparative paragraphs and bringing together a good second draft to take back to school.

A-Level English Literature, Kaz: in the run-up to the exam, I worked with Kaz to prepare poetry on ‘land’ from the Edexcel anthology. In particular, she was unsure of some of the technical terminology and was worried about the unseen. Having read the poems out aloud, she became much more confident in tackling them and we also worked through previous unseens and other poems I brought in to help increase her confidence. She particularly found writing fast enough under timed conditions taxing but did really well to achieve a high B overall.

AS English Literature, Victoria: I worked with Victoria over around 10 lessons to help her analyse and write about contemporary poetry. Victoria’s understanding and ideas were good but she was struggling to make the leap from GCSE in terms of running together analysis and interpretation to make a strong argument. She always had a lot to say about each poem and we worked to help her build up a comprehensive reading and stack of points for each one.

AS English Literature: I worked with one student who had been let down at school by a poorly teacher; I provided support for his comparative coursework essay, picking up analysing both texts and thinking about the difference between the forms of a novel and a play.

GCSE Tuition

GCSE Religious Studies (OCR), school teacher: I taught this syllabus as the sole teacher to groups of 10-12 children after school, as an extra GCSE, at a South London state school. Pupils studied either Christianity or Islam and we had some excellent classroom debates about different concepts of human nature and also animal rights – the children showed admirable maturity and sensitivity for their age, while working hard to do extra study and exam practice in their own time. Some would come to the lesson to get the work set, while then going to extra revision in another subject. Others wanted to take the subject at A-level and had been worried due to the school not offering RS at GCSE. The head teacher was happy that their work paid off with a 75% A-C pass-rate and asked me to come back the following year.

GCSE Religious Studies (OCR), Jackson: I worked with Jackson once a week over several months to help lift his grades in practice exams at school. While his understanding was good, Jackson struggled with the parts (d) and (e) of each question and was unclear on some of the material needed to access higher grades. We had some great discussions on most areas of the syllabus, read relevant passages from the Bible together and his mock exam grades began to lift to Bs and sometimes As. I felt he really raised his game during the tuition.

GCSE English and Maths, I worked with Charlotte for just over four months to help motivate her for her final examinations and to work through exam technique and essay-writing. Charlotte much preferred Maths to English and hated poetry, so we spent much time becoming familiarised with her set poems, reading them out loud and discussing various features of poetry.

GCSE Latin/History/Religious Studies GCSE, half-term tuition when at home from a residential independent school in Oxford. Ben had particular problems remembering key information and translations since he had no visual memory. We worked together for three hours each day from a white board to help him learn some of his Latin translations by heart, revising the topic of Nazi Germany and then going through the modules covered in Religious Studies. Despite the obvious frustration he was experiencing, he worked hard at memorising his translations and had made considerable progress towards the end of the week, helping to prepare him for the next term at school.

GCSE Double English, half-term revision for a boy home from school. We worked through a number of past exams to help with essay technique, analysis and poetic form.

English, Y7-9, North London Secondary School: I was one of a group of tutors providing catch-up (‘booster’) sessions for groups of up to five children in English for a one-hour lesson each week over the course of nearly a year. I worked mainly with Y9s to brush up their analysis and writing skills, with children in general making progress on their termly tests due to participating in the tuition programme.

GCSE Latin – I helped a student over the holidays who had no visual memory to help memorise his Latin prose and poetry texts. This involved revising the translations of the texts line-by-line, including knotty areas.

Y8/9 Latin – I worked with a boy who was struggling with Latin grammar and syntax for several months to prepare him for a mandatory school test. We revised both English and Latin grammar in particular, with a focus on how to build up sentences differently in both languages. Our work involved regularly vocabulary and translation tests. We worked from the Cambridge Latin Course Books 1 and 2.

Entrance examinations & below age 11

11+ English and Maths, Kyrollos: I worked with Kyrollos for two one-hour sessions each week after (state) school over a year period to improve his all-round Maths and English skills. He worked considerably hard to master skills from the Y5 curriculum (Level 3-4) before moving onto Y6 and extension topics (Levels 5-6). We looked especially to broaden his reading with books on Ancient Greek myths and poetry. We also worked through Verbal and Non-Verbal reasoning skills to improve his ability to reason and use logic effectively. His school teacher was pleased with his progress and had asked whether he’d had a tutor. He received offers for The Oratory and Cardinal Vaughan secondary schools and Level 5s in his SATs: excellent work.

11+ English and Maths, Kamran: I devised an intensive one-week revision course for Kamran’s Maths from Y4. We worked together for four hours each day through a whole range of topics from times tables and mental arithmetic to area and perimeter, graphs, word questions and so on. I then worked with Kamran for 1h30 each week for a year, mostly focusing on comprehension and free composition. Despite finding reading difficult, I discovered that Kamran really enjoys writing short descriptive poems on things like seasons and the weather, which has really boosted his vocabulary and developed his imagination.

11+ English: I worked with George over the Summer holiday with a number of 1h30 sessions. Our main aim was to work on his comprehension and verbal reasoning, using the Bond Books. I also devised a comprehensive course to work on George’s grammar, where he was becoming particularly confused, and we chose to read Hemmingway’s The old man and the sea together as a way into English Literature in a more canonical way and more challenging comprehensions. He was successful at Harrow pre-tests.

11+ English and Maths: I worked with Alex over a three-month period to prepare him specifically for examinations in both Maths and English outside of his (state) school. He was not familiar with many of the different question formats, while needing help with grammar, spelling and written composition. Alex passed the 11+ successfully and was in the top 15% of boys in his Dulwich Boys exam.

Maths Support, 10 years: I worked with Amy for ten months overall, bringing her Maths up to speed from a 3c to a 5b (National Curriculum Levels). We worked through core Maths skills before working through all areas of the subject required by the ISEB specification. She made amazing progress over this time and moved up groups at her (state) school, being much more confident and capable in Maths.

Maths support, 8 years: I worked with Finn over two separate Summer holidays to keep his Maths up to speed, teaching him his 12 times tables by jumping up and down his garden steps and introducing him to the concept of an average through cricket. Finn was particularly sporty and active but had struggled with Maths and school and lost confidence. His parents wanted him to enjoy the sessions and feel they were fun, but also to learn in a low-key way. He really enjoyed playing games together, and especially trying to defeat his nemesis, ‘Dr. Maths’.

Rio – UKiset – I worked with Rio to help him with all aspects of the UKiset inlcuding Maths, English, Verbal and Non-Verbal reasoning.

Group tuition

Maths and English teacher, supplementary schools project run by the Westminster think thank Civitas

Teaching groups of five to ten primary school pupils, weekly, along traditional lines, 14 hours each week for the past six years. The role involves planning lessons across the year, teaching from a white board, setting and marking homework to a high standard. From September-December 2014, I covered the role of Educational Adviser, overseeing lesson content across over 30 schools and training and monitoring new teachers.

Civitas – I work 12 hours each week to provide remedial English teaching to classes of 10 primary school children. Many of these pupils have fallen behind for a range of reasons, including learning difficulties such as dyslexia or simply being slower than their peers to pick up basic skills in English. Civitas Schools specialises in phonics for both reading and spelling, a method normally favoured by dyslexia specialists for helping dyslexic pupils to read and spell. The project places a premium on introducing children to classic literature and helping them to write clear grammatical sentences and to read and spell properly. As such, I regularly work with children to help them overcome problems they face with reading, spelling, writing and comprehension. Children receiving weekly phonics-based spelling lists, revise spelling rules and strategies, and learn grammar in a structured way that helps them to develop independence across a range of sentence structures. I have adopted quite a lot of my lessons from Civitas for GCSE English to help pupils become more confident and fluent in their language analysis, punctuation and ability to structure a piece of writing. I regularly introduce Latin word banks with English derivations, plus Latinate prefixes and suffixes in my primary English lessons, including studying comprehension texts set in the Roman world and Roman Britain.

Hobbies and Interests

I read privately around literature, religion and public life and follow the TLS and London Review of Books. My personal interests include Dostoevsky and Camus (in translation!), early music and swimming.

Client Testimonials

AS/A2 Theology, residential: ‘Sarah is an extremely competent Tutor who is quietly determined and diligent.  She came to stay with us and was very easy to have around.  I recommend her to anyone looking for Tutoring in her subjects.’

A-Level Philosophy: ‘A huge thank you for all the work you have done with E. over the last almost two years. Your hard work, enormous patience and encouragement made all the difference. We so appreciated you slogging out to H. every week, come rain or shine, and helping her to achieve at AS and A, she couldn’t have done it without you.’

AS Level Philosophy: ‘Sarah, huge thank you. R. is delighted, as are we. We’ll be in touch shortly for the A level!’ – having achieved an ‘A’ at AS-Level Philosophy (Edexcel).

IB Philosophy: ‘Thank you very much for your help; had it not been for your help, I would probably not have obtained the grade that I got.’

AS Level Religious Studies: ‘I was SO THRILLED with her Philosophy result; it was beyond my wildest dreams! Thank you so very, very much for your input and your expertise and for working so well with her.’

AS Philosophy: ‘She found your teaching methods so helpful.’

AS Level Literature: ‘Thank you for all your help, my dad was very pleased with all of my grades!’

AS Literature: ‘He did very well….thank you for all your help and support.’ – on her son dropping only 13 marks in the exam.

‘You’re the best tutor I’ve ever had.’ – Pablo, a mature student (and Spanish tutor) who achieved a high A grade in A-Level Literature, allowing him to go onto study at the LSE.

GCSE English and Maths: ‘Thank you for all the help. It did pay of in the end.’

11+: ‘He did very well in his Dulwich College exam.. he was in the top 15% of boys.’

Maths, primary: ‘Sarah has only been with us for a week and so far she has been excellent, my son really likes her and we are starting to see the benefits already.’

Latin, Y8: ‘Sarah has already really helped my son feel more confident about Latin. She is friendly, patient and explains concepts he had previously struggled with clearly. I would definitely recommend her.’

Beginners’ Latin: ‘Sarah’s style of teaching was informative and varied. She divided the teaching into different parts to make it easier to manage and also more fun and interesting. She used techniques in order to make the language easier to remember. All in all a very good teacher.’

  • Home schooling Experience

  • Multidisciplinary

  • SEN Experience

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