"Both my children are really enjoying their sessions with Sarah. They are learning through fun, creativity and games often without realising that this is what they are doing. Their confidence with language, storytelling and expressing themselves in a variety of ways is increasing, and they see the work as 'fun'!"
Parent of 5 and 8 year old students
2021-22 Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Therapeutic Arts (IATE)
2021 Level 3 Certificate in Mentoring (Mentoring Young People in the Community)
2012-13 Hertfordshire University Postgraduate Diploma Art Therapy
2002-6 Cambridge University, Pembroke College BA Social Anthropology (2:1)
1998-2001 St. Paul’s Girls’ School, A Levels: History (A), French (A), Art (A)
GCSEs: English Language (A*), English Literature (A*), Maths (A*), History (A*), French (A*), Spanish (A*), Dual Science Award (A*, A*) Latin (A*), Religious Studies (A*)
St. Paul’s Certificate: Art (Distinction)
I am a writer, art facilitator and tutor and, since late 2018, I have also been a mother.
I have worked extensively in the education system and with mental health and the arts. I spent many years working with primary school aged children, specialising in working with highly sensitive and neurodivergent children struggling with the emotional and structural/formal aspects of school education. I teach literacy/creative writing, and come at it from a very creative angle, using art and creativity to help your child feel invested and motivated.
As a neurodivergent writer and creative myself, I am sensitive to the particular challenges and gifts that high sensitivity and neurodivergence bring. I recognise the need to find the right way in to learning for your child and that that may not always be the one provided in school. I am passionate about play and creativity as building blocks for learning for all children and see this as particularly important with sensitive children who tend to be highly creative and right-brained! I have also had a great deal of experience working with children who, because they may think, or learn, differently, have lost confidence in themselves and their abilities, and I see the restoration of confidence, through the one-to-one relationship, as key to re-establishing a strong foundation for learning.
Previously, I worked in primary schools for three years as a teaching assistant, I have a post graduate diploma in applied therapeutic arts and a level 3 qualification in youth mentoring. I also run art groups for wellbeing for adults.
Working with a little boy on the spectrum – very bright, but struggling with learning and writing as well as many emotional and behavioural challenges. Finding an alternative way into practising his writing using games and drawing to help him feel invested in the story making and writing process. Working with his Autism, rather than pushing against it. Reframing learning as play, not just hard work/punishing as he had come to view it.
KS1 Literacy and Maths
E has Dyslexia and struggles with reading and writing. I gave her the one-to-one support she was not able to receive in the classroom context, finding alternative ways of helping Evie to learn, and repeating and consolidating topics until she felt secure with them. I spent a lot of time building her confidence, and it was also important to give her a space where she could learn at her own pace.
KS1 Literacy and Maths
M was struggling with concentration and with following instructions. By slowing her down – making her read everything out loud to me as she worked, I encouraged her to focus and to think about what she was doing. Because she was young, creative and curious, it was also important to maintain her energy and enthusiasm, so we balanced slowness and thoroughness with creativity. We always finished with drawing, which encouraged her to see the sessions as “fun”.
Literacy, Maths and Reasoning: 7+ preparation
I worked with N to improve her vocabulary and creative writing skills in preparation for the 7+ entrance exams. We consolidated her knowledge in Maths, which was already strong, and we worked through Reasoning problems, reinforcing her skills in logic, in comprehension and encouraging her to take the time to work through questions slowly.
Literacy with siblings (aged 8 & 5 years old)
Working with a little boy who had been set back by glue ear and consequent confidence issues. Working with his interests each week. He loved comics, so we created our own comic books. Writing and story telling was integrated into the comic book which he was very invested in. We spent time on spellings each week, but these emerged from his book and was part of creating a finished product he could be proud of. Lots of drawing involved here too. We also worked on an emotional level – with him learning that being positive and invested in his learning allowed me to give him the opportunity to do things that excited him.
Also working with his sister, aged 5. She was very sensitive and had become terrified of making mistakes. As a result she was terrified to write anything at all and her ability to learn had become totally blocked. We created picture books with her own drawings and stories and only a couple of sentences per page, always very guided. I created a safe space where I encouraged her to try things and make mistakes. She started to become excited about the work.
KS1 and 2 Maths and Literacy
J has Atypical Autism and is very bright, but struggles to focus on things that he is not passionate about. I focused on finding alternative ways to help him access challenging subjects and tasks and integrated what he was already interested in with what he was less interested in.
KS2 Literacy and Maths
Working with R to improve her levels in Literacy and Maths. Rachel was an EFL student, and we focused on improving her grammar, her vocabulary and her confidence in creative writing and with her own ideas. At the end of the first year, she had won her school’s Creative Writing Prize. In Maths, in which she was very quick, but not always engaging fully with the questions, we worked on taking more time to consider what she was being asked, enabling her to gain easy marks.
R (aged 9) was being home-schooled after difficulties at school. I worked with him on art projects to encourage play and self-expression and to build confidence. These sessions were like art lessons, but they were led by him, in that he chose the project and I supported him in realising his ideas from week to week, also bringing materials. The process also helped build confidence after some challenging times.
L (aged 5) was about to transition into school, and her parents wanted her to feel supported over that period. She is also very creative, and so I was employed as a Creative Mentor to give her a safe space to make art and enjoy a safe, containing relationship that was “just for her”. My work is always child-led, and she decided on the project with some guidance from me, while I facilitated its realisation. She has since told me that she has kept the project and remembers our time together very clearly. We created an underwater garden/home for mermaids. The sessions were a space for her to express her unique creativity and to gain confidence in her own creative abilities and ideas.
Hobbies and Interests
My hobbies are reading, yoga, outdoor swimming and film.
“Sarah used a very creative and engaging approach to stimulate and keep up the interest of my son, H. She came once a week for an hour, and he was always looked forward to that time. He definitely made a lot of progress with her help.”
Parent of KS1 student
“We contacted Sarah, because, while my son age 8 is getting along fine at school, he suffered from glue ear for a couple of years and it had a huge impact in his school on his confidence. My daughter age 5 struggles with reading and spelling, but loves art, and I wanted her to work with someone who could help her overcome her fears and blocks in a more creative way. Both my children are really enjoying their sessions with Sarah. They are learning through fun, creativity and games often without realising that this is what they are doing. Their confidence with language, storytelling and expressing themselves in a variety of ways is increasing, and they see the work as ‘fun’!
Since my children have started with Sarah, my son’s confidence has improved. He is putting his reluctance to get involved to one side as he now wants to express himself and show others what he can do. His school teacher has said that he is putting his hand up in class to answer questions, something unheard of, for him, a few months ago. My daughter loves art even more and is confident to speak about her creations and plan the next project. She is writing lists and making books to write her stories in which is a huge step in the right direction for her.”
Parent of 5 and 8 year old
“I cannot recommend Sarah enough. She supported my autistic, ADHD, awesome son who is 9 at the height of a lot of uncertainties. She worked with us from October 2020-April 2021.
Through play, dialogue and creativity she pulled R out slowly, but not in an ‘I’m a superwoman I’ve come to save you’ manner. She gave R the space to see within himself, she didn’t impede on his innate abilities but encouraged him to delve further into his ability and see positivity even if the end goal was unknown. She is gentle yet commands a quiet confidence that allowed R to feel secure but also gave him the confidence to explore and question. No two sessions where exactly the same and it was indeed a very child centred approach. After sessions, she will spend time talking over how things could be improved, constantly recalibrating her approach and thoughts in order to meet R’s needs.
R is a very intelligent boy who now sees Sarah as part of his story, she ignited skills and challenged some of his rigidity, allowing him to see his creations as a narrative or a starting point to the future. The one of pieces created have fed into R’s sense of authenticity in his differences and difficulties; he now wears all with pride. I’m grateful and feel privilege to have had her support us especially in such an uncertain time.”
Parent of student I worked as a creative mentor with