“We needed someone who could help Will in a short of period of time and would really focus on essay structure. With his [Sean’s] focus on essay practice Will pushed his grade up from a C to an A – we are so grateful for all of Sean’s hard work!”
Brian, A Level History Tuition
History of Art
Senior School Entrance
After studying for my A Levels in one a one-year period and achieving an A grade in every module I moved to Bristol to study Philosophy at the University of Bristol and then to London to complete my AHRC-supported MA in Analytic Philosophy and Linguistics. Since completing my MA I have worked as a private and public teacher, writer, broadcaster, director and musician in London. I regularly make radio programs for the Arts Council-supported radio station Resonance 104.4 FM and write for international publications including the New Statesman. I also work in the theatre and regularly engage in projects with the Olivier award-winning theatre company, Opera Up Close as well as having been supported by the Arts Council to work on several individual productions. Having recently graduated from the prestigious Paris-based Ecole Philipe Gaulier, I am currently working on several theatre shows in London as well as managing my own start-up business merging tuition and theatre education. In addition to this I am training in child psychotherapy and teaching and mentoring numerous private clients.
I have been providing private tuition since 2008 and have worked with a wide range of students, from the ages of 5-89! I pride myself on helping students and parents reach their educational goals. Recent successes include my students gaining entry to prestigious schools including Colet Court, Westminster, Eton, Charterhouse, achieving A* grades in History, Philosophy and Psychology and helping my BA and MA students gaining firsts in the History of Art and Philosophy. My specialist subjects are in the Humanities and 7+, 8+, 11+ and 13+ school admissions, including tuition in core subject areas. I also regularly teach Psychology, Politics, music, English, History, Philosophy, Maths, Science and SEN subjects among other topics at GCSE, A-Level and IB. I also have experience as an A-Level specialist marker in history and psychology for OCR and as an educational consultant specialising in assessing children from the age 7+ to 13+ in the core areas of mathematics, reasoning and English as well as SEN difficulties.
I believe my strengths as a tutor lay in several areas, some of which are:
1) A wide knowledge and skill base to deal with various subjects and syllabi as well as specific tutor needs including GCSE, A-Level and Undergraduate as well as SEN experience.
2) Working on combining required course content with the practical skills which are necessary to show a student knows that content, e.g. learning not just the required information to pass a History GCSE exam but also the key essay and writing skills which a student is required to use to demonstrate that knowledge.
3) Creating a safe, receptive and creative environment with my pupils. A place where they are encouraged to think for themselves and grow as individuals as well as learning the content required to pass their examinations. I believe this is a key element, often overlooked, of helping people to learn.
I have completed over 1800 hours of one-to-one and general tuition with pupils of diverse needs and abilities. What follows is a selection of past clients, representative of my experience:
Toddler and Nanny Experience 1+: I have worked as a male Nanny for over 15 children over a five year period with children from the age of 1 upwards. This has involved me working on a daily basis with toddlers to encourage cognitive and physical growth via a multitude of exercises as well as more basic skills including toilet training, babysitting and general childcare.
SEN Dyscalculia: I have done intensive work with a range of students suffering with a variety of SEN. For students with dyscalculia I predominantly work through the Ronit Bird methodology, helping students to gain concepts of number and applying them to increasingly abstract sums as would be expected of them in school. I do this in a variety of ways including Cuisenaire rods and number lines. Teaching number in this way has on many occasions completely transformed my pupil’s ability with mathematics. For instance, Hayley – a seven-year-old student – couldn’t subtract in her mind at any capacity when I first began working with her. Over the course of six months, she eventually become competent with mathematics to the level that she is now in the upper quartile of her age group, completing fractions, ratio and other difficult mathematics problems that would have been impossible for her a year ago.
SEN Dyslexia: My Dyslexia work utilises the methodology of Keda Cowling. Using the Toe by Toe and Gateway to Comprehension studies I work with students to not only improve their reading but, crucially, also their comprehension skills as an off-shoot of this improved reading ability. I have had numerous students vastly improve their reading and comprehension abilities throughout their work with me. Due to reading being a foundational component of education, as a consequence, not only has student’s reading and writing improved but also their ability to answer questions in all subject areas.
SEN ADHD: I have worked with a number of students with ADHD from the age of 6 up to A level. My support with these students ranges from creating strategies the students can use, confidence boosting and exam technique.
UKiset: I have worked with several students in the relatively new area of the UKiset, ranging from the age of 9 to 15. I work with a range of online materials, and create my own to help students tackle the adaptive nature of these tests. Most recently my work in this area has been with Ademide, a 12-year old Nigerian student aiming pass the UKiset in order to gain entrance to Charterhouse. Working intensively together we covered the reasoning section of the paper as well as the English and mathematics areas. Ademide scored higher than average in each section of the paper, exceeding his parent’s expectations and finishing in the top percentage area of the country for mathematics and verbal reasoning.
7+, 8+, 11+ and 13+: I have helped students gain entrance into Colet Court, City of London Girls, Eaton Square School, Highgate, St Paul’s Girls’, Westminster, Eton, Westminster Under School, King’s College School, Wimbledon, North London Collegiate, South Hampstead High School, Wetherby Prep, Dulwich College, Charterhouse, Harrow, Latymer Prep, Latymer Upper, Alleyn’s and Sevenoaks. Please find some examples of my experience below:
I have planned, written and carried out a number of workshops over the past several years focusing on the 7+, 8+, 11+ and 13+ exams for entrance to a variety of Britain’s best independent schools. Subjects covered include Maths, English (creative and comprehension) verbal and non-verbal reasoning and science as well as history and geography.
11+ Pre-tests – I have supported more than 10 students in preparation for their ISEB 11+ pre-tests, including for top schools such as Eton, Harrow and Westminster. The tests are online and adaptive, which can be tricky to prepare for. I have a wealth of online resources and materials that I regularly use to help students prepare for assessments in this format. The key is in helping them develop their reasoning skills and ability to think outside of the box and adapt their knowledge to new scenarios.
11+ ISEB pre-test residential – I worked with E for 3 intensive days in preparation for his pre-tests for Eton. Together we really focused on his verbal reasoning and English skills, as well as maths. We went through a lot of multiple choice and online practise materials, to help Edward gain a better familiarity with what to expect in his exams. We are eagerly awaiting the results.
8+ English, Will – Over the course of a year. We worked on comprehension and creative writing on a regular basis and not only saw vast improvements in his graded work in school but also entrance into his school of choice.
7+, Heloise – I worked with Heloise for one year. At first working one hour a week but eventually in the months prior to the tests, two hours per week, we covered exam technique, interview technique and subject content. Heloise gained acceptance into her first choice school, City of London school for girls.
Mentoring: I have worked with several students of various ages in the 5-17 age bracket as a mentor and found the work particularly rewarding. I have mentored a range of students with differing needs, some of whom required simple psychological support alongside their academic tuition as well as more complex cases where my time with the student has been principally non-academic, revolving instead around confidence building, psychological support and general help with everyday tasks. My work in this area has been particularly informed by my early stage training in psychological work with children as practised by Place2Be.
Interview Technique: I have worked extensively with students on interview techniques for the common entrance and university applications. In doing so I work with students on a range of skills in order to strengthen their analytic, IQ and EQ abilities. My aim with such work is to get students to speak confidently about themselves, to show individual flair and crucially, in doing so, to stand out from other candidates when attempting to gain a place at highly competitive schools.
Harmonica, Piano, Guitar and Music Theory: Tobias, aged 5, had an instinct for playing the harmonica. Together we would practice new music and I would show him harmonica technique, using his initial interest in playing to explore wider skills in music and creativity. Ella, finding difficulty with learning graded classical piano, wanted to learn to improvise and express herself through the music she played. Using improvisation techniques from pop, blues and jazz we worked on song writing and improvised music skills such as jazz and blues to meet this challenge and change how Ella could express herself musically. Although I teach graded classical music and Jazz grades my main interest is in working with learners to express themselves and articulate themselves musically whilst also improving at their instrument.
Homeschooling: I have undertaken several home-schooling roles during my career. Recent examples include working with students for one week in A Levels in English and Law with student struggling in the run-up to exam period. Lessons would take place everyday from 9am-1pm before an essay and question practice session in the afternoon. I have also done home-school placements with a Russian family and American family, both in London.
My most recent experiences in this area has been a 5-week residential placement in Lagos, Nigeria working with three related students on multiple subjects including maths, English, science and various other humanity topics, and a 3-week intensive in Hong Kong working with a family of 3 students aged 13 and 15.
GCSE Classical Civilisation: Joseph was struggling with the work of Ovid and Homer in particular and sought tuition for the study of these classical authors. Using both past papers to go over questions and study model answers as well as essay structure and looking in depth at the course content, we worked for four months on this subject leading up to the summer exams.
GCSE Science: Covering both double and single award GCSE Science I have worked with numerous students on Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Blanca, a GCSE Double Award student, struggled with Physics and Chemistry in particular achieving low grades in her exams. With extensive weekly practice covering course content and past papers we managed to push her grade up to a B.
GCSE and A Level English Literature: Covering Edexcel, AQA, WJEC and OCR on multiple occasions, I have a vast range of experience in teaching English Literature at both GCSE and A Level with over 50 students to date. Throughout I work on close reading of texts and essay practice. Books have included Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Of Mice and Men, Tennyson, 1984, Oliver Twist and Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
GCSE and A Level English Language: Covering Edexcel, AQA, WJEC and OCR on multiple occasions, I have a vast range of experience in teaching English Language at both GCSE and A Level including subjects such as comprehension, grammar and creative writing with over 50 students to date.
GCSE and A Level History: Covering Edexcel, AQA, WJEC and OCR on multiple occasions, I have a vast range of experience in teaching History at both GCSE and A Level including subjects such as America in the twentieth century, Nazi Germany and source based specialisation as well as coursework consultation.
A Level Art History: Felicity bordered an A grade and wanted to refine her skills to push her into constant A results as she wanted to study History of Art at University. Working together for one month before the exam period we refined her knowledge of essay structure and course content. She eventually gained an A and was accepted onto her chosen University course.
A Level Sociology: Sociology work has included helping students with on the Edexcel, AQA, WJEC and OCR exam board AS and A2 examinations as well as course work. Topics covered have included Durkheim, Marx, Functionalism and aspects of society including crime, media and welfare and applying them to past paper revision as well as general content guidance.
A Level Politics: Lessons over Skype with Celia – a student not based in London. To accommodate the Skype calls I would make written notes and course material to email to the student so they got the best experience possible in an online learning environment. Celia eventually got an A grade having initially been averaging Cs and Bs.
A Level Psychology: Cara averaged a D grade when I first began teaching her. Over the course of 12 weeks we refined and honed the course material alongside regular essay practice. She eventually gained an A grade in both of her resits.
A Level Law: John suffers from ADHD and required special attention to help improve his essay writing. Focusing on essay practice and confidence building exercises we worked on this throughout his AS Level to accommodate the initial tough step up from GCSE and saw his grades improve from an E to a C.
A Level Philosophy: Specialising in the subject due to my qualifications in this area, I have worked with many students to develop critical thinking and writing skills.
A Level Music and Songwriting: Acting as a compliment to her regular schoolwork, I specialise in teaching Juliet pop, blues and jazz song writing techniques through multiple instruments such as the guitar and piano. Since working together she has written and performed her first compositions at school competitions.
Drama and Improvisation: I have taught a range of improvisation workshops to children (ages 4-11) and adults using the techniques of Viola Spolin. These workshops focus on establishing a sense of play and problem solving using improvisational techniques such as “Yes-and”and “Who, What, Where?” and are usually done in groups of 8-12.
Mentoring Scheme, Bristol University: Working with a fellow student I sat up a Philosophy mentoring program whilst in my second and third year at Bristol University. The scheme was a big success that allowed more experienced students to support and help newer students as well as those struggling to acclimatize to student life.
Radio Production Workshops: Working with the radio station Resonance 104.4 FM I coordinate a series of workshops bringing radio and audio skills to schools in several South London areas. Skills included creating radio programs and group work.
IB Theory of Knowledge: I have specialised in this area working with many students to not only understand the ToK but develop the necessary argumentation and thinking skills necessary to achieve a strong grade in this area. For example, working on argument, analysis and writing skills over the course of six months, I helped a level 3 IB student approach and improve their TOK presentation and essay skills eventually achieving an outstanding Level 5 overall.
IB Philosophy (Higher and Lower): I have worked with a variety of students at higher and standard level. Topics covered include Ethics, Epistemology, Political philosophy, Philosophy of Religion and Critical Theory. My main concern with Philosophy tuition is to teach students not only how to think in a way that differs from other subjects but how to write that information down in essays and exams. Particularly I focus on the analysis and study of argument through examples and how to respond analytically to such arguments.
IB Psychology (Higher and Lower): I have worked with many students of various abilities for IB Psychology. This has included work on the cognitive, biological and socio-cultural approaches to Psychology – the theories and evaluation of them. Working with one student over three months, Tara’s grade improved from a level 4 to a level 6 before eventually rising to a level 7. This was achieved mainly through repeated essay writing skill building sessions and awareness of how the IB exam board want students to evaluate psychological studies.
IB History (Higher and Lower): Regular tuition for Helen over the course of a year in History for International Baccalaureate, leading to an improvement from a level 3 to a level 6 and successful entry to Warwick University.
IB English Language and Literature (Higher and Lower): Teaching both Higher and Lower English for the IB, I have taught both English Langauge and Literature to 12 students over the past 18 months. One of these, Vlad, was at a Level 3/4 in English but required a Level 6 for his University Entrance Requirements. Studying texts such as Camus’ the Outsider and Sophocles Antigone as well as English Language I developed a learning program for Vlad that focused on essay structure, using linguistic terms and analysing texts. He eventually gained the required Level for entrance to University.
BA Visual Art: Jason averaged 42 in his written University work when we initially began working together. Over a three-month period we worked on his writing and analysis skills and he achieved 65 and 68 in his final essays. Furthe examples include Roxanne, a non-native student working at Goldsmiths University. Over the course of nine months together her grades improved from 58 in her first essay to a fantastic 84 in her final paper – a level way beyond the usual university 1st mark of 70.
MA Art History: I have tutored various students engaged in postgraduate art history. Specialities include essay writing, research work and art-work evaluation. Students who have worked with me in this area have achieved great success, gaining 1st level grades in their dissertations and essays at prestigious institutions such as the Courtauld and Sotheby’s.
BA Philosophy and Linguistics: David was averaging a low 2.2 in his BA Philosophy. Together we worked on analysing material in different ways, essay structure and creating opinions that could be backed with source material to improve his grade. He eventually attained a high 2.1.
Essay Writing: I work extensively in helping students improve their essay writing. Based around principles of cohesion, clarity and connectedness, I have helped students working at many levels including A Level, BA and MA. Students often improve their marks vastly after working with me – going from C grades to A grades all because of our work on identifying and improving essay structure and argument. My work has included success with both native and non-native English writers.
TEFL: I have taught English as a foreign language to a range of students from the ages of five upwards. I have done so over a four-year period both on the continent in France and Holland as well as in England. Using my Linguistics background I teach a range of reading, verbal and writing skills. I have taught English to non-native speakers at a variety of levels and ages, from the age of three upwards, in verbal, written and sight skills utilising practical and theoretical skills gained from my BA and MA in Philosophy of Language and Linguistics. My first student, Katherina in 2008, was a native Austrian aiming to learn better speaking and reading abilities with the aim of taking the TOEFL exam towards University entrance. She passed after getting her required grades. My most recent EFL experience has been working with two non-English speakers, aged 9 and 80, at the same time building up their language skills from scratch. As well as EFL I have also taught several students in preparation for the IELTS exam, working with them on all 4 aspects of the test to increase their levels.
City Lit Art History Program: I have written and taught courses in Art History at City Lit both in on-site and off-site classes. Recent examples of course include tours of the Tate Modern and Britain, Art and Finance, British Art Schools and Remembering the War: War Memorials.
Personal Statements and Funding Application: I have worked with numerous students in this area, including UCAS forms and AHRC grants. Peter, who I worked with on his statement and overall application, successfully gained entrance to the prestigious PhD program in Medieval History.
GRE: I have tutored several students who were preparing for the GRE tests. These are adaptive in nature, and so present their own unique challenge. Through a range of online resources I prepared these students to cope with the time constraints, and range of questions that could be presented.
Examiner – I have marked exam scripts for OCR History A Level in 2014, 2015 and 2016 specialising in modern and medieval History.
Hobbies and Interests
Besides teaching I work in improvisation and comedy as well as directing theatre at off-West End theatres in London and playing music at live venues throughout the country. I also regularly produce radio shows on modern culture for Resonance 104.4 FM and write for international publications such as the New Statesman and Philosophy Now.
“A great radio show host – really listenable chap with inquisitive questions and interesting guests.” Dan Hind – Verso published author and Al-Jazeera correspondent.
“The kind of program there should be more of – people talking for an hour about difficult and complex issues in a friendly, accessible and conversational manner.” Paul Mason – BBC’s Social Affairs and Economics Correspondent on Newsnight
“We needed someone who could help Will in a short of period of time and would really focus on essay structure. With his [Sean’s] focus on essay practice Will pushed his grade up from a C to an A – we are so grateful for all of Sean’s hard work!” Brian, parent of Will, a former AQA A Level History student.
“Thank you so much, Sean, Cara got an A!” Helen, parent of Cara who went from a D grade to an A* grade in her Psychology A-Level resit.
“Sean’s improvisation classes have changed my son’s behaviour. Jack was so shy but has found new ways of expressiveness over the weeks he has been in Sean’s workshops. I can’t thank him enough!” Jane, mother of 5-year old Jack who attended the improvisation workshops.
1) Ola Odunsi – 4-week International Placement in Lagos, Nigeria. JULY/AUGUST 2016
“Sean was fantastic helping our son get to where he needed to be for his exams. He is meticulous and very detailed. I believe his standard of teaching, technique and understanding of what was required helped in achieving the desired result.”
Ademide was a 12-year old Nigerian student aiming to pass the UKiset in order to gain entrance to Charterhouse and hadn’t covered any of the required material previous to our meeting. Working intensively together we covered the reasoning section of the paper as well as the English and mathematics areas. Ademide scored higher than average in each section of the paper, exceeding his parent’s expectations and finishing in the top percentage area of the country for mathematics and verbal reasoning.
2) Sally D – 18-month placement with daughter focusing on dyscalculia and dyslexia. 2013-2015.
“Sean really helped Hayley learn to use math in a way that I never thought was possible. She was struggling in school so much and Sean was able to find new and different ways to help her. I would recommend him as a tutor wholeheartedly.”
Hayley – a seven-year-old student – suffered with severe dyscalculia and struggled to do basic mathematical functions such as subtraction, with paper or even using her fingers. Over the course of nine months, and using special teaching techniques to help such students, we worked together until eventually Hayley became competent with mathematics to the level that she is now in the upper quartile of her age group, completing fractions, ratio and other difficult mathematics problems that would have been impossible for her a year ago.
3) Justin W – 1-month intensive training for Colet Court entrance exam. DECEMBER 2014.
“We were so pleased and excited that with Sean’s help Jonathan is now attending Colet Court! Not only did he help our son academically but Sean was also of a huge assistance to us, helping to understand the exam process and the entrance system. Thank you so much, Sean!”
I worked with Jonathan for over one year leading up to exams. Using initial assessments to discover Jonathan’s strengths and weaknesses we created a long term plan to follow in the lead up to the following year’s exams. Key areas of work included improving Jonathan’s empathy, comprehension and inference talents – key areas for development in all analytical writing – and pushing his already considerable mathematics skills further. Happily, Jonathan was successful in his entrance to Colet Court.