"I cannot thank Verity enough for what she did for my son. He went from being terrified about his 7+ to getting offers from every school! I would thoroughly recommend Verity to any family."
Julie H, 7+ tuition
Senior School Entrance
2009-2010 – Oxford School of Drama, Postgraduate Diploma
2004 – 2007 – University of Leeds, BA English Literature and Theatre Studies (Upper Second-Class Honours)
1999 – 2004 – Tonbridge Grammar School
A-Levels: English literature A; classical civilisation A; theatre studies A
GCSEs: English Literature and Language, Maths, Science (dual award), History, PE, IT, Drama and Theatre Studies (A*-B)
1997 – 1999 – Godolphin and Latymer School
1991 – 1997 – Bute House Preparatory School
I specialise in teaching English to students from 11+ all the way up to A-Level. As well as tutoring for English Literature and Language GCSEs, I have taught extensively for the 7+, 8+, 11+ and 13+ examinations.
I believe all children can fully enjoy each and every stage of their academic careers, including the various dreaded assessments which they will inevitably encounter, and thereby achieve the highest of marks with pleasure. I am devoted to this objective, and to date have succeeded in enabling each of my students to receive offers from their first or second choice schools.
I specialise in teaching Key Stages 1 and 2, and I particularly enjoy working with children of this age group. At university I worked part-time in a school, assisting with after-school homework sessions, and before that volunteered at a nursery and entertained at children’s parties, and so feel a strong kinship with young people. After seven years of tutoring, including home-schooling, I have worked with all manner of young students, overcoming a wide range of challenges. I feel my strength lies in communicating with young people not as an authority figure, as might a parent or school teacher, but as a friend with whom they feel they can be entirely open. In this way I feel I can bring out the very best in them and make their experience of reaching their full potential as enjoyable as possible.
Having taught extensively for entrance examinations, I am familiar with the exam criteria of most of the top schools in London. Across the range of examinations my students have taken, from 4+ to 13+, each has been offered a place at his or her first or second choice school. I pride myself on achieving this through carefully thought-out preparation specially tailored to the revision needs of each child. I also tutor interview technique up to university-level, so that the student can present themselves at their very best at this important stage of their assessment.
I am committed to instilling in young people the enthusiasm for learning which I have. I’ve seen numerous children succeed and have delighted in their ability to conquer tasks that once generated panic and self-doubt. I am proud to be a part of their progress and look forward to doing so for years to come.
Having adored English since I myself studied it at school, I have taught English literature and language since graduating from university – so ten years now! Please find below a snapshot of my tuition experience.
School exams I have prepared students for include, Godolphin and Latymer, St Paul’s Girls School, Francis Holland Regent’s Park, Francis Holland Sloane Square, Queen’s College (prep and secondary schools), Putney High School, the Lady Eleanor Holles, Alleyn’s, Haberdasher’s Aske’s School for Girls, St Paul’s Juniors, Westminster, Harrow, King’s College, Uppingham, Eton, Akiva, JFS, Malvern and Rugby. All of my previous students, of which I have in excess of thirty, have been offered places at their first or second choice schools.
Interview preparation: I have also tutored extensively for school interviews, including for the 7+, 11+, and 13+. I believe these can actually be thoroughly enjoyable and with some gentle preparation a fantastic opportunity to proudly be yourself! 100% of my students who have attended interviews have been offered places at either their first or second choice school, including a number with scholarships. They have been applying to and been offered places to top schools such as Emanuel, Godolphin, Sevenoaks, Frances Holland, Westminster and Alleyn’s.
Early Years – Age 3
Erika, 3, came over from Russia with her family for 3 months, during which time I worked with her every day. The amount of contact over that period afforded us the chance to both learn, and enjoyably implement, new words and numbers into creative projects. This way Erika was able to remain engaged, as she was having fun being inventive and playful with her new-found skills and excited to show off to me and her family how far along she was coming. I thoroughly enjoyed working with her and getting her ready for her English-speaking school, and by the end of the 3 months felt happily confident that she would have no problem assimilating into the new system. I look forward to working more with young children as I find it enormously rewarding.
Manuel was a competent mathematician but found creative writing a considerable chore. Together we worked over the course of three months to improve his writing. We set about experimenting with the different ways in which we can bring to life a scene: using all the five senses in our descriptions, using for our characters verbs we might think of for animals, depending on their mood or personality; creating imaginative similes and exploring non-predictable hyperbole. Each week we collected favourite adjectives and adverbs and then practised implementing these. It was fantastic how quickly Manuel began to love both reading and writing, becoming a voracious reader and enthusiastic short-novelist! He received offers from both his first choice schools: St Paul’s School and King’s College School.
Aged 10 Mental Cognition
Rhiannon was very capable, with a natural ability in both maths, English and reasoning, but she made clumsy, avoidable mistakes which brought her marks down to the level of a student much less gifted. I soon learnt that her lack of attention to detail was down to her doubting the quality of her initial answer thereby perceiving any little errors neither here nor there. She seemed to expect low marks no matter what and so what was needed was boosting her confidence in herself and pride in her (great) work, so that she would loathe to make silly mistakes as without them she could do brilliantly. Giving Rhiannon warm encouragement over the six months we had lessons was wonderfully rewarding, as her whole personality seemed to come out, which also effected her creative writing which went from tentative and simple to colourful and thrilling. It was a joy to see her flourish and she proceeded to ace her exams and I hear continues to take great pleasure in her secondary school studies, something that initially seemed sadly unlikely.
Pre-Test and interview preparation
I recently worked for several months with Ibrahim for the 11+ Pre-Tests, the exam and interview components. By the end of our lessons he showed a marked improvement, and indeed the assessment day seemed to go well and we are eagerly awaiting his results.
I also worked online with Theo, a Russian student, who was preparing for his assessment day at Eton. Theo and I worked hard together, and he was successful in securing a conditional offer from the school.
I tutored Mia for a very targeted entry in St Paul’s Girls School. Although very capable, she lacked confidence having felt overwhelmed by the pressure in the years leading up to the much discussed ‘exams’. Building a friendship with Mia, we would gently work through entrance exam papers together until there were no surprises and she could face the entrance assessments, including the interview, about which she was very anxious, calmly and at her best. I was very proud when she received an offer and am confident the skills she learnt will take her smoothly too through her future exams.
I tutored Ibrahim for his Eton test. He was at an international school in Dubai, was neither familiar with the Eton test nor entrance examinations in general, however, his parents were keen for him to go to Eton, such was its prestige in Pakistan where he was from. Having built a foundation in English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning, we worked on the specific nature of the multiple choice, computerised pretest until he was confident. He successfully reached the next stage, which required deeper focus on reasoning as well as familiarisation with the format of the interview. Preparation for these is especially enjoyable as neither are designed not to test the student’s memory but ability to think for themselves, which is a delight to nurture with intelligent discussion and practice of problem-solving. Ibrahim received an offer and currently attends Eton.
Two years before her 11+ exams, I began maths, English, verbal-reasoning and non-verbal reasoning lessons with Ellie. Ellie suffered from a severe lack of confidence, and was in the tricky position of having an incredibly competent and confident twin. Her mother was keen for the girls to go to school together and the school they all loved most was Francis Holland, a definite stretch for Ellie. Over the next two years I worked diligently to overcome the challenges of an ambitious curriculum paired with low self-esteem; the lessons became as much about instilling in Ellie self-belief, and celebrating the things that made her her, as it was equipping her with the necessary techniques and skills to succeed in the exam. The day her mother telephoned me to say she had received an unconditional offer from Francis Holland is one I will always cherish. So successful was our relationship I continued teaching Ellie for two more years as she settled into her new school.
General English and Maths (overseas residential)
Last year I travelled to Italy with a Russian family with whom I had had a successful trial in London. For three weeks I taught the 6 year old twins and 12 year old son. It was key in this role to make the tutoring as seamless and enjoyable as possible, as the children were on a rare holiday away and understandably reluctant to be coaxed into more schooling. It was enormously gratifying to see the children enjoy our lessons so much, which I had designed carefully to feel as much as possible like another recreational activity, and how much they improved without feeling the burden of ‘studying’ while on holiday. When they returned to school, their Autumn reports said they had all shown a marked improvement since the previous school year
I prepared a student for his English 13+ assessment for Merchant Taylor’s and Haberdashers’ Aske’s. After working hard for 18 months he was successful in being offered a place at both schools.
I also worked with a boy in his 13+ assessments for both Harrow and Sevenoaks. Whilst a competent mathematician he very much struggled articulating himself in English composition and Comprehension. After three months of intensive tuition, he improved impressively and was offered a place at Sevenoaks.
Creative writing – Year 3
James was in year 3, and his mother was really keen for him to embrace story-writing more, as she was aware it would feature in upcoming tests. To start with, I found that James liked to write very complicated, fantastical stories, boiled down into as few sentences as possible, with little to no descriptive language, thereby rather relying on his readers’ brains envisaging exactly what his did without any real help! I encouraged him to try out different adjectives, adverbs, and simple literary techniques such as similes and alliteration to enhance his narrative and to use all the five senses to really bring his stories to life. His writing became so vivid that quickly he realised his stories didn’t need to be far-fetched to be beautifully written. In fact, he was too ambitious story-wise for the time allowed, and he could focus less on the chaotic plot and more on making the ordinary sparkle with vibrant description! He now writes stories for fun, and I still occasionally receive them into my Skype account, which brings me a smile!
This year a student with whom I had begun tuition for her 11+ exams achieved a level 9 in her English literature GCSE. It was enormously rewarding to see her passion growing for text analysis, having initially been unconvinced by her set texts. She grew to find great pleasure in discussing the material, both those she felt an affinity for and the others, and learnt to celebrate their stark differences and enjoy comparing them. Her reaching the highest possible grade in her exam was an utter joy to learn of!
Year 6 Maths and English SATs Preparation
I began SATs preparation with Billy 6 months ahead of his summer tests. He was used to comprehension at school but had spent less time on the specific assessment of grammar, spelling and vocabulary as used in the SATS papers. He was also new to the idea of mathematical reasoning so it was super to have a good amount of time to familiarise him with this particular type of paper. Over the months we worked both on SPaG, in the form of tailored exercises, and actual SATs sample papers, as well as reading papers that were specific to SATS as opposed to 11+ (predominantly what he worked on in school). We did the same for Maths so that he could get used to the new format. In the month ahead of the tests we were ready, but went back to the areas he felt least confident in (e.g. tenses, such as perfect progressive). He was given GDS (Greater Depth Standard) by his teacher – the highest level – giving him a huge confidence boost to go into KS3 with.
Year 8 CAT4 Preparation
Amalia was from Delhi and sitting her CAT4 exams in a few months. As the CATs, unlike other tests, are not designed to assess a child’s ability to retain facts, but instead to think through problems and apply logic to come to the correct solution, it was a whole new affair for Amalia. Together we went through the types of questions – verbal, non-verbal, quantitative, spatial – and explored methods for how we might tackle them. Initially most comfortable using numbers to solve problems and looking at sequences and the relationships between them, Amalia was most adept at quantitive reasoning. However as she became more interested in problem-solving using visuals and the joy of wordplay, Amalia became equally happy with non verbal and verbal reasoning, and after eventually the data type questions of spatial reasoning became familiar, and indeed seemed in a way similar to those of the traditional mathematics questions she loved, Amalia did brilliantly in her test across all areas.
Hobbies and Interests
I am very concerned with the plight of child refugees and last year travelled to Samos in Greece to volunteer with the displaced children travelling from Syria, Libya, Somalia and Afghanistan. I have since campaigned for the rights of refugees and spoken this year at both the NCF Migration Conference in Westminster and on the Arab News Network.