Experience tells me that private tuition works not just because of the one-to-one teaching, but because of the relationship between student and tutor: often a young person will listen to an adult who is neither a parent nor a school teacher. My approach makes the most of this special role: friendly towards the person, but serious about academic progress in English, a subject which is central to a good start in life.
An initial meeting establishes the student’s needs and the direction tuition should take, usually with a parent present. Then, in weekly sessions, we begin work on a programme of study which focuses on filling gaps in knowledge and addressing areas of weakness. Often, this involves looking in detail at sentence construction and grammar or learning, step by step, the techniques of literary analysis – the kinds of things that tend not to happen in a busy classroom.
I set regular homework and writing assignments (the amount adjusted to how much time the student has) and give feedback the following session. Students who need encouragement to read get a list of recommended books, and we will sometimes spend five minutes at the beginning or end of a lesson discussing their latest book. At A level, I encourage the wider reading essential for the deeper understanding of English literature expected by the exam boards.
Tuition is generally organised as an independent course that runs parallel to what is being studied at school, but the programme of study can easily be put aside to help with a tricky piece of homework or a school assignment. As the exams approach, the focus shifts towards exam technique and working through past papers.
An experienced teacher and professional writer, I have taught extensively in secondary, higher and further education. My qualifications include a degree in English from Oxford and a PhD in philosophy from Essex University.
I spent two years in an independent secondary school, teaching English Language and Literature from Year 7 to A level. After gaining my PhD, I became a lecturer in philosophy, teaching undergraduates at university and adults in evening classes. Along the way, I've also taught English as a Second Language, English for Academic Purposes and study skills to both adults and children.
Now a published author and journalist, I combine my writing with private tuition.
The hourly teaching rate, which covers the marking of homework and handouts, is £40 at GCSE level and £45 at A level and for adult students.
An initial meeting with the student is free of charge. If the student is under 18, I like to meet one of the parents too.
BA Honours in English Language and Literature, St Hugh's College, Oxford
MA in Philosophy, Essex University
PhD in Philosophy, Essex University
Widely published in newspapers, magazines and on websites including The Guardian and the BBC
Author of two books, Paradise Divided: A portrait of Lebanon and The Secret Life of God: A journey through Britain
Thank you so much for your help! I got an A – 108 out of 120, the highest in the year!
Just thought I'd let you know that Peter got A* in English language mock and A in literature. Fantastic! Couldn't have done it without all your support. You have really boosted his confidence, which was quite low in this subject.
Alex stepped in at very short notice to provide support for two of our students leading up to their A level exams, after we discovered that they were very poorly prepared on key texts. Her professional, calm and thorough approach helped them to feel confident and prepared; they could not have been happier with the support they received at such a crucial point in their studies.
Alex is a very caring person and is very enthusiastic in her teaching. She been tutoring me for a year now and my parents, my teacher and I have all seen an improvement in my English generally and also in my end-of-year tests. Alex is highly recommended.
Thank you so much for the tutoring you gave me. You were a great help and my English grade in that unit improved by 33 marks - from a D to a high A! I am incredibly appreciative because now I can do the course I want to do at university.
Alex was able to offer me advice that I had not been given before with regards exam technique. She really helped to build my confidence which enabled me to go into the exam knowing exactly how to answer any question I was faced with.
I cannot recommend her enough. My grade went up to an A and I now have the necessary grades for my preferred university course.
Alex managed to help me get from GCSE level to an A level standard in a very short time. When it came to the exams, her preparation for me was methodical and accurate. She has a huge knowledge of the subject, but is capable of conveying it in a way that an A level pupil can get the most out of it. I would strongly recommend Alex.
Alex's resources as a working writer were invaluable to a Philosophy A level student. It was very useful to have someone with a wide range of knowledge in the subject that I didn't find in as much depth in my sixth form. Taught with exam technique, this left me feeling confident in my ability to write the best essay for my exam.
I have improved my English drastically since I first came to lessons. They also made me appreciate English more, and helped me to understand what I was doing wrong and put it right. Thank you for your help!
Alex helped me with a wide range of things which included grammar and punctuation skills. The tasks she set helped me to improve the quality of my written work, not just in English but in other subjects as well. Alex was friendly and interesting. In the future if I have any more issues, I will go back.
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