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  • Ambassador
  • (12 reviews)
M
Michelle
« Perfect! I would like to say that if you get Tom as an English tutor you have... More »
M
Michelle
« Perfect! I would like to say that if you get Tom as an English tutor you have hit the jackpot. He is patient, hard working but most importantly he know his stuff. He has a high expectation of his pupils, but with good cause as he does get results. We had only five session but in that tome we have had a great improvement, the last test saw a 25% increase in our sons score. Thank you Tom and good luck. »
£70/h
Profile and degree verified
Response Time 2h
Lessons offered by Tom
  • Individual
  • In group
The lessons will be held
  • at his home
  • at your home
  • By webcam
Taught subjects
  • English
  • English Literature
  • Creative writing
  • Dissertation and thesis preparation
  • International Baccalaureate
Levels
  • All Levels

Experienced, expert, professional - two-time Cambridge English graduate -specialises in GCSE, A-Level, Pre-U, IB, Oxbridge ELAT, Undergraduate - Brockley, London and Online

Methodology

Every lesson I teach is completely bespoke - tailored precisely to the needs of the individual student.

- Tell me about yourself

A supportive, encouraging, rigorous tutor with two degrees from Cambridge - a Double First in English and an MPhil in Renaissance English Literature - I have 10 years' and more than 2500 hours' one-to-one tutoring experience, putting me well ahead of most other tutors in my field. After completing my MPhil I qualified as an English language teacher (Cert TESOL), before going to a top London drama school (LAMDA), and my career has included roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company and many other UK theatre companies, as well as parts in several BBC TV and radio dramas. I am now undertaking further training as a psychotherapist.

I specialise in helping students with Oxbridge interviews and ELAT entrance exams, but whatever stage a student is at - whether it's GCSE, IB, A-Level or even Degree-level, and whatever their ability - they will find me nurturing, challenging and full of helpful advice. My aim is to enable students achieve their goals and to give them genuine confidence in their own abilities.

My hobbies include cricket, squash, cooking theatre-going and chairing a fortnightly poetry discussion group.

**ONLINE TUTORING ARRANGEMENTS**
I use Skype, FaceTime or Zhumu in combination with Google Docs (which is free and easily accessible in most parts of the world) to create a virtual classroom complete with virtual whiteboard. Google Docs is great because it allows both me and the student to view, highlight and amend documents simultaneously, whether it's a poem we're studying together, a digital copy of a play or article, or an essay that the student has written. It's particularly useful for teaching the student how to correct and improve their own writing as it allows changes to be made and removed at the touch of a button while I supervise and offer advice or suggestions. I can see everything they do on the page just as if I were sitting there with them. I have never known a student or client to express dissatisfaction with this method once they have tried it. In the last year I have tutored students online in Spain, South Korea, Hong Kong, New Zealand, India and all over the UK.

- Which other subject(s) do you teach?

English Literature, English Language, English, Poetry Analysis, Drama, Acting, Drama School Auditions, LAMDA Exams, RADA exams, Creative Writing, Public Speaking, Interview Technique. I also proofread and teach essay-writing skills.

- Where do you teach?

I'm centrally located, in Zone 2, five minutes' walk from Brockley station or ten from Nunhead, so I can reach many parts of London easily. I teach at my students' homes, or at my home, at the British Library, the Southbank Centre or in a cafe if it is quiet enough.

I teach in Central, South, South-East, East, North, North-East, North-West, South-West and West London.

My neighbouring areas are Lewisham, Brockley, Nunhead, Peckham, Honor Oak, Forest Hill, Ladywell, Crystal Palace, Rotherhithe, Canary Wharf, New Cross, Telegraph Hill, Hilly Fields, New Cross Gate, Victoria, Elephant and Castle, Lambeth, Kennington, but I can also happily travel further afield.

- When are you available?

Every day besides Saturday, daytime and early evening.

- Which ages and levels do you teach?

GCSE & IGCSE, A-level, Oxbridge ELAT and Undergraduate Degree level; IB Diploma Level; teenagers and adults. All exam boards: AQA, Edexcel, Pearson, Cambridge CIE, OCR, WJEC.

- Which qualifications do you prepare your students for?

BA English, Oxbridge Entrance, ELAT, A-Level, iGCSE, GCSE, IB Diploma, LAMDA Exams.

- Do you have an up-to-date DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service, formerly CRB) Certificate?

Yes.

- Tell me about some of your current students.

I'm currently tutoring...

Two IB English Literature A HL students.

Several GCSE students working on different exam boards: WJEC, Pearson / Edexcel, AQA, CIE / Cambridge. Set texts include Macbeth, An Inspector Calls, Of Mice and Men, Othello, Stories of Ourselves, Songs of Ourselves and Unseen Poetry as well as English Language.

One Undergraduate Business student, whom I am helping with his Personal Statements for application to Harvard, Yale, Stanford and U.Penn.

Two A-Level English Students and one Pre-U Oxbridge ELAT hopeful.

Ambassador

One of our best tutors! High-quality profile, qualifications verified and response guaranteed. Tom will plan your first lesson with care.

Background

AS A TUTOR

Freelance tutoring since 2007. Extensive experience over 10 years, at all levels and with all exam boards. As well as English Literature, I have also tutored numerous students in English language, Creative Writing and Acting.


AS A TEACHER

For Debate Chamber: teacher on the Young Writers’ Programme and English Summer School 2018

For Pembroke College Cambridge International Programmes Deptartment:

Lecturer and seminar leader, 'Shakespeare and the English Renaissance Stage', University of California Summer School 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012

English Language Instructor, Waseda University Extension Course, 2009

Assistant Course Director, University of Southern California Creative Writing Progrmme 2008

Tutor in Creative Writing (teaching undergraduates from the Universities of Harvard, Yale and Berkeley)

English Language Teacher, Nihon University Easter Course 2008


AS AN ACTOR

For BBC Television: 'Doctors', 'The Last Heroes of D-Day', 'The Village'
For the Royal Shakespeare Company: 'Taming of the Shrew', dir. Lucy Bailey, 2012
Numerous other roles in professional theatre at The Watermill, BAC, Royal Lyceum, Watford Palace Theatre, Wilton's Music Hall, JW3.

Rates

Transportation Fee : £10
Rate for online lessons : £70/h

Details

I charge £70 per hour for online tuition, tuition at my home or tuition within 15 minutes' walk of home. For anything further afield I charge £10-15, depending on distance, to cover travel time and expenses. My usual lesson time is 1.5 hours.

N.B. I also tutor for several London agencies who will charge you £90+ per hour of tuition with me, so you can save yourself a lot of money by contacting me directly through SuperProf.

Lessons offered by Tom
Individual
In group
The lessons will be held
at his home
at your home
webcam
Taught subjects
  • English
  • English Literature
  • Creative writing
  • Dissertation and thesis preparation
  • International Baccalaureate
Levels
  • All Levels

Tom's CV

• BA English (Cambridge University; Double First)
• MPhil Renaissance English Literature (Cambridge University); FDA Professional Acting (LAMDA)
• Foundation Certificate in Integrative Psychotherapy (The Minster Centre; Distinction)
• Valid CRB / DBS

12 reviews on Tom
  • 5/5

All our ratings are collected by us and are given in confidence, they correspond to a real experience.
M
Michelle

Perfect! I would like to say that if you get Tom as an English tutor you have hit the jackpot. He is patient, hard working but most importantly he know his stuff. He has a high expectation of his pupils, but with good cause as he does get results. We had only five session but in that tome we have had a great improvement, the last test saw a 25% increase in our sons score. Thank you Tom and good luck.

11 recommendations

Benjamin

Tom is a fantastic educator - he is passionate, driven and meticulous in his efforts to enable his students to fulfil their potential to the utmost. His extensive experience and mastery of the subject allow him to tailor his lessons very specifically to the needs of his students, and he combines this with an affable, warm and encouraging personality. As a colleague, he is a pleasure to work with, and his relentless pursuit of excellence in his work is inspiring.

N
Na'ama T

Tom helped me prepare for my Oxford entrance interview. He was always well prepared, and taught with the utmost commitment and verve. I couldn't have hoped for a better experience. He was tremendous at honing textual analysis and essay writing skills, and encouraged an expansive and imaginative engagement with literature. Aside from his intellectual rigour, he was professional, punctual and flexible; during the stressful period of entrance preparation these qualities were very much appreciated!

A
Annabel

Tom Secretan supported my state-school educated daughter's A-Level English studies, taking them beyond what the school could offer to University-level conversations, insights and teaching. Tom was a pleasure to meet and my daughter got into Oxford to read English. We cannot recommend him more highly!

B
Ben

Tom is a very patient, diligent and helpful tutor. I first met him when I was applying for a Masters course at Oxford University. At the time, I was very insecure about my grasp of Advanced English and English Grammar.

I wanted Tom to help me improve my understanding of Grammar and to help me draft my application letter to Exeter College, Oxford.

I found Tom to be very patient, understanding, and humorous. He helped me win a place at Oxford, and gave me the confidence to progress with my studies.

R
Rico

Tom really knows his way around the Oxbridge interview/entrance exam system and took a real interest in helping me prepare for my Cambridge interview, which resulted in an offer of a place to read English.

I found him friendly and approachable yet rigorous in his analysis. I thoroughly enjoyed and valued my session with him. Couldn't recommend him highly enough.

A
Amanda

Tom tutored my year 10 son in English igcse, summer 2014.
I get the impression many of Tom's tutees are high fliers aiming for Oxford and Cambridge but he still gave 100% commitment to trying to turn a C into a B for my dyslexic son. Unfailingly kind and patient towards a struggling and occasionally unwilling pupil. The most highly qualified tutor we've come across, brilliant on poetry, genuinely committed, gives good advice and feedback. Also very efficient about replying to emails and messages promptly.

R
Rosanna

Inspiring English tutor
Tom recently tutored my son for his English pre-U very successfully. Tom gave my son useful strategies for his forthcoming exam, and was an encouraging and inspiring tutor.

I
Iris

Tom has been an inspiring and encouraging tutor. My son enjoyed his teaching very much and gained A* for his GCSE Eng Lit and Eng. Thank you Tom!

D
Daniel

Superb English Lit teacher
Tom is much more than a great teacher, he is able to inspire genuine intellectual depth and breadth of interest in the subject in a way that goes well beyond the expected. He is a pleasure to work with and has great patience and resourcefulness. Thoroughly recommended.

R
Roisin Q

Great Teacher! We had three seasons online together and Tom an enormous help. He taught me how to spot my own mistakes and create a well structured essay, as well as going through my books with me. Definitely gave me the extra push to get the top grades (I got 2 9s in English Language and Literature). I would highly recommend!

Interview with Tom

QUESTION 01 | 08
When did you develop an interest in your chosen field?
Tom — I fell in love with poetry when I was 16 and studying the poems of John Keats and Robert Frost for GCSE. The next year, when I started reading John Donne, Philip Larkin and Gerard Manley Hopkins for A-Level, it became clear this was no passing infatuation but a lifelong passion. My English teacher happened to be directing the school play that year and cast me as Horatio in 'Hamlet', the beginning of an intense relationship with Shakespeare (and of a career in acting too!).
QUESTION 02 | 08
Tell us more about the subject you teach, the topics you like to discuss with students (and possibly those you like a little less).
Tom — I primarily teach English Literature and English Language at GCSE level and above. I take satisfaction from helping students develop their awareness, appreciation and enjoyment of literature but I also understand that exam results matter and that as the big day approaches you want someone in your corner who can give you the tips, tricks and techniques that ensure success.
I also help students at all levels, including postgraduate, with essay structure and the editing/proofreading of dissertations. I have assisted Japanese doctoral students in Education Studies, Anthropology undergraduates at Cambridge, Art History students from London universities and all sorts of people in between.

The final string to my bow is acting tuition. I am a trained professional actor whose career includes numerous roles on stage and screen. One of my proudest achievements is having performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company. I love working with young and inspiring actors, imparting technical advice and helping them develop their audition pieces.
QUESTION 03 | 08
Did you have any role models; a teacher that inspired you?
Tom — I am lucky enough to have had fantastic teachers at many points in my life - school, university and drama school. I've also had a fair few bad ones and I know the difference that skilled teaching can make!
QUESTION 04 | 08
What do you think are the qualities required to be a good tutor?
Tom — A good tutor is an expert in their subject. An excellent tutor is so assured of their expertise that they don't feel the need to prove how expert they are all the time - they let the student shine and put his or her needs first. The key is to start from whatever point the student is at in his or her learning process and to work from there. This requires extraordinary flexibility, versatility and responsiveness - as well as preparation.
QUESTION 05 | 08
Provide a valuable anecdote related to your subject or your days at school.
Tom — When I first arrived at Cambridge I felt very insecure. The first essay they set me was on Victorian novels by Charles Dickens and George Eliot and I thought I had better read as many literary critics as I could in order to show how scholarly I could be. The first essay I wrote was 4500 words long and was given a B-. I had never had such a bad grade before; in all my time at school I had been given As and A*s in English. What was going on? My tutor told me if he wanted to hear some established literary critic's opinions on the Victorian novel he could go and take their book out of the library; what mattered to him was MY view of Dickens, MY view of Eliot. He gave me the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins and sent me off to write an essay on them for the following week.

The next piece of writing I handed in was half the length but twice as good. I had stopped hiding behind the authority of others and started to think and feel for myself. The essay I wrote that week got me an A grade and suddenly I felt much more at ease in my new setting.
QUESTION 06 | 08
What were the difficulties or challenges you faced or are still facing in your subject?
Tom — Despite having done two degrees in English at Cambridge I am actually a very slow reader. I find it really hard not to linger on every word and phrase! As you can imagine this means it takes me a long time to finish most novels.
QUESTION 07 | 08
Do you have a particular passion? Is it teaching in general or an element of the subject or something completely different?
Tom — I have a particular passion for poetry - because I also occasionally write some myself - but I love drama and novels as well.
QUESTION 08 | 08
What makes you a Superprof?
Tom — I really care about my students. Their progress matters immensely to me.

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