I am an experienced tutor, writer and journalist who spent a decade working as a reporter and editor for the Financial Times in London. My comment pieces and news stories regularly featured on the FTs front and op ed pages. I have also written for The Los Angeles Times and for The Independent and still write for the FT on a freelance basis.
I turned to teaching and tutoring after discovering how much I enjoyed mentoring graduate trainees at the FT. Since leaving the FT in 2009, I have helped a range of students sharpen their written, oral and analytical skills, enabling them to perform to the highest level in their exams. I aim to inspire a love of literature and language, providing students with the tools they need to write and speak outstanding English.
I focus on teaching English to upper primary and secondary school students, helping them write creatively and develop sharp analytical skills and well-honed powers of reasoning. I have worked on the 11+ and 13+ exams to top UK schools, tutoring students in Hong Kong through their exams to Harrow, Westminster and Benenden. In addition, I have recently tutored upper primary level students in verbal and non-verbal reasoning.
I really enjoy teaching. Having children of my own, I realise the importance of learning in a supportive, disciplined but fun environment. While I was in Hong Kong, I embarked on a course in Cantonese, which helped me remember what it was like to be a beginner again (with a difficult subject) and I found this helpful in my teaching practice. I aim to build students confidence as much as possible in our sessions and offer lots of encouragement.
University of Kent at Canterbury, MBA
London College of Printing, Postgraduate Certificate in Periodical Journalism
University of Hull, French Language and Literature 2:2
Barton Peveril VIth Form College
A Levels English B, French C
GSCEs French A, English Lit B, English B, Maths B, Additional Maths C, History B, Geography B, Human Biology A, Biology B, Latin C, Music B, German C
Tommy, 12 (13+ English Common Entrance and school specific English exams)
Tommy was applying for Westminster, Tonbridge and City of London schools. I worked with Tommy on a regular basis to help bring his English up to a level that would enable him to gain entrance to a top British public school. Tommy had not really studied comprehension before we met and English was his second language. I worked with him for eighteen months and helped hone his comprehension and written English skills. He needed some help building his confidence as English and it was great to see this gradually increase. He had some language specific issues which needed attention (for example phrasal verbs and tenses). It was a real pleasure to see his growing interest in literature and writing as we worked together. He was offered a place at all three schools and now studies at Westminster School.
Ben, 12 (13+ English Common Entrance and school specific English exams)
I worked with Ben on improving the fluency of his English and focused on developing a more academic style in his writing. We also worked on comprehension, which was not covered in great detail at his school in Hong Kong. English was not Bens favourite subject when we first met! However, he says he loves writing now and has completed some wonderfully descriptive work in our sessions. We also focused on improving Bens spelling, using a list of the most commonly misspelled words, in bite size chunks during our lessons. Ben passed his entrance exam with flying colours and is now at Harrow.
Brandon and Reegan 9 (general English tuition)
These were two of my youngest students. I was supporting their learning in reading and writing English once a week. We read together and completed games and creative writing exercises in our lessons, helping improve their fluency and confidence in English.
Shirley, 12 (US SATs and general English tuition)
Shirley is a very able student and English was one of her best subjects at Singapore International School in Hong Kong. She was keen to develop her English to the highest level and our work together involved polishing her writing style, picking up on language errors (English was Shirleys second language) and honing her analytical skills in comprehension. She scored in the top three in her year for English by the time I left Hong Kong and at that time she was choosing between several private schools which had accepted her in the US after her strong performance in the SATs.
India, 12 (13+ English Common Entrance and Benenden entrance exam)
I have been working with India for six months now, focusing on her written English skills (comprehension and creative writing) ahead of her entrance exams. Her writing is of a high standard, however, she was lacking in confidence in her comprehension and her spelling. Her fluency has improved and she is now able to write in a more academic style in her comprehension work, while her descriptive work has developed beautifully. One of the most important aspects of our lessons was building her confidence ahead of the exam which she took in September 2015.
Ethan, 11 (general English tuition)
I worked with Ethan, who was a very able student, for two years until I left Hong Kong. A talented writer and avid reader, Ethan was studying at a Chinese-language school but wanted to develop his English skills to a high standard with view to studying either in the US or the UK. I was able to design a programme for his studies with an emphasis on improving style and developing his analytical skills. He is well-read and we based quite a few of the lessons on themes prompted by the books he was reading such as Animal Farm and Inkheart. He made great progress during our time together and was one of the highest scoring students in his end of year exams in English.
Emily, 10 (general English tuition)
Emily was very keen on Science but not so keen on English! Her parents were keen for her work to improve but were concerned that she didnt have a strong interest in the subject. During our sessions, I focused on books which seemed to grab her attention and tried to make the lessons as varied and interesting as possible to keep her interest. She made particularly strong progress with me and was able to develop her creative writing skills during our lessons, which she really seemed to enjoy. We also worked on some grammar and fluency issues as English was not Emilys first language. I did this using regular 10-minute sessions on topics such as phrasal verbs, tenses and articles.
Hobbies and Interests
I enjoy a range of different sports, including rowing, cycling, running and yoga. I am writing a historical novel based in Hong Kong and love cinema and theatre, too.