Nicola was exceptionally structured in her approach to tutoring. She took time to understand our needs, conducted a baseline and then concentrated on the areas needing the most focus. Nicola set high expectations each week for what needed to be achieved, but coached and encouraged our son all the way so that he never lost interest and stayed focused on achieving the goal. We were very impressed with Nicola’s kind, attentive and professional approach. Her feedback throughout was excellent and really helped us in ensuring we were developing our son’s skills in an efficient and effective way.
Parent of 11 Plus student (Sevenoaks)
Nicola is a qualified and experienced practising English teacher, with extensive experience teaching English at Key Stages 3, 4 and 5 in leading independent and grammar schools. She has a strong academic background in English, with a First Class Degree (awarded the School of English best final year performance) and a Masters with Distinction, which was obtained through the prestigious AHRC research funding.
Nicola has an excellent proven record of success at both GCSE and A Level, with a vast number of her students having progressed to Oxbridge and Russell Group universities. Nicola is passionate about her subject and this is key in how she promotes student engagement and academic success. Indeed, common feedback from students is that her enthusiasm for her subject is infectious!
Nicola is currently a Senior Leader for English GCSE marking, where she manages team leaders from across the country. Nicola’s assessment skills and current awareness of exam specifications, enhance and inform her teaching practice.
As a tutor, Nicola plans and creates bespoke lessons which engage and she ensures her students are comfortable and at ease in order that they can produce work to the best of their ability. Nicola quickly and efficiently identifies students’ target areas and creates learning plans that reflect a highly personalised approach. Nicola's teaching methods are informed by her understanding of pedagogy and her lessons are focused on active learning and student centred activities. Nicola draws on traditional educational theory including the works of Maslow, Bloom and Piaget, whilst also being aware that educational practice is constantly evolving - particularly in relation to the re-evaluation of pedagogy in light of remote and blended learning.
Nicola also has vast experience in successfully preparing students for the 11+ and entrance exams and is able to evidence her students’ accomplishments in the various aspects of the exam. Nicola is particularly able to support with the English components of the examinations and one of her most recent students passed both the 11 plus and Sevenoaks entrance exams (January 2024) despite only entering into the English education system in September 2023 (he had previously followed the Japanese curriculum in Japan). Therefore, she is aware of not only the difficulties bilingual students experience preparing for entrance exams but also how to teach to the specific expectations of the British school system, in order that her students can make rapid and efficient progress.
Additionally, Nicola has had much success in preparing students in English for the 13+ examinations. Whilst working for Owl tutors, Nicola has tutored a student this year who had previously been unable to pass the eleven plus with another tutoring company, and, with highly tailored sessions from her, has gone on to gain a place at Sevenoaks. Indeed, this student scored so highly that he has been selected to take part in the Academic scholarship examinations, designed for those students who 'perform exceptionally well in the Year 9 entrance tests'. Nicola focused on the student's English as this was his weaker area and also prepared him for the group discussion element of the assessment.
Nicola has also recently focused on the English 13 plus assessment for The Perse School and she was able to prepare her student for the new format of the 2024 assessments (notably the use of an image to generate creative writing). This student gained both her place here and another school (January 2024). This student was also bilingual and Nicola was able to offer the English support that her family felt they could not provide themselves. Feedback from the parents stated her help was “instrumental” and that she motivated their daughter “to give her best self.” The tuition has been so successful and the progress so remarkable, that she has been asked to continue working with their child after the assessments were complete.
Nicola has also provided excellent English tuition at GCSE whilst working for Owl Tutors and her Edexcel IGCSE English student scored 9s across language and literature (August 2023). Nicola was able to ensure this progress through a measured and highly targeted approach where she assessed all elements of the exam; consulted exam data from the school; and worked on targeting specific areas in order to ensure that marks where maximised by focusing on the subtle differences between the grades at the higher end of the mark scheme. Parental feedback stated that these grades would ‘not have been possible without her help and guidance’.
Nicola also provided intense GCSE tuition over a two-month period for another GCSE student whose grade went from a low level 5 to a grade 6 in both language and literature (August 2023) which was the goal of the tuition. She received feedback from the student directly in recognition of the quality teaching received.
Nicola currently works with a small number of students for Owl tutors. She is an excellent English subject specialist and therefore a highly valuable asset for those students seeking a particular English focus for entrance exams or for grade enhancement at GCSE.
Nicola has successfully completed the Owl Tutors training course in 11 Plus exam preparation. This means they have a thorough understanding of the structure, content and demands of these exams and are qualified to prepare students. Training is delivered by Holly, a highly experienced school entrance tutor and member of the Owl Tutors team.
Nicola qualified to teach English in 2006, and holds a PGCE from Edge Hill.