English with Dr Sophie Breese
A former English teacher at St Paul's Girls' School and lecturer at Oxford University, I now work as an independent English tutor. I offer online tutoring for all levels of English literature, including home-schooling; 11+ entrance, GCSE, iGCSE, A Level and university-level English; most levels of English language; Oxbridge entrance; basic to advanced English literature for mature students; and general enrichment.
I am delighted to be able to announce an entirely new service: 11+ Consultancy. Because - I am afraid! - my regular 11+ teaching slots are currently all taken, I have introduced a special package which includes a lessson with your child based on two St Paul's Girls' School papers; a 30 minute debrief with you, the parent or carer; a follow up hour-long lesson based on two SPGS-style papers written by me. Optional extras include the possibility of a mock interview by a former colleague who used to conduct the mock interviews at St Paul's and further lessons with me if I am available, particularly during the Christmas holiday before the exams. Go to my 11+ page for more information.
My current students are based all over the world: the UK and elsewhere in Europe; the Middle-East; Pakistan and Hong Kong; the United States; and New Zealand. My students tend to come back for more: this year I taught GCSE English to a student I had first encountered for 11+; and I currently teach five younger siblings of former students, the families of some of whom I have now worked with for all eight years of my tutoring career.
2019 has been a great so far. All 11+ students got places (and scholarships) at top London day schools including St Paul's, City of London, Francis Holland, Putney High, Godolphin and Latymer; and all my GCSE students did really well with some particularly brilliant results in Literature. My 'mature' student in England is now working on a novel; my 9 year old in Pakistan has finished the unabridged 'Romeo and Juliet' and we are now working on 'The Tempest'; my Oxbridge students are just recovering from sitting their entrance exams; and I am about to resume lessons on Shakespeare with a third year Oxford university student whom I first taught in 2011.
I have been working as a private English tutor for over eight years, first in London and in the last six years as an online tutor from my base in South-West France. I taught English at St Paul's for nine years and at Oxford University for five years. I was awarded my doctorate from Oxford in 1998, my PGCE from the Institute of Education in 2002, and in 2009 I was made a 'Teacher Trailblazer' by the Poetry Society.
I love English. I am lucky to have grown up in a family of English graduates, to have lived near good bookshops, libraries and theatres, and to have been taught by inspirational English teachers at Godolphin and Latymer in the 1980s. Not everyone is so fortunate but I believe it is never too late to fall in love with novels, poems and plays. I will help you to do better than you think is possible in your entrance exam, your end-of-year exams, your GCSEs, your A levels, even your degree, but I will also show you that English is an exciting, vital and enriching subject. I hope that after working with me you will decide that a Shakespeare play is worth seeing at the theatre because it is a play written by the greatest playwright we have ever known rather than a collection of words you are studying in class.
Sophie came into my life at a point where I began to doubt my abilities as an English student. Incidentally, this was after I had finished school where I had excelled in exams, but felt stunted in terms of my broader intellectual development when it came to applying to university. I was initially apprehensive at the prospect of using Skype for tuition, but as said by others, it is really like being in the room with her. I can only say that I’ve encountered a fair few highly qualified tutors, but none with the warmth nor commitment that Sophie has put into helping me. She is incredibly well-versed in English, to an extent that I hadn't seen with my own teachers at school, or anyone for that matter. Her breadth of knowledge and experience has enriched my essays, and the discussions I have had with her have greatly improved my confidence in practical criticism. She has encouraged me to read more carefully and be more discriminating in my responses, but more importantly, she has helped me understand why I want to read the subject at university. It also helps that she is very down to earth, which really makes a difference when you’re talking to someone who knows a lot more than you. I recommend her in the highest terms.
Student who received unconditional offer for Cambridge, Jan 2017
For me, Sophie was not just a tutor; she was a mentor. She would always ask me how I was getting on generally and offer sound advice. Her lessons were great fun and very interesting. I never got bored with Sophie. I will always thank her because it was her, more than anyone, who got me places at some of the best schools including St Paul's Girls'.
Student, Year 6, who gained places at St Paul's Girls' School and Godolphin & Latymer, Feb 2017
To say that I would recommend Sophie is an understatement. She is simply an inspiration and to be taught by her is an opportunity for your child, however able. Whether for enrichment, for further stimulation for a very creative child or for examination preparation (which she manages to do without sacrificing the joy in reading and discussing literature), I feel that any child’s confidence, self-belief and appreciation of the subject will improve and with that so will their performance.
Mother of a former online student (for her full testimonial see later on this site)
You were one of the loveliest and most enthusiastic people ever to teach me, and I always looked forward both to your lessons and to creative writing group. You were so supportive and constructive about creative writing and helped me - and others - develop the confidence to do things like enter competitions. You always managed both to be encouraging but not patronising for people in the class who weren't convinced about the merits of studying literature, and inspiring to people who were already excited about it. To have a teacher who knew their subject inside out but was also friendly and approachable was amazing and I was definitely not the only person to hugely appreciate all of the energy and care you put into teaching us...
Former student from St Paul's Girls' School