Preparation for 11 plus entrance
While teaching English at St Paul’s Girl’s School between 2002 and 2011, I wrote, marked and assessed the school's English comprehension and creative writing eleven plus entrance. In other words, I know about the 11+ paper; I understand the logic behind it and the kinds of things we were looking for when selecting students to attend St Paul's.
Demand for my teaching is so high that I have decided to offer a new service as of 2019. As well as my usual 11+ preparation lessons, I am now providing an 11+ Consultancy Service which draws on my previous experience. If my regular slots are all taken - which they are at the moment - then I can offer this service as an alternative. See below for more details.
My track record
I have spent the last eight years, as an 11+ tutor, helping students understand what they are being tested on and how to find the best way to show off their abilities in English. I will not give false promises; indeed I believe that pushing a student into a school which is too academic is not fair on the child.
I have helped my 11+ students gain places (and scholarships) at top independent and selective grammar schools including St Paul’s Girls', Hampton, Latymer Upper, Godolphin and Latymer, City of London, Royal Masonic, Haberdashers Aske's, North London Collegiate, Notting Hill and Ealing, St Helen's, Northwood College, Francis Holland (both), Putney High, Harrodian, Queen's College, Wycombe Abbey, Cheltenham, South Hampstead High, Sutton High, and Nonsuch High.
I am proud that I have been able to make my English tutorials with my younger students something to which they look forward. Many have said how much they have enjoyed discovering English as a subject, the learning platform Scribblar being a real bonus; some have carried on having lessons with me into their secondary school as both support and enrichment; I am still in touch with many of the families I worked with at the start of my online teaching career.
Who I work with
I am selective in the students (and parents) I work with and accept a maximum of four a year. I am looking for parents who are prepared to listen to my advice and for students who do not need spoon-feeding but will genuinely flourish with the kind of teaching I provide. If your child attends a prep school, I will quite probably undo a great deal of what they have been taught and you will need to be open to that. I do not prepare robots; instead I work on making space for your child to express themselves fully and to thus enable them to shine among hundreds of dull over-prepared candidates.
My New 11+ Consultancy Service
I am excited to be able to offer an entirely new service from November 2019, one that as far as I know does not currently exist in this form. I have found that I have had to turn down requests as often as several times a week for 11+ tutoring and when I do so parents often ask me if I can give their children a few pointers or would like to know if I can give them advice on the kind of school they should be applying to, based on their abilities in English.
My new service offers the following: a one hour tutorial with your child based on two existing St Paul's Girls' School English comprehension papers, both of which I marked at the time when they were formally set; a 30 minute follow-up conversation with you, the carer or parent; two new papers written by me, based on the St Paul's model; a second hour-long tutorial at a later date which will be based on the two new papers; the possibility of a mock interview with a former colleague who used to conduct the 11+ interviews at St Paul's. Payment for this is extra. If I have spare time, particularly in the Christmas holidays before the exam, I may also be able to do some extra lessons with your child for an extra cost although this is not guaranteed.
My aim is to give you honest advice about the ability of your child and the realism of your expectations. You may not like what you hear and you need to be prepared for this. I will also give you targetted advice which you can work on with your child or advise any tutor you then decide to work with subsequently. I have been right with my predictions on all bar three occasions in the last 8 years: one failed the computer test at St Paul's for some bizarre reason; another pleasingly got into St Paul's when I predicted that she wouldn't; a third did not get in to St Paul's although I made it clear to the parents that it would always be hit and miss - she was brilliant but erratic.
You will note that I focus on St Paul's Girls' School here; as such this consultancy is only available for girls since this is my expertise. I have been right with all my predictions for all other London day schools and some boarding schools and as such I feel my help can be applied to all schools. I do not help with the North London Consortium papers and if you are focusing on City of London Girls' then let me know and I will adjust the papers slightly.
Because of my experience, expertise and energy, plus my track record, I am more expensive than nearly all the 11+ tutors you will find. Please bear this in mind before you contact me. Although I provide a sliding scale of charges for the rest of my tutoring, I only do so for 11+ teaching if you are applying for a full bursary or grammar school places. My new 11+ Consultancy Service is extremely expensive, although I will offer this for half price for anyone applying for a bursary.
Applying to have regular lessons with me
I AM CURRENTLY FULL UNTIL JUNE 2020. If you want to be added to my waiting list, please get in touch.
Once you have read the above and understood my approach, please contact me giving me a bit of information about your child and why you feel you need some extra help. If I have an availability which works for you, then I will ask your child to do a comprehension paper for me so I can identify the kind of help they need; if I feel that I can make a difference, I will suggest a free trial lesson which is for all of us to establish if we can work together. My charge will include regular email updates, preparation of all lessons including bespoke materials for your child, and the lessons themselves.
Please note that the 12 schools from the North London Consortium have changed their 11+ exam requirements and there is no longer a specific English paper. You can see which schools are included and read their statement here. I am not able to tutor students for the new paper.
Before we found Sophie Breese, various experts were telling us that my daughter, although bright, had little chance of getting into St Paul's, as the competition was so fierce. Sophie, however, immediately saw my daughter's potential, took her on with great enthusiasm and guided her all the way to a place at St Paul's (and other top independent schools). And this was done with very little homework, with a great deal of fun and via Skype! After dreading her previous tutor's lessons, my daughter positively looked forward to Sophie's. It was phenomenal.
Parent of student, year 6, who was awarded places at top London schools including St Paul's Girls' School and Godolphin & Latymer, Feb 2017
Sophie was quite simply a godsend. From the word go, she started nurturing in my daughter a love of the subject through exploring fun ways to play with language, reading and discussing a particular book together over a period of a few weeks as well as setting short but very effective creative writing tasks for homework. As the weeks went on, Sophie opened my daughter's eyes to some of the quality of her composition work and to her mature interpretation in response to some of the comprehension texts. Sophie's positivity was infectious and gave my daughter faith in her ability and a determination to succeed. Several time zones could not stand in the way of Sophie's sense of humour and amazing teaching style and before long, my daughter was tackling past papers on a weekly basis and was confident enough to learn from her mistakes. My daughter had offers from all the six schools to which she applied, including two academic scholarships, one to a London day school and another to a boarding school. She will be heading to her first choice school, St Paul's Girls' School, in September. I am grateful to Sophie not only for my daughter's stellar results in the exams but because Sophie led her to discover a real love for English.
Parent of student, year 6, who was awarded places and scholarships at top schools including St Paul's Girls' School, City of London and Wycombe Abbey, Feb 2017