English with Dr Sophie Breese
Online English tutoring for 11+ and upwards
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.
Many schools now require their applicants to complete computerised tests as a major means of assessment. I still believe that a hand-written paper with space to create and explore is the best means of assessment for the top schools and I hope that schools like St Paul's and North London Collegiate will retain this format. But it is good to practise and Atom Learning are an excellent user-friendly learning platform, with whom I have done some work. If you click here, you will get a discount for your first month!
My track record
I have spent the last 11 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.
My predictions have been 95% accurate; on only a few (usually explainable) occasions have students I felt were a good fit for St Paul's Girl's School not got in. 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, Wimbledon High, Wycombe Abbey, Cheltenham, Queen's Gate, Queen's College, 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; five students who I prepared for 11+ are still working with me, three of whom are now in year 8 at SPGS and NLCS; 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 five 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 enable them to shine among hundreds of dull over-prepared candidates.
I am currently full for weekly lessons until September 2024 and since I reopened my waiting list in June 2022, I now have 12 people waiting for slots and have closed my waiting list again. I am really sorry not to be able to help you!
My New 11plusConsultancy Service for Years 5 & 6
I created this service in 2019. I turn down requests several times a week for regular 11+ tutoring and when I do so, parents often ask me if I can at least assess their daughters' ability in order to point them in the right direction. It is available for students in Year 5 and in their first term of year 6. In 2020/21, I worked with 11 families, providing two of them with free sessions since they were applying for full bursaries; in 2021/22 I worked with eight students, two of whom were bursary students. Out of these 19 students, 10 went to St Paul’s Girls’ School, two to Wycombe Abbey, two to North London Collegiate, two to Latymer Upper, two to Godolphin and Latymer. The last was offered places at several schools including City of London Girls’ School and Godolphin, but chose a good state school instead. I am still awaiting results for 2022/23 exams!
This service offers one or two sessions and involves both you and your daughter. I will select papers, mark them in detail and give feedback, with advice on how to improve. 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. If I have spare time, I may be able to do some extra lessons with your child for an extra cost although this is not guaranteed; similarly I may be able to mark papers at an extra cost.
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 do not help with the London Consortium or ISEB papers although I can point you in the right direction for practice, and if you are focusing on City of London Girls' or North London Collegiate then let me know and I will bear this in mind.
Please contact me for more information for the Consultancy only.
Maths, General Comprehension, and Interview Practice
I am delighted to say that I have asked former colleagues at St Paul's Girl's School to provide similar services to me. Go to my Facts and Figures page for details.
Because of my experience, expertise and energy, plus my track record, I am more expensive than nearly all the 11+ tutors you will find. My new 11plusConsultancy offers a premium service so please bear that in mind before contacting me. I do, however, provide consultancy sessions for those applying for full bursaries.
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