Home-Schooling & Enrichment
Home-schooling is one of my most rewarding experiences. So far I have worked with individuals who have not been traditionally schooled for many reasons - medical, professional (one was an actor/model), academic. I love getting to know my students and making informed decisions about syllabi - an opportunity to provide a totally bespoke experience. I now work with a home-school collective based in Oxford providing three different classes for three different age groups.
English lessons shouldn't just be about examination preparation. I have provided enrichment lessons for many students from the age of 8 to 66. Topics have included an Introduction to Poetry; Anglo-Saxon Literature; many of Shakespeare's plays; Dystopian Literature; the Gothic novel; creative writing; Feminist Literature; the Interwar Novel; Victorian Novelists. My particular favourites include introducing younger readers to the joys of Dickens and the absurd comedy of Bottom and his gang in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'; and disgruntled teenagers to the perfection of the Sonnet and the darker side of Chaucer's troubled pilgrims.
Sophie has taught both my sons over the last 8 years initially so that they could pass the 11+ exam and then subsequently because they enjoyed her teaching so much. Even during the stresses of exam preparation Sophie was a sweet and encouraging presence hilst remaining rigorous and thorough and, importantly, successful! The fact is that she is an excellent and inspiring teacher: after the exams my youngest son asked to continue the tuition because he enjoyed the range of writing and reading that Sophie brought to the lessons. Sophie loves her subject and this passion has been incredibly beneficial for both my sons' appreciation of literature and the skill with which they are able to use the English language.
Parent of boys. I worked with the family for 9 years, 11+ for both boys, enrichment for the younger, then home-schooling him to 9s in both English GCSEs, A level support, Oxbridge, 2022. He is now at Cambridge reading English.
I worked with Sophie at St Paul's when she was the leading teacher for Creative Writing. It's no exaggeration to say that she is one of the most inspiring colleagues and teachers I have encountered. Why? She is full of ideas and energy; if I was ever looking for inspiration or an exciting way of approaching fairly dry exam-related material then it is to her I would turn. I certainly have Sophie to thank for the confidence I now feel in delivering lessons on all aspects of creative writing. Sophie loves talking about literature and exudes passion from every pore - this makes her such good company in the classroom and the staff room. A literary priestess to her students, I should confess to holding her in similar seraphic regard!
Former colleague from the English Department at St Paul's Girls' School
I boom-mumble I bass-blow
I hull-heavy I big/slow
I boat-bump I limpet-skin
I soft-sink I sky-swim
I sea-search I salt-swallow
I bone-backed I fluke-follow
I gulf-cross I listen-talk
I moon-map I wave-walk
I tail-turn I time-keep
I ship-wreck I song-seek
I blue-blood I grumble-sing
I fish-heart I dream king
Sophie Stephenson-Wright was one of my students. She came to the Creative Writing Group at St Paul's Girls' School which I ran for 5 years. Here Sophie discovered she particularly liked writing about the natural world. She was one of the Poetry Society's Foyle Young Poets of the Year winners in 2008 along with fellow former student Emma Jourdan; she was one of three highly commended poets for the Tower Poetry Competition in 2009 along with Emma Jourdan and another former student Beth Aitman; she won the BBC Wildlife of Year Young Poet competition in 2008; and in 2010 she was chosen by Poems on the Underground to represent emerging young talent with this extraordinary poem, 'Whale Song'. In 2016, this poem was included in The Emma Press Anthology of The Sea edited by Eve Lacey. Thanks to Sophie's success and that of other students, I was invited to become a Teacher Trailblazer by the Poetry Society in 2009.