English with Dr Sophie Breese
A former English teacher at St Paul's Girls' School and lecturer at Oxford University, I have been working as an independent English tutor since 2011. I offer online tutoring for all levels of English literature, including home-schooling; 11+ entrance, GCSE, iGCSE, A Level and university-level English; English language to GCSE; Oxbridge entrance; general enrichment for all ages; and creative writing lessons. In December I introduced a service called 11plusConsultancy providing advice and an assessment to year 5/6 students for their application to independent schools in the UK.
My students come from all backgrounds and are based all over the world: the UK & elsewhere in Europe; the Middle-East; India, Pakistan, Hong Kong & Singapore; New Zealand & Australia; the United States.
In 2020/21, I worked with 11 families for the 11+ exam for independent schools, 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 City of London Girls’ School and Godolphin, but chose a good state school instead. Wonderfully, I am still working with three of my 11+ students from 20/21 doing enrichment lessons; and two are continuing with me post 11+ in 2023. My six home-schooled students got 5 A*s and 1 A between them last year for English literature iGCSE; 3 of them have won scholarships to Headington School. My four Oxbridge students from 2021 are now at Oxford or Cambridge, and my most recent Oxbridge student is now at Cambridge; all are reading English.
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.
The 11plusConsultancy service was terrific and the perfect solution to help our daughter prepare for the 11+. Sophie gave us an honest and clear assessment of our daughter's English level, which was extremely productive and helpful. In addition, Sophie's radiating positive energy, enthusiasm and evident passion for teaching is infectious, and our daughter loved working on improving and expanding her knowledge. The lessons achieved far more than preparing for the 11+; they gave our daughter the confidence and curiosity to investigate further, to want to learn more. Thank you, Sophie, for your tremendous help and support.
Mother of student (11plusConsultancy, now enrichment lessons) 2021. Student got into all schools to which she applied including St Paul's Girl's School, Latymer Upper, and Godolphin and Latymer.
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
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 two former students - 11+ for daughter (2014), later GCSEs; 11+ for son (2020). 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
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