Fiona’s approach to tutoring is highly specialised and has been developed over the many years she has been a full-time tutor. She considers every student as an individual who has their own way of learning. She helps them to discover how they learn and she uses a wide variety of techniques to enable them to study on their own and become less and less dependent on her for assistance. Eventually for those preparing to sit exams, their self-confidence is sufficiently boosted and their study skills are so advanced, they can almost teach themselves from the relevant textbooks. By then her job is nearly completed and she is only needed to troubleshoot problems as and when they arise, keep the student’s self-confidence topped-up and guide them through the process of revising and preparing for the forthcoming exams.
Fiona has been a full-time, self-employed tutor since 1981 and over the years she has developed a comprehensive portfolio of core subjects and teaching skills that have made her a well-respected and much sought-after tutor in Oxford. She has been described as being “worth her weight in gold” and she has achieved her personal goal of being able to tutor any student in any of her subjects at any level.
My Life as a Tutor
During the early 1980s I worked as a self-employed tutor for various tutorial colleges in Oxford and became Head of Physics for EPC Greene’s Tutorial Establishment and Head of Chemistry for Brown & Brown Tutorial College. I quickly gained the reputation of being an excellent tutor in Physics, Chemistry and Maths A-levels and built-up a tutorial business where students came to me directly.
I soon established my own tutorial college ‘Private Tutorials’ which I ran for over 10 years whilst continuing to tutor. I provided students with tutors in subjects I did not teach myself, arranged for students to sit their exams through exam centres, offered a full university application service through UCAS, administered Mock Exams and Mock Interviews, operated a monthly report system in all subjects for students’ parents and gave career advice to students. In 2001, I wound-down the college and reduced tutoring to just part-time. I wrote a Numeracy Pack containing five workbooks for Oxfam international staff (2005 – 6) and edited and proof-read the ‘Wedding Bible’ for celebrity wedding planner & TV wedding doctor, Sarah Haywood. I have such a passion for tutoring that even during my sabbatical year of 2006 – 7 to celebrate 25 years tutoring I still tutored two days a week.
Over the years that I have been tutoring, I initially taught A-levels and Oxbridge Entrance then extended this to GCSEs, the Key Stages and Common Entrance as demand for tuition in these levels grew. I have established the reputation of having a special gift for teaching the young students from the age of 5 years-old upwards. It is interesting to note that as I have become more skilled as a tutor, I have shifted towards tutoring the younger ones. I consider this to be a natural development because in my opinion, teaching the young ones requires more skills and imagination than I had when I started out over 35 years ago and these are things that I needed time and experience to develop. I now feel I can tutor any student at any age and at any level.
Fiona has given nearly 100,000 tutorials and has taught children with a wide variety of backgrounds. The identities of past students shall not be disclosed, however in no particular order she has taught the children of ambassadors, diplomats, eminent scientists, artists, authors, columnists and broadcasters; the son of an internationally famous sculptor, who is now a famous artist in his own right; the son of a famous singer while she took the leading role in a musical in Oxford; a talented young lady who is now an MP; the daughter of a Dame.