Lucy Cawkwell, Osborne Cawkwell Educational Consultants
“Jane has worked as a self-employed private tutor through my agency since 2004 and has taught students from the ages of 5 to 18. She is an excellent tutor – she is bright and energetic; motivated and empathetic. She has worked with a broad range of students from highly able ones to those who struggle in an academic environment – and with each she has been able to form a relationship that encourages and inspires.”
Amelie’s Mother – 11 + Maths and English
“We needed a tutor because we wanted to move our daughter from the French to the English education system at 11, and both her Maths and English skills weren’t quite up to scratch. We left things rather to the last minute, and three weeks before she took the 11+, Amelie tried some practice papers. She only got around 30%, and I was thinking that this was never going to work. Jane was recommended to us by a friend and we hired her to tutor Amelie intensively up until the exam.
Jane was extremely good at explaining things. Maths was not Amelie’s strongest subject, but Jane was very patient with her, and never gave up trying out different ways of helping her to understand. Under the stressful circumstances, the whole experience was really as good as it could have been. Jane and Amelie developed a good relationship, and Jane managed to strike just the right balance between friendliness and authority. She has a great sense of humour, and, although doing Maths and English for five hours a day could probably not be described as fun, Amelie was always happy to see Jane and never complained about the work!
The effect of the tutoring was remarkable. Amelie went from 0 to 100 in a very short space of time, and we succeeded in getting her into a very competitive private school in London, and from there she went on to the Sixth Form at Westminster. When Jane started working with Amelie, her familiarity with English literature, and studying English in school was very limited, and now, seven years later, she will be going to Oxford to study English! I would, and several times have, recommended Jane to my friends. She is professional, flexible, easy to contact and punctual. Most of all, she manages to combine humour with academic rigour, has a really good grasp of the material, and is very gifted at communicating it.”
Amelie – 11+ Maths and English
“What I remember most about that time was really struggling with Maths. The French system was way behind the English one, and when I decided to move to English school, I didn’t even know what a percentage was! I had a lot of difficulty finding patterns, and didn’t really have much of an intuitive understanding of quite basic things, as my brain works much more in pictures than in numbers.
Jane taught me all these really cool tricks to make things accessible to me – different ways of figuring things out for people who are not mathematically minded. She has a real knack for making something quite complicated seem quite simple, a way of narrowing down a concept that seemed scary into something I could grasp. It was a really different experience than with most teachers. She really got to know me, and quickly managed to work out where the gaps were in my thinking, and then did activities tailored to that, rather than just following a text-book.
She also managed to make quite a stressful situation seem quite relaxed. I felt really insecure about Maths, but the way she approached it never made me feel like an idiot, and I learned to be far less scared about making mistakes. I wouldn’t say that Maths ever became my best subject, but working with Jane definitely helped me pass my exam, and in the long-term, I think it made me much more confident.”
Katia – AS and A2 English Literature, History and Politics
“Jane started working with me intensively the Easter before my AS exams and carried on seeing me for a couple of hours every week until I’d finished my A2s. Because of my dyslexia, at the time I was having a lot of problems transferring what I was thinking onto the page. I had a lot of ideas, and they were all linked together in my head, rather like a big ball of spaghetti, and I found it really hard to work out exactly how they were all connected. This made it difficult to remember stuff, and also to work out how to structure my writing. I used to find starting an essay hellish, and remember sitting there for hours just staring at the page, and getting very frustrated. It made me feel ignorant, because other people I knew didn’t seem to have this problem. And I felt like I was under a lot of pressure, because people had high expectations of me, and kept telling me I was bright, but then I couldn’t do this basic stuff.
Working with Jane really helped me. We did a lot of mind-mapping together, and because I think visually, this helped me to work out the central points, and the other points related to it…to separate out the strands of spaghetti. This was really good for structuring the information so that it was comprehensible and intelligible, and also helped me retain information – I used this method for exams for the rest of my education. The other thing was the empathy. Instead of telling me that I was wrong, or that I hadn’t quite got it, Jane was really good at taking what I was trying to communicate, and helping me build on it. I respected her, because she was a good teacher, and so, the fact that she respected me too, and was interested in what I had to say, gave me a lot more confidence in my ability to express myself than I had felt in a school context.
The most important thing about tutoring was the trust. I looked forward to Jane coming, because I felt like here was someone who was going to take me seriously, and I think this gave me a self-belief that took me right through my time as an undergraduate. Our sessions never really felt like teaching, they felt like sitting around and playing with ideas. It was the first time I found academia really exciting, and that was quite unique. Not a lot of people can really show you how to think, and it changed the course of what I did. I got two As and a B in my A2s and ended up studying International Relations and got a First, and then after that I went on to do a Masters. Now, all this time later, I’m working as a journalist.”
Britney – Philosophy Undergraduate
“Jane is a great teacher. She has a youthful spirit, but at the same, a mature mind full of ideas, and the creativity to express them. She is passionate about the material, and is very good at inspiring us to be interested too, and she uses lots of interesting activities to get us involved. I will be forever grateful to Jane for giving me a greater appreciation of life and confidence in my abilities and influence in the world. Attending her class was the best decision I made regarding my college education.”