Frequently Asked Questions


Are you a qualified teacher?

No, my tutoring role comes after several years spent lecturing, running professional seminars  and teaching accountancy students, combined with a love of mathematics developed through studying the subject for a mathematics degree and now as a postgraduate student.


Shouldn’t any tutor be a qualified teacher?

The role of a tutor is quite different to that of a teacher. I am not there to replace the teacher but to add to their role by bringing a different way of engaging with the subject and enabling the student to consolidate their knowledge. Very often I will be asked to focus on particular areas of maths poorly understood by the student first time around whilst the teacher has had to move on to something else. Teacher-training focuses on a classroom setting and the issues it creates, none of which face me as a tutor.


Do you have a DBS clearance?

Yes, I have Enhanced clearance.

Why don't you travel further than Buckingham or Brackley?

For many years now I have covered a much wider area - out to Milton Keynes, Towcester and Bicester. I have decided that this now involves too much travel and many wasted hours a week sat in a car. I am now restricting how far I travel and spending more time tutoring online to help those students further away.


What days and times do you tutor?

I am available only on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, with the last session starting around 7pm. Of course, availability is subject to slots already taken by current students.

What about during school holidays?

Quite a number of students like to see me in the holidays, most particularly February and May Half Terms and Easter. This is a good time for more intensive exam preparation and catching up on the previous term's work. A few students, who are at boarding school, only see me in the holidays.


How often would you want to hold sessions?

I now only offer regular slots to students who will see me once or more a week. Others may prefer to just see me in the run up to exams. It is very much led by what you want to get out of the sessions and this is something we can discuss at the first session. With coaching for other students, for example for job entrance tests, sessions will depend on the requirements of the particular case and we can discuss these in advance.


Are the sessions on a fixed day and time?

Yes, as far as possible. This is most convenient for both of us. If, for some reason, you need to change for a particular week I will do my best to find another slot that week that works for us both. Sometimes it may be necessary for you to permanently change the day and time – for example to fit in with sports commitments, school plays etc. Again, I will do my best to accommodate this.


I only want sessions every other week/monthly. Can that be arranged?


I have decided no longer take on students to see me less than weekly. Experience has shown that less frequent tutoring is not as effective. Also, I have always found it hard to fill the teaching slots in the alternate weeks.


Can I change session days/times during the year?


I will always do my best to accommodate a change, but once all my available session times are full this may prove difficult, unless other students are willing to change too. Note too that I will group students on particular days who live in the same area, to reduce my travel costs/time; this will limit the choice of alternative slots.


What if I need to cancel a tutoring session?


I would ask that you give me as much notice as possible of any cancellation - whether through sickness, school event or otherwise. I will endeavour to offer a replacement or this might allow me to swap your session with another student if that works for you. Failing this, the session remains chargeable.


Do we come to you for the sessions?

No. I travel to you or hold sessions online. Students are more relaxed in their own home. It also saves you the inconvenience and cost of travel.


Where in the house do you prefer to work?

Any living room with a table to sit at and that is free from distraction will be fine. I find that kitchens and dining rooms are best, as long as they are not being used by others at the time.


What does my child need to provide at each session?

Just a calculator and pen/pencil. Also, their current school maths exercise book if possible.


Will you set homework?

I never set homework, sometimes to the dismay of parents. I take the view that students already get more than enough homework to do. Also, I want the sessions I give to be seen as something to be looked forward to and not just an extension of school maths lessons.


Can I pay you by cheque?

I prefer not to take cheques just because of the inconvenience of paying them into the bank. There are more details on payment on the My Charges page.


What help do you give with exams?

The student should have access, through the school, to a vast collection of past papers. Working through as many of these as possible is the key to exam success (maths needs lots of practice to be good at it – you can’t just read a textbook and memorise stuff). I will help show how to approach exam questions, deal with time issues and show techniques for answering particular questions.


Do you tutor students for STEP/AEA papers?

I do not help with these, but have contact with an excellent tutor who specialises in this. I would be happy to put you in touch.


My child just lacks confidence with maths. Do you know how to deal with that?

Lack of confidence is the biggest single reason students come to me. It is something I can relate to as poor teaching left me with a feeling of being useless at maths by the time I was 16. It was only during A Levels I realized I was good at it. Lack of confidence left me hating maths lessons in school. I am always conscious of that when I tutor students and pay most attention to showing them how to overcome such feelings. Greater confidence always leads to better grades and a better relationship with the subject.

For online tuition:

I have never tried online tuition before. What if I don’t like it?

You have a free 20 minute trial session to find out if it is for you. If not, you have lost a bit of time but have hopefully learned something so it is not time wasted. I suspect you will come away wondering why you never tried it before.

What equipment do I need?

A webcam, headset or speakers and a microphone. You will need to install Zoom conferencing software. This free and easy to download. I provide information about this before the first session. If you have a graphics tablet it would be useful but is certainly not necessary.

What happens if we lose connection?

This should rarely, if ever, happen but if it does and we can’t reconnect that session we can look at rebooking another slot to make up the rest of the hour. If not, just a pro-rata charge would be appropriate for the shortened session. If that is less than 15 minutes, no charge will be made.

I have material I want us to look at. How do we do that?

If you can provide this in pdf/jpeg form you can upload it to the whiteboard or email it to me and I will upload it.