Bristol Tutor

Teenage son or daughter (Y10/11) lost confidence, motivation or the belief that they can get the most out of their Maths and/or English GCSE? Introduce them to me :)

I have had 15 years of private tutoring experience with this age group and know how to turn around 'immature', under-performing, anxious or disenchanted students in these core subjects.

I love to step in at this stage in a young person's development and be a completely new influence, role model and mentor to them; someone other than parent and teacher who can form a fresh, independent and empowering working relationship, just when they need it. I address in a subtle way, and aim to wind down, some of the limiting attitudes and beliefs they may have built up about themselves, their subjects or their teachers - eg 'I'm rubbish at / can't do Maths/English', 'I hate Maths / English' or 'I don't like my Maths / English teacher' - which can so affect their potential and general well being at this highly pressurised time.

I represent a REAL breath of fresh air for most teenagers! I have never considered becoming a school teacher, despite a lifelong passion for teaching. Both my own kids are home educated, and I feel very well attuned as to why any young adult might be struggling in our current schooling system. As such I can speak their language, win their trust and openness to learning with me in a way that is founded on self-leadership, maturity, mutual respect & enjoyment.

Simply put, the problem with most teenagers approaching their GCSEs is that they aren't taking enough responsibility for their own learning. I can really help them step into that, to take on this new level of maturity and to alleviate the pressure on them and on all others around them - not least you parents!


“Henry tutored my son for his GCSE English Literature and Language in small group sessions. My son said his sessions were enjoyable and he always came back buzzed and inspired. Not only that, as a result he got As in both subjects!” - Joanne Scofield

“Many thanks Henry - Maia texted to me today to say, ‘English Really good!!’
First time I've heard her say that - so thank you so much for supporting her. I feel a bit sad really that with your one to one support she has gained so much - things that she hadn't got from being at school... ... I'm grateful she had the opportunity to work with you.” - Alison H (via email)
(Result: A)

“Henry worked with my daughter (who could be described as a recalcitrant* student) during her GCSEs. I feel it was his endless patience and skills as a teacher which enabled her to re-engage with her studies and go on to achieve her GCSEs.” - Yusuf Ahmad, Lecturer at UWE, Bristol (via Removed)
*recalcitrant - ‘having an obstinately uncooperative attitude towards authority or discipline’

“Henry was so nurturing, inspiring and fun, that it was a big contrast to the pressurizing teaching our son was experiencing at his school. He had lost a lot of confidence, and Henry was able to convince our son of his capabilities, and helped to make him feel genuinely special and valued” - Nicola Heindl (via Removed)


“As in Maths & English, so happy :)” - Oliver, an online student, on results day (via Skype Chat)

“I just received my results and I am thrilled! Much to my surprise I got A's in both English Lit and Language and I wouldn't have been able to do it without you, I can't thank you enough. I really enjoyed our time working together” - Alex (via email)

“Henry was a fantastic teacher! He taught Maths and English to my brothers and I during our early teens. He helped us through our exam periods, teaching us exam techniques, and provided unique ways of learning maths in a friendly, engaging environment. I owe him for the best part of getting me through school examinations through his approach to teaching. He is a great mentor, teacher and friend. I highly recommend his services to both young and old” - Jack Palmer (London)

Personal Background:

I had a music career that always ran in parallel with my teaching. I was a singer-songwriter for 10 years, fronting several bands, the last of which was a duo with my wife, also a singer-songwriter, with whom I now have 2 amazing children, Willow & Albert (aged 6 & 5). My last project in 2015 was touring India in a 10-piece band project, called Massive Vibe Live! Now all my energies and passion are poured into supporting, teaching and empowering teenagers (and my own kids :)

I live with my family in self-built, eco, community housing in Montpelier, Bristol, co-parenting and homeschooling with 4 other families and other friends. This is where I also teach face-to-face, in a beautiful garden-facing, private room above out flat. All students either come to me here or we work online.

I play 5-a-side football every week and love surfing, camping and bonfires in the garden :)

Tutoring Experience

I have been an Independent Private Tutor, since 2007 and am now one of the co-founders of 'Indie Tutors', an online tutoring network that offers CPD and training programmes to independent tutors through Zoom video conference

I have had over 100 private referrals from top London Educational Psychologist, James Stevenson MA MSc

2012 - 2014 I was a specialist Private Tutor for Cotham & Redland Green Schools (Bristol) SEN Depts

2000 - 2007 I started out working for these agencies: The Tutors Group (London), Bright Young Things (London), Bristol Tutors

Tutoring Approach


For almost all the English students I have ever taught, what is highest impact in grade terms, and most sorely needed, is simple essay-writing technique: how to respond to an unseen question under pressure and create a solid plan and argument and execute the writing of it including all the elements the mark scheme most rewards. This bounces grades up from 3 to 5 or 6 to 8. Whatever the standard, I have never met a student that didn't need essay-writing technique and 1-to-1, bespoke, private tuition is such an effective way to give them that platform for all written exercises and long format questions (in all subjects).

Literature students need to commit to reading all their set texts (or their enjoyment and capacity to do well will both be severely limited) and build up a bank of 30-60 quotes for texts where it is a requirement that they justify their argument with evidence from outside the extract.

Language students need to know what each question's mark scheme rewards and practice with each type of questions whether it be about structure, evaluating, analysing language, summarising etc . But most of all, they need to do well in the essay writing aspects, usually descriptive and persuasive. Often the marks for these essays comprise half of the entire paper! So again, my essay-writing technique instruction and emphasis perfectly covers these requirements for Language and Literature.


Maths students come in all varieties, so it is harder to generalise as to what is most effective in tutoring them. However, all Maths students that I have met in the past two years are struggling with the increased difficulty level (new 'AS Level' topics that have come down to GCSE) and the problem-solving aspect of these new 9-1 papers. Suddenly, knowing the topic (even when you've mastered one of these harder A Level topics) is not enough because the question can be phrased in such a way that it's not obvious what the topic even is! I have become very adept at enabling students that come to me regularly to be able to enjoy and embrace all the challenges of these new 9-1 papers, not to throw the towel in the minute they don't 'get' a given question but to think around it, to explore, to try things and wait for the question to open up. In some cases, for example, this could just be a brave leap to use algebra, where it is not explicitly requested, but mostly it is just the ability to hang in there with a question you don't at first understand, to re-read it (sometimes a number of times), experiment and apply aspects of what you do know and see what happens.


I place primary emphasis on the relationship with the student. If they like me and the way I teach and they want help then that's all we need to get the best results. I have all the expertise in teaching both these core subjects for all the major boards, all I need from them is the openness and willingness to learn, and to learn with me.

I focus on empowering the student to lead as much as they can on what is needed week-to-week; to help me devise the best and most responsive programme for them and to keep letting me know whenever they want to steer it in a new direction. No one knows, or can know, the needs of a student preparing for exams better than that student themselves, nor do you get anywhere near as good results if someone else is attempting to hold this overview for the student. They are the ones piecing together all of the teaching, tutoring and homework in the end, and pulling it all together for the exam, so it's really essential that they are the ones in the driving seat.

I like my students to turn up knowing what they want from me each week and I train this up gradually in the more passive students. Of course I always have a never ending supply of my own suggestions and lesson plans for them but the best is being completely responsive to the student and having them lead on it and take responsibility for their own learning and development throughout the week. GCSEs are the first time, in fact, in a student's life when this is implicitly demanded of them, which is why they can be such a challenge to a student's maturity, such a hurdle in their development.

LanguagesEnglish (British), French, Greek, Latin
AvailabilityWeekends, Weekdays (all times)
References Available On File


Edinburgh1999BachelorsPsychology 2:1

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Subjects taught
Entrance Exams
Study Skills