Need a helping hand? Call now to speak to an academic advisor: 0203 962 1468
Call now to speak to an advisor: 0203 962 1468


Private English and History Tuition in Aberdeen

Since finishing my joint honours in English and History at Aberdeen University, I have been a part-time private tutor and a part-time writer.

Reading and the creation of narratives have been my passions for as long as I can remember. Sounds cliché and trite, but it's the darn truth. I have invested heavily in the wealth of literature and poetry: from epics and plays to sestinas and iambic tetrameter. My passion lies in the analysis of the creative process. Another joy is teaching the art of rhetorical debate, classical argument and evaluating evidence - Yes, you're right, I must be a hoot at parties... Just don't get me started on US politics or philosophical stances as I'm leaving the session - we'll be there a while.

As I've mentioned, aside from writing, tutoring has been my full time profession This is not just an add-on job for me. I have dedicated the last six years making sure the students under my wings get the best chance.

NOTE: I do not/will not wear a suit unless paid extra (£5.00 p/h) - As an un-published writer, any suits I wear become dishevelled as soon as they rest upon my shoulders. It is curse of our kind and can follow many published writers to the grave. See Neil Gaiman for details.

If you're interested in Creative Writing lessons, please consider that in the same subject band as English.

Tutoring Experience

For the last four years, I have been teaching regular classes at a local private school as the head of English and History department. Unfortunately, these classes have now come to the end, but it was an invaluable experience in empathising with how difficult real teachers must find the job. And I only worked with the school 4 hours a week. They are heroes. But my experience primarily lies in tutoring as a speciality.

I have been tutoring privately in Scotland for over nine years at both Higher and Degree level. In fact, I was only hired in a school because of this profile.

I have kept up to date with all changes in the curriculum and approach the exams with old staples and new methods.

As far as I'm aware, most of my students (over 100 in the last two years) have either seen a reasonable grade improvement, usually up by 1 -2 grade boundaries. Over the last eight years, no student has achieved below a C, with the majority fitting within the A-B range. Proud to say more A's than B's.

Tutoring Approach

I'm not trained as a teacher and there are elements within my style of tuition that would not be considered conventional.
Still reading? Good. What I've just said is not a bad thing.

When it comes to English and History there are two things I consider fundamental.

The first is creating a meaningful dialogue which is centred around understanding rather than teaching the test. In total I have five years of study in English and History, and a broad experience across a lot of texts. Approach-ability and respect is key in this regard, there are topics in the syllabus (depression, suicide, sexuality, morality and genocide) which are generally quite difficult to discuss in a large group. Especially to get a deep understanding of those issues. When I teach a subject, I cover the basics and the contexts, and only then proceed on to the complicated debates at the heart of these subjects. Often I've found this is what my students find most engaging and different. I've even had some students begin enjoying poetry: this is perhaps my best recommendation.

Secondly, I do not coddle any student and tell them they're doing well if they're not. I'm never harsh but I will always tell a student the absolute truth as I see it. However, I'll also tell them what they need to do to improve. I am not afraid of the red pen and students shouldn't be either. It was only by having all of my mistakes pointed out to me repeatedly that I was able to make serious progress at University.

Although I aim for a student to improve their grade, my main concern is outfitting my students with transferable skills* from both subjects. One of the most gratifying moments in this line of work was when a student told me, my help with their writing had allowed them to get into a coveted Art program.

Outside of the subjects themselves, my main selling point is that I can improve essay/writing style and research methods. I'm fastidious and obsessive in both regards and I like to push students to reach their full potential on every essay.

As part of any contract/agreement, I will be happy to proof-reading and advise on all essays/creative pieces a tutee may have. As long as they get them to me within a reasonable time-frame and don't mind the aforementioned, yet beneficial, dreaded red pen.

There is no student I have had where there has not been potential for improvement. Even if I find a student is already capable of an A, I aim to push them at a higher level. If a student is capable at Nat 4/5 or Highter, I begin to prep for the next year or beyond. On that note, I am also available for University prep over the summers.

If during our first session I feel I cannot help, I'll be the first to tell you and give you my earnest recommendations on where to proceed.

If any travel will regularly take over twenty minutes, I will have to charge for travel time in increments based on my hourly rate eg. 20 minutes = £6.30

Any cancellations should be made at least 24 hours prior to when the lesson would commence. Failure to do so (excepting emergency circumstances) will result in the session being charged as if it occurred.

*(you know I haven't read/typed that sentence since I was at school, "transferable skills", my inner-teenager just cringed)

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


Aberdeen University2012BachelorsEnglish-History
Online Course2013OtherWriting For Fantasy

James's Feedback

Published feedback
Unpublished feedback (Usually negative)0
Rating from 4 references


Subjects taught