Hello there! We are Catherine, Bobbie and Heather, your tutors.
New students will be tutored personally by Bobbie, Heather or myself
(of course if you prefer, you can also choose to be tutored by one of us)
After completing my BA, PGCE and MA at Liverpool and York universities, I became a professional writer for a couple of decades until my son came along and priorities changed! For several years I became a full-time mum and I have educated my son at home since he was five. I am very familiar with the joys and challenges of home-education and the frustrations of school-orientated teaching materials!
I am currently employed as an Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing and Humanities at the Open University. I have several years experience as a private tutor and have taught most age ranges, preparing students for GCSE and A level English.
I have also worked as a tutor in Creative Writing and A level Critical Thinking at the National Extension College and have been an examiner for A level English Literature for one of the major exam boards (where I was commended as being an 'Grade A' examiner). I continue to write and dream of the day when I might be able to earn Jackie Collins money by writing Philip Pullman words. I also dream about becoming children's book illustrator. Some days I just dream about getting the washing up done before I go to bed! I love painting, music and anything that makes me laugh.
When we moved to a former woollen mill in deepest Carmarthenshire, and started to renovate it, I was in the process of completing my MPhil in English Literature (my subject was Charles Dickens and Christmas). Fortunately most of the renovations were completed by the time my daughter, Ruby, was born. I home-educated her for many years until she elected to go to school, where she is very happy. For the last 15 years our home has also been a language school, where we host overseas students who come to study and practise their English (some of them also pick up a bit of Welsh!).
I also work for a number of exam boards: I am Chief Examiner for Junior English Tests for EDI and I also moderate Entry Level English for WJEC. I also have experience of examining in English GCSE for WJEC. I am a writer and examiner of Junior and Senior English Tests for other exam boards.
My teaching work includes private tuition of GCSE and A Level English, together with a stint as tutor of English at the University of Wales. I have also taught A level English at Pontypool College and tutored GCSE and A level English at the NEC. I also tutor English privately to local children (my students say nice things about me, which is lovely!). I am very lucky to be able to work from home, sitting at my kitchen table looking out at the hillside (which is usually rain-drenched!). Catherine and I get together as often as we can, which isn't often enough, and reminisce about the good old days at Liverpool University.
I studied for a Diploma in Classical Studies, and a BA and MA in Literature with the Open University, before embarking upon a PhD with Nottingham Trent University. I am researching Thomas Hardy's use of dialect and metre in his poetry and am in my final year of study. I have had numerous papers of my research presented at academic conferences and published in journals. I thoroughly enjoy my research and am able to bring the knowledge and skills I have gained into my teaching of other students. Having studied for all of my qualifications via distance learning, I am fully appreciative of the benefits and difficulties involved in studying outside of a classroom environment.
I am also an examiner for Cambridge IGCSE English language papers, a role which I find challenging and rewarding. I have particularly enjoyed marking the papers of special needs students. I have personal experience of disability and am very sympathetic towards the obstacles caused by disability when studying and will try my best to help students overcome any difficulties they may have.
I have been the home educator of my young nephew, Jack, since 2010, which is something I really enjoy. We cover a varied and fun curriculum, which is supported by numerous fieldtrips such as visits to Legoland and The Natural History Museum.
We are also active members of the North Wilts Home Educator's group. I run a Book Club at our local library for members of the group, teaching children of different ages. We enjoy a themed session each time with related literacy activities combined with arts and crafts. Recently I really enjoyed being a judge for BBC Radio Two 500 Words Children's short story competition in 2012 and 2014. It was fantastic reading all the different stories that the children had produced ' they were so imaginative and fun to read. I am also a volunteer for the National Literacy Trust's 'Summer Reading Challenge', at our local library each year and particularly enjoy the feedback I receive from the children when they discuss the books they have read with me.
I enjoy all forms of needlework, particularly embroidery, and writing poetry and children's fiction when I have the time!