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  • (6 reviews)
« Perfect! Catherine has been tutoring my sons in KS3 for six months now and I... More »
« Perfect! Catherine has been tutoring my sons in KS3 for six months now and I couldn't been happier with the result. She is very patient with them even though they often forget her instructions or tips. Catherine motivates them in the way that I could not do that they do not think about cancelling a lesson despite their busy schedule. One of my sons was recently complimented by his English teacher at school on how well he is doing in class, which came as a surprise for both my son and me, but boosted his confidence which is quite needed as he heads to the GCSE. »
1st lesson free!
Verified profile and diploma
Response Time 2h
Lessons offered by Catherine
  • Individual
The lessons will be held
  • at her home
  • By webcam
Taught subjects
  • Academic English
  • Literature
  • Creative writing
  • Poetry
  • Middle School
  • Sophomore

Inspirational English Tutor, Oxford Double First, 25 years’ teaching experience. Boost your child’s confidence, enjoyment and results! Handwriting help is given, since much schoolwork is now typed.


COVID-19: All lessons on webcam now - and they work brilliantly!
A Note On Handwriting In These Strange Times:
Handwriting is very important, with exam grades given for handwritten scripts. Watch my video below to see how I help! I am spending some lesson time on making sure that pupils' handwriting is clear and legible, even under timed conditions. Pupils in these COVID times are now typing much more of their work than before. This has great advantages, and I make full use of them in my online lessons. However, I also make sure that my students write some work for me by hand.
Also, I can mark their handwritten work online, as I have the stylus pen and the software to do so. With these tools I can also draw diagrams and cartoons to help students to visualise a difficult or complex idea. Words are wonderful, but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words!
My overall aim is to motivate, inspire and boost confidence as well as impart knowledge. More than ever, this matters, as lockdown is tough on the young. Whatever support they are getting from their school, there is nothing like the undivided attention of a teacher who can engage with where they are, gauge where they need to be and help them get there in a way that is rewarding, constructive and imaginative. We will have a few laughs along the way, too!

I teach Years 7, 8, 9 and GCSE English Language and Literature.
In all I do, I aim to spark a love of words and confidence in using them.
I encourage enjoyment of reading and a resilient attitude towards mistakes, which are great teachers! In my lessons I use books on an exciting range of topics, because English flings open doors to the real world as well as to imaginary worlds. Exam technique is important, so of course
I teach it. However, my teaching also aims to inspire curiosity, creativity and confidence. These are the things that win success - in exams and in the life beyond!

I have a Double First in English from Oxford, am a fully qualified teacher and have and twenty-five years' teaching experience.

My teaching materials often use cartoons to make things clear and memorable. I've also made a miniature Globe Theatre to help bring Shakespeare to life, for example in the little video which you can watch below. You can watch more of my teaching videos on my YouTube Channel, 'pavertutor'.

- Which subject(s) do you teach?

English Language and Literature, at Years 8 and 9 and GCSE. I am not currently teaching A Level. From the apostrophe to Shakespeare and everything in between! Poetry - how to understand and enjoy it, and then how to analyse and compare poems. Shakespeare - how to peel the words off the page and enjoy them as amazing plays. Reading - how to understand and appreciate all forms of writing, from a match report to a Gothic novel. Writing - how to get an idea in the first place, then how to nurture it, plan it, and write anything from a professional business letter to the first page of a detective novel. Exam technique - how to tackle exam questions step by step, and then give the examiners what they really, really want.

- Tell me about your qualifications.

I have a Double First in English Language and Literature from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford and a P.G.C.E.

- How much do you charge?

Each lesson costs £41. Note - 1st lesson not free, as the pink icon states.

- Where do you teach?

I teach in Teddington, Middlesex, in the borough of Richmond-upon-Thames. This is an area southwest of London.
Teddington Rail Station is ten minutes' walk from me. There are direct trains to Central London, Waterloo and to Twickenham (7 minutes), New Malden (11 mins), Richmond (13 minutes) and Wimbledon (18 mins). The R68, 285 and 281 buses stop 5-10 minutes' walk from me.
There is free on-street parking in my road and in nearby streets. If you are bringing your child by car and have a long journey home, you are welcome to wait in my comfy living room until the end of the lesson!

- When are you available?

Weekdays, both during the day and after school. So if your child is home educated or not in full-time education, I can help. I teach during school terms and in the holidays. Weekly, fortnightly and one-off lessons are all possible. Occasional Saturday mornings.

- Which ages and levels do you teach?

Years 7, 8, 9 and GCSE. I am not currently teaching A Level.

- Which qualifications do you prepare your students for?

GCSE. I am familiar with the new English Language and Literature GCSEs and aim to make these clear, rewarding and exciting for students.

- Do you have a personal message for students?

Never give up! However, if you are stuck, take a break. Give your mind a rest. Play a song; play with a dog; get some fresh air. Then try again later or the next day with a refreshed mind. If you are still stuck, get in touch. To see first if you like the way I explain things, take a look at the little video up here on Superprof.
As well as being delighted with their exam results, I want all my students to enjoy some amazing books and also to relish using words themselves, in their own unique ways.
I want my students to look back on a course that they enjoyed, and to look forward to a lifetime's pleasure in words. I don't want them to spend two years worrying about what the examiners want. That's my job. I can see how a pupil's work hits the exam criteria. Your job as a student is to do your best and enjoy the journey!


One of our best tutors! High-quality profile, qualifications verified and response guaranteed. Catherine will plan your first lesson with care.


- What kind of experience do you have?

Twenty-five years' experience of teaching secondary-school level English and English Literature. I have mostly taught in London but also abroad. I am familiar with the new GCSEs for English Language and English Literature. I always taught A Level in the past but am currently taking a break from it to focus on the new GCSEs.
I taught for 11 years as a full-time English teacher in both state and private secondary schools. Then I became self-employed and have taught for over ten years as a private tutor, with some supply teaching to keep my finger on the pulse.
I use cartoons to make things clear, fun and memorable in my teaching materials. These are on the Times Educational Supplement (TES) Website for teachers worldwide to download for free. The TES has given some of my resources five stars, made me a 'Recommended Author' and chose my 'Shakespeare's Hat' resource for their 'Best Shakespeare Resources' feature in April 2017. I've also made a miniature Globe Theatre to help my students to explore their set texts as play scripts written for an exciting outdoor stage, rather than just as tough old exam texts! Once you know what you will see onstage in any given scene, the meaning of the words starts to become clearer. You can also play with different staging and interpretations. It's a play - so play with it!
For nine years I wrote articles about teaching for The Times Educational Supplement (TES). This informs my teaching of the GCSE English paper: I can help students to write and analyse newspaper articles because I have written them myself.
Spending an hour with one student means that I can give clear and detailed feedback. I mark written work using three coloured pens: green for good, red for wrong and purple for next steps. This is motivating and effective because students can see at a glance what they're doing right and how to improve.
I teach at home with all my books and papers to hand. This allows me to select from over twenty years of teaching in one hour! I can see what a student needs and would enjoy, and I can give it to them there and then. I have past papers for exam practice and books on a huge range of subjects. Encouraging reading and helping each student find their own way into it is one of the most important parts of my job. I don't just "teach to the test". Of course, exam technique is crucial to success. However, it does not dominate my teaching. I think that the more you enjoy English, the more you will improve. So I always aim to choose interesting texts for each individual student – and above all, to send them home in a good mood, ready to tackle the next step!

- Do you have an up-to-date DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service, formerly CRB) Certificate?


- Where and with whom did you train?

I trained as a teacher at Kings College, University of London.

- Do you belong to any professional organisations?

The Tutors' Association.

- Tell me about some of your current students.

My students are interested in a huge range of things, from sport to music, science to politics, fantasy to fashion. Each student brings a world of experience that sheds a unique light on this endlessly fascinating subject. Some play an instrument; this helps them to analyse poetic rhythm. Some love football; sports journalism fires their interest in good writing. Others enjoy science: they are often quick to spot the structure of a text, and variations on the pattern. English is a chameleon subject - it can adapt itself to whoever is studying it!

My students are better at English than they realise. So my lessons aim to boost confidence by taking a step-by-step approach. Enjoyment and clarity are central to this process. I think my students are enjoying the work because their parents tell me so! After all, English is a subject based on things that we do for pleasure, such as reading books and watching plays. Of course, my students all receive help with rigorous attention to accuracy, answering the question, structuring an essay and much more. However, they also get enjoyment and confidence – because that's the best way to improve.

One of my students said to me, "I'm making my own connections now, instead of just learning them." That sums up what I want for each student: to be able to study independently, making their own discoveries. It's great preparation for university and beyond.


Rate for online lessons : $56/h
Lessons offered by Catherine
The lessons will be held
at her home
Taught subjects
  • Academic English
  • Literature
  • Creative writing
  • Poetry
  • Middle School
  • Sophomore

Catherine's resume

• BA (Oxon) English Language & Literature - Double First
• P.G.C.E.
• DBS Certificate (formerly CRB)
• The Tutors' Association & Writer for The Times Ed (TES) (concealed information)

The 6 reviews on Catherine
  • 5/5

All our ratings are collected by us and are in confidence, they correspond to a real experience.

Perfect! Catherine has been tutoring my sons in KS3 for six months now and I couldn't been happier with the result. She is very patient with them even though they often forget her instructions or tips. Catherine motivates them in the way that I could not do that they do not think about cancelling a lesson despite their busy schedule. One of my sons was recently complimented by his English teacher at school on how well he is doing in class, which came as a surprise for both my son and me, but boosted his confidence which is quite needed as he heads to the GCSE.

5 recommendations


I am delighted to be able to act as a reference for Catherine; she made a very positive impact on both my children. After sessions they returned home uplifted and inspired, confident to continue to study alone with an interested and positive attitude.


Catherine tutored my daughter, Rose, for her AS and A2 English Literature. She provided expert guidance on all aspects of the curriculum, always informed by her formidable knowledge of the texts. Catherine encouraged Rose to develop her own ideas, and Rose's understanding and confidence increased enormously as a result. Her marking of written work was particularly helpful in supporting Rose to express her ideas fluently.


I first met Catherine Paver when we taught together at the Lady Eleanor Holles School in Hampton where she was a well-liked and respected member of the English department. She has since individually tutored my three children who all liked her friendly and personal approach...Catherine thought carefully about what texts would interest a 12 year-old boy and succeeded in both challenging and engaging him...Catherine is a reliable, caring and understanding teacher who responds to the needs of the individual.


Catherine has managed to really inspire Amy, and has built up a very good relationship with her. Catherine has given Amy some very good techniques and skills to improve her work. Catherine is a very organised and structured tutor and most of all makes the lesson fun and positive. Amy's self confidence has been boosted massively; she really enjoys learning with Catherine and we would definitely highly recommend her.


The results have been amazing, not just in English but in all the essay-based subjects my daughter Issey did for GCSE. Catherine did so much to help Issey improve her writing style, understand and interpret literature and proof read her work in an effective way. Issey has become a far more confident writer and has learnt skills that will carry her through school and beyond. There is no question that she would not have achieved as she did without Catherine's help. I cannot recommend her highly enough.

Interview with Catherine

QUESTION 01 | 08
When did you develop an interest in your chosen field and in private tutoring?
Catherine — After eleven years of full-time classroom English teaching, I realised that although I love the classroom, what I really love is one-to-one teaching. Students can ask me questions with less self-consciousness when they are away from their peers, so it's easier to help them. I can also find out more quickly what they are interested in and tailor my lessons to suit them.
It's a joy to see them gain confidence and discover talents and interests
they didn't know they had.
QUESTION 02 | 08
Tell us more about the subject you teach, the topics you like to discuss with students (and possibly those you like a little less).
Catherine — English Language and Literature is a rich and endless subject. You can read, speak and write about anything. Recent topics in my lessons include:
stress, volcanoes, perfume, murder, witches, surfboards, friendship,
mountains and ghosts. This subject lets you explore both the real world
and imaginary worlds, to engage with our own times
and meet the minds of those that have gone before us.
I find great satisfaction in helping students to shine in their exams and gain results they hardly dreamed they'd achieve. I do this by igniting their interest, making lessons fun and helping them to find some personal connection with the subject so that they enjoy independent study. I draw cartoons,
e.g. The Essay Dinosaur, to make abstract ideas clear and approachable.
What I do not do is constantly drill them in exam technique, as I think this
just kills the subject for them! Of course I have the end in view, and exam technique is a crucial part of that. However, it is just as vital that they enjoy learning and have confidence in themselves. Those are the qualities that create success - both in the exams and far, far beyond them.
QUESTION 03 | 08
Did you have any role models; a teacher that inspired you?
Catherine — Yes - Mrs Hern, who read us exciting, alarming science fiction stories when we were eleven. Mrs Kirman, who showed me that rigour and detail were enjoyable things, because you learnt more, built your vocabulary and could then read anything you wanted! She also said I'd make a good teacher.
Dr Nicholas Shrimpton at Oxford, who, while a brilliant academic, also talked like a normal person. He never hid behind technical jargon. Books, stories, language and writers were alive for him, reflections of life, and they are to me.
QUESTION 04 | 08
What do you think are the qualities required to be a good tutor?
Catherine — The ability to make lessons so enjoyable and rewarding that students look forward to coming and never beg their parents to let them stay at home!
Genuine interest in each student and the expertise, flexibility and humour to help them. A knack for making the subject a great adventure, not a dry and dreary obstacle course. The ability to help students to see their mistakes as little teachers, and to be resilient about the ups and downs of learning. After all, if we didn't make mistakes, we wouldn't laugh nearly as much as we do!
A good tutor loves learning, and really enjoys seeing their subject through the eyes of the young person they are helping.
QUESTION 05 | 08
Provide a valuable anecdote related to your subject or your days at school.
Catherine — "I'm making my own connections now, instead of just learning them from the teacher." A student said that to me in her last lesson before her exams.
I was very happy to hear it, because I want students to find something in the subject that matters to them. Then learning becomes personal and creative
as well as independent - and there is no stopping them after that.
QUESTION 06 | 08
What were the difficulties or challenges you faced or are still facing in your subject?
Catherine — Exam technique can take the place of imaginative experience in some of today's classrooms. This is counter-productive - it does not foster a love of learning or self-confidence. We all know that each student has something new to bring to the world, but each student needs to know this, too. So instead of making them keep measuring themselves against the exam board's assessment criteria, I give them interesting things to do. While they are busy fighting dragons, flying over forests and landing on Mars, I'm the one who's reading the exam criteria and helping my students to dazzle the examiners.
I actually quite enjoy reading those prescriptive exam criteria and thinking, 'Right. How can we spin this into gold today?'
QUESTION 07 | 08
Do you have a particular passion? Is it teaching in general or an element of the subject or something completely different?
Catherine — Creativity - Putting something in the world that wasn't there before -
e.g. a story, a character, a poem, an idea, a song. Whatever it is, you made it. I have written and performed storytelling songs in the folk/acoustic/country style on guitar for over twenty years. The stories in the songs have come from my travels in the American West and Southwest.
Exploration - Following a spark of curiosity and watching it become a passionate interest, even a career. Students come to me at an age when they are still being told what to learn about, yet in the meantime developing interests and skills of their own. I love to give them a taste of different subjects and writers, to lend them books, so that they can start choosing what they want to learn about. These steps towards intellectual independence motivate them and prepare them for later study and their lives beyond it.
QUESTION 08 | 08
What makes you a Superprof (besides answering these interview questions :-P)?
Catherine — I love this job more than I did twenty-five years ago because I'm better at it now. Every young person I meet teaches me something new, so it never loses its freshness and magic.

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