Helen Chaplain is a superbly gifted English teacher. Despite her obvious intellectual credentials, she was just as comfortable supporting a small group of GCSE students struggling their way towards a grade 4 or 5 as she was stretching the most able A-Level students. She was extremely popular with students and parents alike throughout her time at The Grange School. I would have no hesitation in recommending Helen’s help in supporting any student at any stage of the educational process for English: I know that she will provide expert and professional support that will inspire, motivate and build confidence, skills and subject attainment.
Andrew Crook, Deputy Head (Academic), The Grange School, 2014-2019
Helen taught me through GCSE and A level, while also helping me to apply to Oxford to read English Language and Literature. Helen asks astute questions which guide you towards new ways of thinking around problems. Her levelheaded assurance is matched with a realistic perspective: she clearly outlines what you need to do, with an intuitive understanding of how she can work with you to do it. These qualities are unfailingly supported by encouragement and confidence, which demonstrate her care for both her students’ abilities and their wellbeing. Now that I’m approaching the end of my course at Oxford, I often reflect on how Helen’s tutelage was instrumental in improving my academic ability and, crucially, in helping me to enjoy the work that I do.
Helen has been tutoring my (year 12) daughter and (year 10) son for about 3 months now. They have covered so much during this time, that it’s hard to believe it that it hasn’t been much longer. A quick chat with me, my son and daughter enabled Helen to quickly identify and align our collective goals and prepare a bespoke learning plan for each. After each lesson, Helen sends me a detailed summary of what has been covered, the key learning points, tips for improvement, copies of marked work (often marked at very short notice) and a list of the work to be completed and returned to her before the next lesson. These summaries are always positive and encouraging and my children find them extremely helpful in keeping them on track and focused. Another excellent facility that Helen provides, is a drop box for each of my children. These contain resources tailored to their needs, such as links to bespoke YouTube videos with Helen’s analyses of texts which my children work through at their own pace. The drop box also includes journals, articles, notes and study guides to extend and increase their (wider) knowledge of subject areas, enabling them to develop their own thought processes and lines of enquiry. These approaches maximise the benefit derived from each lesson as all the lesson time is spent providing teaching, feedback and discussion.
Helen is an excellent teacher with a seemingly limitless knowledge of her subject area which she can instantly recall. Her professional , skilful expertise and intuitive and caring rapport puts her students at ease, building their confidence and empowering them to fulfil their potential. Extremely conscientious, Helen goes above and beyond to maximise her students’ success and responds very promptly to any queries I might have. I wholeheartedly recommend her.
I should also add that tutoring via Zoom has been a revelation! Screen sharing etc. ensures that e-tutoring is in no way inferior to in person tutoring. In fact, my children prefer it (as do I) as it provides convenient and instant access to the best support, regardless of geography and without the need for mum/dad’s taxi!
Caroline L - parent of Y10 and Y12 students (David & Emma)
During my experience as a Sixth Form student, Helen provided me with a strong balance of both academic and pastoral support. Her ability to engage with my personal goals was astute, and a style of teaching tailored individually to me ensured I could achieve my ambitions. Alongside my study of A-Level English Literature, Helen helped me to develop my own style of critical writing, whilst also pushing my ability to think laterally. Both of these skills have proved invaluable, not only in public examinations but also as I continue to pursue my study of English within Higher Education.
Helen is the most talented teacher I’ve known. She had complete command of our A-level course and marking system, to the point where some students achieved 100%. Helen would challenge more able students with extra books and articles, expanding our knowledge with more complex ideas. No matter what ability, all students were taught to achieve their full potential with kindness and enthusiasm.
I would never have got into Oxford without Helen’s help. Based on my interests, Helen guided me through my personal statement. She would suggest books and authors and ways to organize themes and ideas. Helen thoroughly prepared me for the ELAT exam with past papers and mark schemes, making me confident for the real thing. Her organisation of mock interviews was invaluable. I was as prepared as I could possibly be.