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Our Team

Our Tutors and Examiners

Patricia Warner

Patricia is a highly experienced teacher, having worked in state schools for thirty years. She has also been an examiner for exam boards for twenty five years, which has significantly enhanced her teaching skills. She has seen the common errors students make in exams and uses this insight to improve her students’ approach to their exams. As an experienced examiner, Patricia was employed by OFQUAL to trial the new GCSE questions and review students responses to ensure the newly proposed questions were accurate and appropriate. Patricia is very passionate about teaching, and her students’ learning and engagement are her top priority.

Kevin Thomas

Education is in Kevin’s DNA. His father was a headmaster and his sister and wife were both teachers. After graduating with an honours degree in mathematics from the University of Southampton, Kevin qualified as a teacher working in a London comprehensive school. He then decided to change career direction and spent 30 years in the IT industry. 10 years ago he returned to education teaching and lecturing mathematics. Kevin has two grown up daughters.

Marian Shepard

Marian is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Assessors. She is an experienced teacher, specialising in English, and the retired head of a renowned independent junior girls’ school achieving top level national ranking academic results at 11+.

Marian is also an ex-Key Stage 2 chief marker with experience of assessing across the 4 – 12 age range. This has included working with Pre-school/Reception children in the school environment, assessment of pupils from Reception through KS1, KS2 and KS3. In addition, this role also required contributing to the development of tests including writing of modules as well as giving feedback on the performance of pupils in test situations.

Marian's career has allowed her to contribute to making the curriculum more accessible to children of all abilities – a privilege which she greatly enjoys.

Keith Watkins

Keith is an experienced specialist teacher of English at KS3 and KS4 who enjoys supporting the development of each student to achieve their full potential. He sees assessment in all its forms as key to recognising each student’s success. As well as making use of assessment for learning in the classroom, Keith is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors and has held a number of senior assessment roles at national level for KS3 and GCSE English. He has a wide range of assessment experience ranging from Early years through KS1, KS2, KS3 to GCSE as an assessor, marker, examiner, test developer and question paper writer. He is keen to share his understanding of assessment and how students can achieve success in tests and examinations.

Our Expert Teachers

Alana Merrills

An experienced Year 6 practitioner, Alana is very familiar with the common misconceptions and errors made by pupils when facing challenges both within the National Curriculum in day to day learning, and within a test environment. Having worked across the Primary range, prior to Year 6, Alana is able to understand and appreciate the vital role every year group plays in successfully equipping pupils with the skills and life experience necessary to succeed in their academic journey. Alana has a passion for guiding and supporting others in their Literacy curriculum, due to her role as a specialist practitioner in Literacy, whether that be advising with text selections, or training colleagues on how to utilise successful, engaging methods that teach key Literacy skill. With her training and assistance, Alana always hopes to provide purpose, meaning and most of all, joy, to pupils, and teachers.

Carla Szadowski

Carla is an experienced and passionate primary school teacher and leader. She has been in school leadership for 10 years. In this time, she has led and supported school improvement from special measures to good and beyond. Carla has also mentored many trainee teachers to join the teaching profession. She is passionate that all children deserve the same experiences and life chances regardless of their background. Her experience in teaching ranges from initial phonics in nursery, across the Early Years and KS1 to more detailed text composition and analysis ending in KS2. Carla especially enjoys children’s literature and enjoys sharing stories for learning and enjoyment.

David Page

David, a Specialist Leader in Education, has 16 years teaching experience in primary schools. Specialising and currently teaching in Year 6, David has taught in schools achieving in the top 5% nationally or with significantly above average progress measures. He wants to use his extensive knowledge and experience of KS2 to help to develop a platform to enable every child to go onto flourish and achieve when they leave primary school.

David Wilson

With eight years' experience working as a systems developer for two blue chip companies, Dave brought a zeal for applying technology in the classroom when he entered the teaching profession in 2007. In addition to his role as Head of Mathematics in a high-achieving school in Bury, he is also a Specialist Leader of Education providing support to other schools. Dave has worked for Pearson for six years as an examiner marking GCSE papers. A father to two school-age children, Dave believes that access to high-quality, online learning resources is fundamental to promoting independent learning, enabling students to realise their full academic potential.

Heather Holmes

Heather has been a teacher of English for almost 11 years, having previously worked in journalism and PR. As a Director of English, she works for a multi-academy trust in the north of England, working with Y11 students to help improve their results in their GCSE English and English Literature exams. She is also an examiner for GCSE English Literature and so is aware of the key messages students need to succeed in their studies. Heather’s passion is reading - she believes that reading well is the key to improving outcomes and transforming children’s life chances. She is also a doctorate student, studying for a PhD in Education with the University of York. Her area of research is the reading habits of English teachers.

Simon Tomlinson

With over 20 years’ experience teaching, training, mentoring and supporting children and youth with diverse cultural backgrounds and educational needs, Simon enjoys motivating people to succeed. As a Director of English, Private Tutor, writer, speaker and voiceover artist, he is acutely aware of the powerful fusion of rich knowledge, creativity and life skills. Father to 3 children, Simon relishes every opportunity to transport students beyond classroom norms and their own expectations.