Over the years, many students and parents alike have written to us to express their gratitude.
Here are a few examples.

Orion Benedict-Anderson

I worked with James while retaking my physics, maths and chemistry A levels independent of a school and revision college. I truly can’t speak highly enough of my experience with him. James possesses every one of the traits an ideal teacher should; his patience, rigour, knowledge and genuine passion are off the scale. He provided total support through every step of the process, from personal statement all the way up to results day. There is no doubt in my mind that I could not have achieved the results I did (A*AA) without his help. I am so sincerely grateful for all that James has done.

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Jay Hardwicke
(Lady Hardwicke of Glencairn)

I would like to thank you – as I have in the past, for the many years of faithful and wonderful attention you have given to my own son in both his ‘GCSE’ and ‘A’ level Mathematics, both as his tutor and as Principal in preparing for other examinations. Words cannot describe our admiration and gratitude for our good fortune in having such a wonderful tutor and genius – no less – able not only to perceive the academic weaknesses but other strengths of students and further, able to act upon this knowledge and enable the students, including my son, to reach levels they had not previously thought possible in their work. You have opened the gate to their future success and they owe a debt they can never repay to you for this, for the confidence and the foundation you have given them to proceed and to study in their future careers and lives.

from the quality of the staff you have engaged, to the understanding and brilliance shown towards the students under your guidance, to the discipline you instilled into their studies and the self-evident results of this, turning around indifferent and lazy and discouraged students often to gaining University places and passing their examinations which their well-known schools had failed to do.

I entrust the remainder of my son’s Mathematics studies to you with absolute confidence and gratitude.

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Mrs Shehab

I have known James for the past 15 years when he has been teaching Maths and Physics to my children, Tariq, Suzy and Mona.

We are all grateful for the support he has given; he is a wonderful teacher, highly professional with loads of experience. James not only is a great teacher but encourages your children to love the subject, resulting in all three of my children wanting to study Maths for A-level and achieving grade As.

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Nancy Naidoo

James Layland is a brilliant tutor for both Science and Maths. He taught two of my children in year 10 and year 11 and gave them a lot of confidence in Science and Maths by making the subjects interesting. He found a way that they would both learn and remember the different topics in order to prepare for exams. They both enjoyed the process of learning with James and felt that they had really understood the work and learnt it themselves. I still cannot believe the results that they got in their exams! The work they did with James made a huge difference to their understanding – it was like a light being turned on, whereas they had been virtually in the dark!

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Lucy Ashdown

My son Sam studied A levels Maths and Physics with James from 2008-2010, the final year not in school. James achieved a remarkable transformation in grades, study technique, interest in the subject and confidence. Sam has now achieved above the necessary grades to go to York University.

James achieves these results through a mixture of strategies. He has the ability to build good relationships with the students having great insight into their personalities. He accurately assesses their abilities and devises study strategies that will work for them. He and Sam were able to find many areas of interest, not just within the curriculum, and James encourages this wider interest in learning. He provides a welcoming environment so that Sam always enjoyed his lessons.

James kept Sam focused and working hard over two years. He has instilled in Sam a belief in himself and study skills that will be invaluable in his continuing education and more generally in lifelong learning. He was always available to talk to any member of the family about any concerns. He went well beyond what would normally be expected of a tutor. I would highly recommend James for any student. We feel that we were very lucky to find James and we are extremely grateful for all his help.

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Hi James,

Because of you my son has decided to go to college.

He woke up this morning to give me the news – thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Love Mitzi, forever in your debt. Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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Tonje Baillie

James Layland taught me Physics and Maths A-Levels. I gained a grade A in Physics and a B in Maths and went on to study at Imperial College, where I am now. He is an excellent teacher, explaining concepts clearly, using analogies and always being patient. He manages to work at a pace which suits you, but still had plenty of time for past papers and revision. His courses were extremely interesting and helped to inspire my love of Physics.

As a headmaster he was the soul of the college. Always being accessible no matter what the problem was and easy to talk to, while always being able to keep order at the same time.

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Stephen Brandes

Thank you so much for the wonderful year you and your colleagues have given Humfrey leading to his successful grade A and admission to Bristol but a year that has been positive for Humfrey in so many more ways than academic achievement.

I have been enormously impressed by the qualities of the college you run. As a governor at King Alfred’s I have some insight into the range of issues and pressures in private education – you do a remarkable job and I praise and recommend you at every opportunity!

With many thanks again

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Selena Wynne-James

James is not only a fantastic tutor but a kind and welcoming person who makes sure to build a fun and supportive learning environment. He helped me enjoy and appreciate maths as a discipline rather than me fretting about its difficulty. He has continued to be the best at explaining complex ideas in maths, helping me from 11+ to sixth form! James enabled me to build confidence in my mathematic skills, so much so that I decided to take it as an A-level. The faith he had in me was invaluable because teachers at school tend to be less supportive and want to dissuade students from taking maths if they deem them ‘not good enough’. James also helped me meet a difficult grade offer for university – I needed an A* in maths to go and study PPE at LSE. With James’ help and goodwill I met my offer! I am very grateful to have had James support me throughout my academic journey and I will miss him 🙂 In the future I will definitely be going to him for more help!

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Rachel Tranter

I have known James for 7 years and he has tutored all 3 of my boys at some point in maths and the sciences. James has also provided tutors for us in many different subjects. As a maths tutor, James is exceptional. He has a unique ability to instill confidence in my children when they most need it. They will simply not accept anyone else. As a science tutor he makes subjects that are daunting fun. James is always available and is often there to provide support and advice. Through Elm Village Tutors, James is always able to provide first class tutors. He takes time to listen to our specific needs and understands different personalities and what is required. Our most recent experience of this was a request for a tutor to help my 18 year old son with his History A Level. He had just managed a D in his mock! He needed a tutor to help him with Russia,1941- 1991 and we were that specific. James found us a tutor who supported our son via skype sessions. Our son has just been awarded an A* in his History A Level and scored 100% in the Russia paper. what more can I say.

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R Bostelmann

I completed my a-levels in 1997 and failed to meet the grades I needed to gain entrance to my university of choice. I had already deferred a year to take a gap year travelling and to “find myself”. With the realisation that a solid education and good a-levels as a foundation to life would probably be more important than spending time on a beach, my parents and I decided that I could benefit from a revision course and re-takes 3 months later.

Traipsing around the many revision colleges in London, my mother and I became disheartened as many tutors said that they would give me a go but felt that my goals would be unattainable. We met James just days before the course was due to start, he was instantly enthusiastic about my prospects and said I could perhaps even set my goals higher.

The 3 months I spent with James were by no means plain-sailing, I was always going to have to undertake a huge workload, one that I had not been asked to complete before this time. Under James’s guidance I was taught how to manage my time and to prepare for my coming exams. James had a knack of comparing the syllabus to every day situations that I could relate to. We also had the added obstacle in that I am dyslexic and had difficulty taking in information. To overcome this, James set about learning how a dyslexic child can best be taught and how I would be able to compute the information he was to give me. This took a huge amount of patience at times, but I soon began to take to his new teaching methods. James found ways to make the classes I sat with him as enjoyable as possible, I took on brand new modules that we felt I would have more interest in and started to thoroughly enjoy coming to “school”.

At the end of a hugely rewarding 3 months I sat my exams and increased my results by 2 grades in all 3 of my A-levels, a feat that still impresses me to this day. During my time with James, he and his colleagues also guided me through my UCAS application forms and even after I had left his tuition, he spent some time campaigning for me within the University of my choice. I subsequently gained entry to Newcastle University to study Mechanical Engineering, something that was so far out of my grasp a few months previously. James’s tuition has given me a grounding for my career. Since I completed my degree at Newcastle I now have a job I thoroughly enjoy.

To this day over 10 years later James remains a firm friend and still a continual source for academic advice.

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Cindy Palmano

James Layland was my son’s tutor, primarily in Physics and on occasion Maths, from October 2003 until April 2006. He was a recommendation from a friend. I have always found him to be charming, professional, consistent, honest, reliable and authentic.

Through tutoring my son Buster in Physics, James transformed Buster’s relationship to learning overall. In James, Buster found a role model of someone who takes a real personal pleasure in intellectual pursuit, not to gain accreditation but as an end in itself.

In fact as a result of Busters obvious increased motivation, several of Busters friends followed suit and elected to study with James. This was not to do with parental discussion or pressure but entirely of their own volition, on Busters example. They wanted to enjoy learning physics and this is what they found when studying with James.

For me as a parent, it was invaluable to have James as a consistent support through the years spanning GCSE’s and A Levels. I would from time to time phone and discuss Buster’s progress not only as regards Physics, but in more general, pastoral care terms. I found him level headed, practical and I felt he had a good appreciation of who Buster was as a person.

It is rare to find a teacher who can both inspire, and yet also provide a thorough examination preparation. I am extremely grateful to have had the privilege of his acquaintance.

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Irena Anichshuk

James is the best teacher that I have ever had. His talent, to show physics and mathematics in a completely different light, made me look at these subjects from another perspective, and taught me to love and enjoy them. He can open students hidden talents and stretch their minds to the very limit. His care and belief in students earned me a place in Cambridge University to read Economics (where I am now). His talent to teach is priceless! I have enjoyed every minute of every lesson with James.

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Ann-Helen English

I feel I can’t start to write a reference before I apologise for not writing sooner! I really don’t know how to convey the huge difference your teaching made to Gabriella. As you know, Gabriella had all but completely given up on herself and was in truth hoping for the Math exams to just go away whilst she herself was hiding away. It is true testimony to your skill, dedication and ingenuity that you managed to turn Gabriella around in a matter of 4/5 months. Furthermore, it is nothing short of astonishing that Gabriella achieved a B in Maths and the Sciences (again with your help in Physics and Chemistry) given that she was predicted a D (at best!) and even more so given her deep reluctance in tackling these subjects! Whilst Gabriella and all of us were delighted with her GCSE results, what mattered just as much to me was the confidence you managed to instil in Gabriella regarding her own abilities. This, I am convinced, helped hugely with her other studies as well and resulted as you know in a neat string of A*s and an A! And now she misses her Maths lessons. You can’t get better accolade than that and we can’t thank you enough!

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Dear James and David,

We have just had Jamie’s AS results and he has done very, very well. An A in Physics and a B in History.

We could not be more delighted and thank you for your hard work and excellent teaching.

Best wishes


When we contacted Liz to ask for permission to use her comments on our testimonial page, she added;

Dear James and Wendy,

I cannot thank you enough for all the help you have given, Jamie passed his first year Mechanical Engineering after being convinced he wouldn’t and your work with him was crucial. You have the knack of explaining complicated concepts in a way that is understood and remembered.

I always pass your name on as the best tutorial organisation in London (you can use that too!)

Best wishes

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Alison Horton

I am very happy to have this opportunity to provide a reference for James, who with inspiration, stimulation and unwavering patience brought about a wonderful transformation in our son Will.

Let me explain. Will was determined to pursue A levels in Maths and Physics despite poor AS results. Up to that point he had always found schoolwork a bit of a struggle and we were surprised when he planned to continue after GCSE’s with such heavyweight subjects. His confidence was at an all time low when we asked James for advice. “Anything is possible” said James firmly.

Will decided then to leave school to be taught Maths and Physics by James who helped him over the next two years become a confident, mature, self directed student I could see that he was enjoying being educated probably for the first time. Much to his delight he obtained an A for Maths, B for Physics and has now completed his first year at Brighton University studying Mechanical Engineering.

James has an incredible ability to communicate with young people and bring his own enthusiasm for these two subjects to each lesson. He continues to take an interest in Will’s studies at University and lend further support if needed.

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Moritz Voltz

I have enjoyed working with James for many years. It wasn’t easy to make the change from working in a classroom environment in Germany to having private tuition in England. Especially in that time I found James very considerate and supportive. It helped me a big deal in settling in and finding my feet. His ways of teaching are second to none and I somehow regret not being taught anymore.

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Roxy Witteveen

I first met James when I was preparing for my 11+ exams, then again for my GCSEs and finally for my A-Levels. He helped me with maths in a way which enabled me to both enjoy the subject and always get the results I needed and better. I’m now going to read English at university, a process which he also helped me with massively. I’m so grateful for all his help and also his friendship over the years. I’m naturally more drawn to humanities and arts subjects, but James is a big part of the reason that I continued with maths through to A-Levels. Without him I honestly don’t think I would have done so well and I’m eternally thankful! 

I’m sad that this process is over, although my sister is still having lessons, and I know I’ll remain in touch with you, James. I’ve had many tutors over the years, and the natural style of teaching meant that I always left lessons feeling like I really understood the material. You have given me access to a subject which I wouldn’t necessarily have continued with. Thank you again for being such a wonderful teacher, I couldn’t recommend you enough to other students.

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Lucinda Gresswell

I just wanted to thank you for the boost you gave to Bella’s confidence just before her exams. In only three months she seemed to jump from possibly failing the common entrance to getting an outstanding A as her final result in maths. To achieve such results in such a short time shows that the knowledge was obviously there but you gave her the ability to access it. Thank you and see you next term when I hope you will be able to continue the good work with Samuel – who got an A in physics, by the way… Have a great summer.

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Louise Goodgame

During lockdown my son’s school relied on online resources with little or no virtual teaching which did not suit my son’s learning style. James delivered virtual sessions throughout lockdown boosting Louis’ confidence and ultimately resulting in 3 A* in physics, maths and further maths an A in chemistry and a place to study theoretical physics at UCL. We could not be happier. We are based in the Midlands but doing sessions virtually was a great success and I could not recommend James highly enough not just for the excellent teaching but also support through the university application process.

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Carolina Baillie

I have known James Layland for over a decade, initially as tutor and principal and now as friend and god-father to my daughter. I was originally tutored by James whilst suffering from ME (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). This condition had resulted in huge gaps in my education, and the lack of support from teachers and fellow students meant that I dreaded attending class even when my health permitted it. James overcame these shortcomings in both knowledge and attitude. As a tutor he was articulate, entertaining and infinitely patient. Whilst I was not able to pursue a serious course of study I was able to spend my good days in an environment where I was supported emotionally as well as being challenged intellectually. In short, James was a god-send.Years later, health recovered, I returned to College as a full-time student with James as my principal as well as my tutor. James taught me Mathematics at GCSE and AS level and effortlessly fuelled my enthusiasm for a subject that I had previously loathed. He was able to explain the material such that I both understood and enjoyed it. I cannot speak highly enough of him or his abilities.

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Rebecca Campbell

Dear James, I am writing to let you know that today Rosie was accepted at New College Oxford to read Physics. I cannot thank you enough for all that you did to help develop her love of Physics. I really don’t think she would have got there without you. Thank you, Rebecca 

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I have no hesitation in offering the best possible reference for James Layland as a teacher. He has taught my 2 children, both together and singly for 18 months. During this time, he has been unfailingly courteous and punctual in his dealings with me and constantly inspiring and stimulating in his lessons with my children. My son started School in January having been home educated before that. After 2 months at School, he decided he wanted to resume his Science lessons with James, as he felt he wasn’t getting enough Science at school. It is the Science that he learns with James that he regales us with at home. My daughter’s Science and coincidentally Mathematics lessons with James are far-reaching, catholic and always fun. Both my children go to his lessons with enthusiasm and return full of interesting information. We feel very lucky to have found James Layland and can recommend him with complete confidence.

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Ian Armour

Hi James,

After a successful set of GCSEs my dyspraxic son ploughed his AS levels badly. When his highly regarded fee paying West London school was unable to offer any remedial support, James Layland made the effort to find a set of tutors who were not only highly qualified but had the energy and personality to re-engage my son with his studies and enable him to gain the grades he needed to gain a University place in his chosen subject.

Thank you and best wishes.

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Ela Wynne-James

James has been my tutor ever since 11+ and has never faltered in his teaching method. He can always quickly identify what I struggle to understand in a maths topic or question and can consequently explain it very well and in different ways if at first I am still not sure. His pragmatic and thorough approach ensured that I was very confident in every single type of maths question that could come up before my exams. He also provides a reassuring environment so that you can make mistakes and ask basic questions. Without James I would not have achieved an A* in maths A-level. Thank you, James!

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Georgia Doolan

James has taught me Physics A-level since 2010. I can’t thank him enough for instilling a level of confidence in me that has played a crucial part in helping me in both my schoolwork and my exams. Apart from the invaluable assistance he has provided, it has always been a pleasure to spend time with James, who always brings an element of fun to a difficult subject. I truly hope I will be able to achieve my goal to study Medicine at Peninsula College, and I know that James has given me the best chance possible to achieve my dreams.

I can’t praise James without also mentioning Wendy, who organises everything behind the scenes and has been so delightful and welcoming during my many visits.

Thanks James, and I really hope I can live up to my potential, which wouldn’t have been possible without your assistance.

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Robin and Jane Bencard

James has taught and supervised the tuition of our younger son, Charles, for 5 years to success at A Level. He has been a real educator, at once drawing out and expanding the knowledge of his pupil and also refocusing him on the goal of the exams. His wide range of contacts ensures the right tutor being engaged to an individual pupil. He has also been invaluable in the process of applying for University. We are very grateful to James for all he has achieved with Charles, up to his acceptance to read Geology at Royal Holloway this year. We would recommend him to anyone looking for full or part time home learning at any level, and we frequently do so.

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Dear James,

Hope you are doing well.

I just thought I would let you know that Harshvardhan received an offer from Cambridge for Modern Languages (French and Spanish) this weekend. He is absolutely thrilled! Thank you very much for your help and advice.


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She got two A’s!! (she wanted to let you know herself, but we are in Canada at the moment and our Internet is down). She got 9 A’s and A*’s altogether. A’s in all Sciences and Maths. She is so happy. Thank you so much for helping her do this. She has worked so hard and learnt so much in such a short time. You made that possible. She will be doing Physics A Level, so I hope we will see you this year. I hope you have had a lovely summer. Thank you so much for everything.

My best Geraldine xx

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Harriet Leigh

James Layland taught me Maths and Physics in 1995 for GCSE cramming. He was by far the greatest and most inspirational teacher I have ever encountered. So much so in fact that I decided to do Maths with him alone for A level whilst studying Biology and Art at Godolphin and Latymer. James has a particular talent for not only getting his message across but also instilling a sense of wanting to learn in his students.

Since leaving I have recommended James to many people and would not hesitate to do so again.

James gives the kind of education that all children deserve, but so few get.

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Anna Kovaleva

Loads and loads of thanks for helping me with Maths and Physics for the past three years. I got into Imperial College with an A in Maths and a B in Physics (only 0.4% away from an A though) and your lessons played an enormous part in these achievements… I hope to have some more lessons over the next four years.

Warmest wishes for the future and a great many thanks

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Dear James,

I’m just writing to let you know that I received an offer to study Philosophy at Cambridge yesterday! I would just like to say a massive thank you for all your help and advice during the process, it really really helped!


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