Mrs Z Burgess: Professional Tutoring For All
Mrs Zainab Burgess, founder of Mrs Z Burgess 11+ tuition, talks to us about her business
Zainab, tell us about your background and experience?
I have run a tutoring service for the 11+ examinations with a high success rate of pupils entering Tifﬁn and a multitude of high performing secondary schools since 1997 to the present day.
I am a qualiﬁed and experienced teacher, teaching in junior schools in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames and Richmond Borough.
My target is teaching mathematics and English scholarship programs working at a higher level than the Year 6 expectations. These are transferable skills I bring to my pupils wherever I teach.
Writing is in my DNA, as I come from a family of literary writers. My father used to say your pen is your greatest weapon. He wrote the ﬁrst and Arabic newspaper in Yemen. My brother also published the ﬁrst English newspaper in Saudi Arabia, known as Arab News. Expression through writing from a young age is something to be nurtured and can bring joy to the audience.
Teaching services for parents
Whether you require teaching for selective schools or otherwise, my programme enhances their learning.
My service is a personalised teaching experience. I make a speciﬁc point of making myself available to parents to discuss their child’s progress. I deliver and produce all the material, which is consistently revised to keep pace with the ever-changing examination criteria. Parents often require support being uncharted territory for them!
How do you work differently from other tutors?
My ethos is that the skills and lessons I teach are not just for passing grammar schools but skills for life to be used in any school. Each child is an individual, with varying degrees of conﬁdence.
My aim is to inspire and challenge students to reach their full potential in an inclusive, caring and nurturing environment for all abilities. The children’s wellbeing is of paramount importance to me. A key aspect is to build their self-esteem to achieve their best.
My material is bespoke and changes with the current requirements for the grammar school examinations. I have a variety of teaching styles that encourage students to relax and to feel that they can ask me without feeling intimidated. A sense of humour in the class is key.
Storytelling is like a performance, for this reason I exchange stories with my students to inspire them to learn how to capture their audience. Entertaining the reader for descriptive writing is a skill that comes from being a creative storyteller.
What is the best thing pupils and parents can do to prepare for entrance exams?
It is natural to want the best education for your child. Like you, as a parent, I have had ﬁrst-hand experienced in this ﬁ eld through my own family, as it is becoming overwhelmingly challenging to secure a selective school position.
One important factor is that it is not the school that determines a child’s faith in academia, but their passion and enthusiasm for learning.
Have you seen changes in education over the last ﬁve to 10 years and pressure upon young people for school places?
Yes, deﬁnitely the standards in the exams have changed regarding the emphasis in greater ability in the use of English and Mathematics. Previously, the exams only tested pupils on reasoning skills i.e. verbal and non-verbal. This was a logical change due to the fact that English and mathematics are core subjects, which impact all the other taught subjects.
For that reason, parents will seek the professional help of a teacher to prepare their child for selective schools. This preparation is vital.
“Mrs Burgess’s classes have really helped me exceed in many areas and her support has really pushed me to keep going right to the end. If you were willing to put the work in, it was deﬁnitely worth it.”
– Phillip Deftereos