Sarah Kirk has a BSc in Biochemistry from Imperial College London. She has been science tutor with us since 2006 and teaches students from 11 Plus through to Undergraduate level.
Sarah doesn’t merely ‘teach to the test’. Where students are coping well with the standard syllabus, she occasionally takes them off-piste; giving students nuggets of knowledge that are not set in the specification. People sometimes come to science with feelings of failure: Sarah often hears the phrase “I just can’t do science!”. The fear of failure means people avoid trying to get to grips with the subject. It is part of her job to untangle the knot of negative emotions around science and to instil confidence. In the privacy of one-to-one lessons students can ask questions without having to put their hand up in class, or risk ridicule from their peers.
The single thing that is most akin to bench science, in Sarah’s experience, is cookery. The skills needed to bake a cake are almost identical to those needed to purify DNA. Boiling an egg is a chemical reaction. With this in mind, she sometimes invades a client’s kitchen and conducts experiments with tea bags, lemon juice, washing-up liquid, vinegar, flour, and baking soda. Sarah has also been known to take students into cellars to find earth wiring, and out into the twilit street to see Jupiter and Venus in conjunction.
“Sarah Kirk has been a tutor to both of my children during the past academic year. She has helped my son with his first year of A level Biology and my daughter with all three sciences for GCSE.
At the end of the academic year, my son achieved the highest grade prediction for Biology A level (A*). Similarly, my daughter achieved the highest grade (“Exemplary”) for Biology, Physics and Chemistry in her year end school report.
Sarah is lively and full of fun. Her enthusiasm for all science subjects but specifically Biology is contagious. Her attention to detail and ability to explain concepts beyond the syllabus has enabled my children to achieve very high grades. In the case of my son, her focus on attention to detail was extremely important. He is a naturally able scientist, who grasps concepts quickly but has a tendency to gloss over the finer details. In the case of my daughter, Sarah brought science to life. She was particularly helpful to her with Physics, a subject which many children shy away from due to its conceptual nature.
I highly recommend Sarah. We are looking forward to seeing her again in September.”
Mrs L-K, London