I qualified as a teacher in 1986 and my first job was with ILEA in Hackney. This was a world away from my Hampshire roots but I absolutely loved it. So many children from varying backgrounds speaking different languages and practising different religions. It was a steep learning curve but I immersed myself in the work and I loved every day!
After two years I got a job in Tower Hamlets and became a class teacher with responsibility for literacy. The children here were mostly from Bangladeshi backgrounds and at the age of 24 I had the opportunity to visit Bangladesh over the Christmas holidays. The children in my class were delighted when I came back with photos from their parents' homeland and with various artefacts. Those were the days when teachers were able to base a whole scheme of work on subjects of their own choosing, and so I was able to independently plan a topic based on Bangladesh. Of course the whole project was a great success because we were all so personally involved and I was so enthusiastic.
I was a full-time class teacher for 10 years altogether but at the tender age of 32 I was completely exhausted! Knowing I still wanted to teach, I worked out a way of going part-time whilst starting to privately tutor children from the school I was working in. Slowly my joie de vivre returned and I felt able to breathe again!
Tutoring meant I could really focus on the individual, something that was becoming impossible when I was teaching 30 children in London with no Teaching Assistant support.
To start with I offered English, Maths, flute and piano tuition and even had one girl who came for two hours - half hour on each subject!
Our move from London to Brighton in 2003 meant building up my tutoring practice from scratch. At that time I was teaching both adults and children since I had many adult piano students. It was a hard move leaving them all behind but the pull of Brighton was too much!
After many years coming across the word 'dyslexia' and tutoring children who had had a dyslexia assessment, I felt I wanted to learn more. So in 2005 I qualified as a specialist dyslexia tutor at the Dyslexia Institute (now Dyslexia Action) and have Approved Teacher Status with the British Dyslexia Association.
I was able to combine my specialist dyslexia tuition with jobs as a Learning Support Teacher. I worked at Itchingfield Junior School, West Sussex; St Aubyns Independent School, Rottingdean; and Dyslexia Action in Tonbridge.
Being a freelance tutor and feeling in charge of my working day is something I love most of all! It also means I can walk our dogs in the mornings rather than paying someone else to do it for me.
I now have a private practice, Spotty Dog Tutoring, and my sh-office is in our garden, a minute's walk from Brighton Station. I have everything to hand and it really is an aladdin's cave of educational fun!!
Thank you so much for teaching me. My spelling has got much, much better and my reading is really good! Thanks a lot. M - 9 years old
Thank you for everything you have done over the last five years for A. It is very much appreciated! Gemma - parent
(I started teaching A. when she was 7 and continued with weekly sessions supporting her through her primary education and into the first year of Secondary)
I think along with the excellent teaching, you have provided a safe place for M. (and me!) while we digested the dyslexia 'news'. We will miss you! Anna - parent
It seems no time since I emailed you about W's A level results but he's just graduated in Architecture from Bath...time flies. Thanks again Hilary for your support in the crucial years. (I taught W. between 2006 and 2009!) Bernie - parent
Thank you for taking C. under your wing. From being a virtual non-reader and believing himself to be a failure, you gave him the confidence and skills to overcome this negative view of himself. C. is now a reader and sees himself as such. He reads with confidence and is not afraid of tackling the occasional new word.
Many thanks again.
Hilary Burt helped my daughter with her dyslexia over a period of 4 years. During that time my daughter blossomed under her expert tuition and emerged as a confident reader and writer. Hilary's lessons are always fun, creative and expertly targeted. If you are looking for a dyslexia tutor for your child, I cannot recommend her highly enough. Eve - parent
My 9 year old daughter has been having lessons with Hilary for 18 months and more recently some Maths booster sessions. Since lessons started, R.'s confidence has grown beyond belief! She was scared of reading, writing or trying anything new. She now reads everything she can, to anyone who will listen. Hilary's catch phrase, "You never know, so give it a go!" has become our mantra. The maths sessions have also made a huge difference to R. They have given her the know how and confidence to approach mathematical problems alone and strategies to help in the classroom.
Hi Hilary, I just wanted to get in touch to personally thank you for all your support over the last few years. H's reading, writing and spelling have improved so much with your help, and he has always found the sessions fun! Importantly, he is much more confident in literacy work at school, and now enjoys reading at home. Thanks again, and all the best for the future.
When my mum told me I was having extra lessons on Tuesdays I didn't know what to say. But on the first lesson I loved it! You made it fun and anything that's fun is even more fun.
Once again thank you so much ; ) Harry - 10 years old
Your lessons have given Harry so much confidence. He now enjoys English at school and is happy and confident when doing homework to the point that he says that I don't need to help him. The comments at parents evening have all been positive. Your lessons have had a huge impact in H.'s test results Thank you for all your help and support. Siobhan - parent
Hilary has been a wonderful tutor for our daughter who is dyslexic. Hilary is calm, very consistent and has helped our daughter gain knowledge and confidence throughout the past year and a half. She has developed a structured programme which targets our daughter's specific learning needs. I highly recommend Hilary in every respect. Thank you Hilary! Frederique - parent
Hilary is great and wonderful. She is great because we do lots of fun things together. She is such a fantastic teacher for kids. S - 9 years old
From the very first, Hilary demonstrated a gift for recognising and responding to individual needs which, coupled with a cheerful and stimulating style of delivery, ensured positive outcomes in the children's learning. Working from a secure knowledge of the issues and features of specific learning difficulties, she mapped her teaching closely to each pupil's learning needs, making excellent use of multi-sensory methods and working effectively with class teachers as necessary. Alison Edwards, Head of Learning Support, St. Aubyns School, Rottingdean, Brighton
Hilary has been an excellent teacher for our daughter. She is patient and professional but combines this successfully with a fun approach to learning. We have seen our daughter's confidence and abilities flourish under her tuition. We have been very happy with Hilary and would not hesitate to recommend her to other parents. Yvonne - parent
We can never thank you enough for all you did for Robin - we won't forget you! Hilary - parent
Hilary is a good tutor. She helps me so much and puts a lot of effort into helping me. She has got a lovely personality and a lovely smile. Isobel - 8 years old
Hilary is professional, reliable, friendly and approachable and in my opinion 100% trustworthy. I would not hesitate to recommend her. Nadra - parent
With Hilary you have more confidence then you would have at school. You learn a lot and her methods help you remember things. Skah - 13 years old
It's a great comfort to see S. growing with confidence in her learning. Donna - parent
Hilary is married to jazz trombonist and educator Mark Bassey. She plays alto saxophone in the Sussex Jazz Orchestra, and flute in Trees "the unfeasibly big jazz ensemble." She also composes her own music and has a dedicated music website at Hilary Burt Music. Her 8 piece jazz-folk band, Hilary Burt's Blue Calluna, play original music composed by Hilary herself. She is also a 'dog person' and her and her husband currently share their house with Sami, the Golden Retriever, and Jessie, the black Labrador. I'm afraid they won't be in the lessons!
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