James began his mathematics teaching career in Southend, Essex. After qualifying through the graduate teacher programme, he worked at a high performing selective state school, after which he took up his first international position as a founding member of a leading British School in Shanghai. During his time in Shanghai, James took up the role of Examinations Officer, overseeing the IGCSE entries and examinations.
James has taught the full range of GCSE, IGCSE, A Level and IB Diploma Programme courses, including SL and HL. He has helped coached students for the STEP and SAT papers, and several students have gone on to secure places at Oxford and Cambridge.
James has a continued interest in mathematics education research, particularly in how both assessment and teaching methods vary between countries. His MA dissertation focused on a comparison between the Chinese Gaokao and the A Level and IB examinations, along with an exploration of the various factors that can make mathematics challenging. He has given several public talks on the subject.
James firmly believes that all students have the ability to both succeed at and genuinely enjoy mathematics, regardless of their initial inclinations. Too often, false dichotomies are created between teaching for understanding and good results, or between enjoyment and a knowledge driven curriculum. For students to thrive it is key that they have a genuine passion for the subject and a drive to understand the underlying mathematical principles rather than merely correctly apply various formulae. Mathematics is not just a set of facts to be memorised; it is essential that students are made familiar with the wide range of contexts in which it can be applied, the limitations of the various rules and methods, and how it can be generalised to further situations.
James enjoys travelling, once journeying from Shanghai to Lisbon entirely by train, a journey he would recommend to anyone not in a hurry! He represented St Andrews at the European and World Debating Championships and has continued to coach debating within schools since, with teams reaching the Debating Matters UK Final, Oxford Finals day and World Schoolers Tournament of Champions. A keen amateur runner, James’ proudest achievement to date is completing the Great Wall marathon, involving a gruelling 5164 steps. He enjoys Budapest’s many running trails and the fresh air.