Testimonials

“Speaking from the experience of having had Mary teach both my children KS2 maths I can barely find the words to explain the miracles she has achieved. By the end of year 4 my daughter was completely confused by maths, not even understanding basic concepts, and guessing at random answers in an attempt to “get it over with” due to her dyscalculia and so fear of the subject. Despite all of this Mary not only managed to get her to within the top half of her class, easily passing the entrance exam for Wisbech Grammar, but also more importantly to really enjoy the subject and want to learn more. She turned almost overnight, and I do not exaggerate here, from a sleepy child in class whose apparent inability, or desire, to concentrate was frustrating all, to a lively child fully prepared to interact, contribute and soak up knowledge. My son was also struggling with maths, having had a bad year at school, and losing confidence so fearing it at every turn. Within 7 months she had turned him back around to enjoying maths again, flying with confidence and also sailing through his entrance exam for the Grammar School.

I would also say that almost equally important was helping me understand the issues and therefore help me help my children.

I really cannot speak highly enough of all she has done for our family and would not only recommend her to anyone but will, at the drop of a hat, return to her should any need arise over the school years.

Thank you Mary Smyth!”

The Mair Family, March.


“We would like to express our sincere thanks for the time and support you have given Harry. Your efforts have clearly been shown in the outstanding report Harry has received. It’s the first time in Harry’s school life that he is at the expected level, and all of our thanks are owed to you.

The understanding you show Harry has clearly been reflected in his school work and with all your help he has achieved so much. We really can’t thank you enough. We are very proud of the improvements Harry has made and feel his confidence has grown.”

Joe and Lee Overy


“My son has had maths lessons with Mary since being diagnosed as dyscalculic 2 years ago.

Her step by step approach has led to a reduction in his ‘maths fear’. He now has a better understanding of the basic concepts and has been taught secure foundations by Mary. He is now more able to apply his knowledge to new problems.

Mary’s approach is such that he always feels able to ask for help from her. The lessons have just the right amount of over-learning that dyscalculics need combined with a gentle approach to new material. Above all she makes the lessons fun.

A highly recommended teacher!”

Mrs H. - Wisbech


“We have three children that all have received tutoring from Mary. Two of our children have dyslexia and had real self confidence issues prior to Mary's sessions. Mary's extensive experience with children with dyslexia and associated conditions meant she could tailor make her teaching programmes with the children and address their individual and specific needs. She has a very engaging manner with the children. Boundaries are clear but lessons are fun and informal. All three children enjoyed her lessons, their self confidence improved and significant improvements occurred with their school work and exams. My dyslexic son's predicted SATs score in English went up two levels after 6 months of weekly tutoring. My elder dyslexic daughter far exceeded her predicted results in her GCSE's and gained the confidence to undertake A levels. All in all we would heartily recommend Mary's tutoring services.”

The Rose Family


“Our son was a confused, unconfident, unhappy child who was becoming all too aware that the written world around him did not make sense and was one he couldn't access. As his mother, I was very concerned that he simply didn't 'get it' and was frustrated. Reading was becoming a battleground. Mainstream school was not offering the support he and I needed and clearly felt I was fussing unnecessarily. It was a struggle with my son and school. I felt very isolated. He was disinterested and falling behind.

Mrs Smyth has been fantastic. As a very experienced teacher, she was rapidly able to identify where our son needed help. She started a tailor-made programme which was fun and interesting. She understood the way his mind worked and so was able to talk to him and teach him in a way he would understand and respond to. With careful planning and back-to-basics, repetitive strategies she unlocked his abilities and helped him understand and now even enjoy the written word. She also showed me how best to help him too. That confused, frustrated child is now making good progress and is a happy, interested, more confident, enquiring child. All thanks to Mrs Smyth.”

Mrs Lawrence - Witcham


Testimony to the work of Mrs Smyth

“A bright little boy of eight who was shutting down to the world of words.
Now the joy of having my little boy’s eyes opened to reading words.

He is a clever boy who loved to talk and used a wide vocabulary for his age.
He is a boy who loved to create things with play-dough, card and other materials.
He is a boy who loved drawing.

He would sit and look at books and we would read to him constantly. However I saw that he looked in books at the pictures but he never read a word. He did not bring home a reading book from school for a year. The teachers said he was struggling with mathematics and his concentration was poor. I said he probably could not read the questions. I pushed the school for help but perhaps not hard enough and let matters drift along.

Then I heard about Mrs Smyth and contacted her. Within four months she has opened my little boy’s eyes to the world of words. Thank you so much Mrs Smyth.

Mrs Smyth realised immediately that he did not know his alphabet properly, or vowels and had problems blending his sounds.

We work together and I play the games Mrs Smyth makes for him at home with him and he learns all the time and this is opening up the world of words.

Please do not let your child be locked outside the world of words. Dyslexia is a rainbow of different difficulties. Mrs Smyth is very skilful at unlocking the doors of difficulty and your child will soon be able to shine properly.”

Mary Newman of Little Thetford


Student Testimonial

“I was one of Mary’s first pupils when she moved to Cambridgeshire.

I was diagnosed with severe dyslexia at age 8 and started working with Mary when I was in secondary school. When I first started learning with Mary I could barely: tell you the alphabets order, the difference between verbs and nouns, what homophones are or even spell any word that had more than four letters. Mary helped me learn and understand these and many other things during my time with her.

I, like most children diagnosed with dyslexia, hated reading and spelling. Reading was an arduous task because letters jumble themselves up in my head. I could not even imagine being able to spell like the other children in my class when it was so much harder for me, and I could not see the point in learning to read properly when you can talk to people, listen to audiobooks and watch films instead of reading. However, also like most dyslexic people, I have a very high IQ and my mother wished for me to reach full potential. This is why I started studying with Mary.

She patiently worked with me on my spelling, helping me to gradually improve. Mary also helped me understand how important reading is, not only for discovering genuinely interesting stories in books but also giving me the skills to confidently read in everyday situations. Mary helping me with my reading really opened up a new world to me. Although I could read, all be it quite slowly before Mary, I often wouldn’t try. Simple things, such as reading restaurant menus, I would leave it to the people I was with and just have whatever they were having instead of reading the menu myself. Or for example going to museums and not understanding the historical context of the objects I was looking at because I wouldn’t be able to read the plaques and signs quickly enough. By encouraging my reading Mary has helped with these everyday tasks that otherwise would be far more difficult and has made life more interesting.

Whether she knew it or not my time with Mary truly helped my everyday life. However, it is my academic life that she irrevocably changed. My hatred of reading and spelling meant that although I liked audiobooks and being read stories, English was my worst subject. Mary taught me that reading doesn’t have to be painful and humiliating or even boring. She found pieces of writing for me to read to her that, unlike the childish books they gave me in school, actually interested me. This had a huge impact on my life.

I have recently graduated with honours from Aberystwyth University obtaining a 2:1 Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Studies and English Literature. Mary really was the catalyst that helped me discover a love of reading that I never would have found without her. It was due to Mary’s confidence in me that, although I was never naturally good at English, I took English Literature as an A-level, because it interested me and she believed that even though I have dyslexia I could still do well in it. I never would have been where I am today if it wasn’t for her confidence and help.

Mary understands individual student’s needs in a way schools and other personal tutors I have come across never have. She tailored each hour a week I spent with her specifically to me, balancing the time effectively between the skills I needed to learn and the learning activities I found more fun. This kept me interested in her lessons. Even if there was an activity I found boring or difficult I knew I would be doing something else too, and this kept my attention to the task at hand. Mary understood me as a student and picked topics and activities that challenged and interested me.

During my time at secondary school I was diagnosed with ME/CFS, a medical condition which meant I could not spend many hours in school as I became too easily exhausted and needed regular rests. I carried on my weekly sessions with Mary, however, as she tailored her lesson plan for me to compensate for my condition, giving me time to rest between activities.

Due to my rest periods and school timetable I could not attend very many maths lessons during year 9 and 10. When my mother spoke with Mary about me being unable to study maths in school Mary offered to tutor me in both my English skills and mathematics, helping me prepare for not only my language and literature GCSEs but also my maths. Mary really understood my needs and always adapted her lessons to fit me and my learning style. It is my belief that this is one of the most important skills a personal tutor can poses.

Lastly, a note of advice. Mary is harsh but fair. She challenges her students and although the tasks she sets out are often fun, a student has to put the work in to get the best results. If you do the small amount of homework she sets and turn up to her sessions ready to learn I think you or your child will easily be able to achieve as much, if not more, than I have with her help and guidance.”

Kerry Griggs