About Us

About Sam

sam and fanilysmallAs a child my school year books always said that I wanted to be ‘ A teacher and a mum ‘ – when I left school, after A levels, my life didn’t quite take me on that path straight away and I ended up working in London for the Inland Revenue
After following a meandering life path I met my now husband of 27 years and settled down to fulfil the ‘mum’ part of my dream. At this time I also started my BSc Hons with the Open University and thus my understanding of distance learning was born. Seven years, and another child later, I successfully completed my degree which covered Social Sciences as well as the three main Science disciplines. I also studied as a Montessori directress and obtained my International Montessori diploma in the same year as graduating.
I loved having my children around me and home learning seemed the most natural option. I went on to have two more children. During this time I started several groups for home educators and began to tutor science to the children from preschool to preteen. ( as well as leading a baby signing group, a story time and singing activities for the under 8s)
When my daughter turned 13 she decided that she wanted to start to study for some examinations and there my GCSE level science tutoring journey began. I tutored a group of home ed students in an insane and very intense period of twelve weeks each per subject for Biology and Chemistry (a colleague took the Physics sessions) (just a note I don’t recommend twelve weeks as an appropriate time scale for studying the course)
The children were aged between 12 and 15 years and we had some fantastic results in all three subjects.
I concluded that there must be other home learners who may wish to take science but who may need a little more guidance than just using the text books so I decided to write my courses to fill this gap.
My days are filled with the bustle of my own children, now 22, 18, 13 and 8 and my nights are science time. I love that I can mix my two passions and now I feel I have fulfilled the ‘teacher’ part of my dream.

About Clare

FB_IMG_1440789277815Having always wanted to work with children, I left school and went straight to Warwick University to complete a 4 year degree course in Educational studies with Biology and qualified teacher status. I taught in a primary school for three years before going to live in Uganda, East Africa for a year. My husband and I worked for an NGO (Non-governmental organisation) and my role was to set up a nursery school for the local community. I wrote the curriculum, interviewed the staff, bought the resources, painted the walls and arranged child sponsorship. It opened with 12 pupils and now has over 350 in the school from nursery to primary 6. Soon they will be opening a secondary school!

We came home after the year to have our first child (now 17) and I became a stay at home mum going on to have 2 more children (now age 15 and 10) My husband and I had always planned to home educate so none of our children have ever been to school. We love learning at home together and with others. I have taught in small home education groups, have completed a key stage 3 course with a small group of 12-14 year olds and now tutor the IGCSE sciences.

I particularly love teaching science in a fun, practical and hands on way helping children develop a love for learning and a passion for understanding the world around them and how it works.

About Taryn


After a brief career in retail, I began teaching in 1996, initially working with pre-school aged children in day nurseries and playgroups. After working as a teaching assistant for a couple of years in a local primary school, I went on to complete my teaching degree at Oxford Brookes University in 2004.

Living in a small village and working in the small local school, I found myself regularly teaching my own children and it was at this time we discovered home education.   I home educated my three children over the following years through both primary and secondary education (although they all dipped in and out of school at times!).

I started my own business the same year, offering history workshops and costume demonstrations to schools and historical events, and started running tutor groups for home educated students. My tuition business expanded during this time to include private students and whole class workshops in private schools teaching History, English and Maths at KS3 and IGCSE level.

I became frustrated while teaching the history IGCSE course that there really wasn’t one book that I could suggest students buy; each topic seemed to require a new book. I therefore set out to create a resource that my students could use and would save their parents’ money. This has since been published as a book and has proved to be a very successful resource.

In 2013 I decided to cut down on working with schools and expanded my home education workshops to focus more on the exam areas my own children needed and offer a full range of group tuition classes for students in my local area and enjoyed several years of successfully seeing local home educated students through their exams.

With my children now all grown up and starting families of their own, I am looking forward to repeating the home- ed journey with the grandchildren.

I am really excited to be working with Echo Education and am looking forward to helping many more students through their IGCSE’s and GCSE’s.

BA Education

About Catherine

catherine mooney portraitAfter completing my BA, PGCE and MA at Liverpool and York universities, I became a professional writer for a couple of decades until my son came along and priorities changed! For several years I became a full-time mum and educated my son at home from the age of five (he is now 21, and doing an Open University degree while pursuing his passions of art and music, so our home ed continues…).

Until last year I was a lecturer in Creative Writing and Humanities at the Open University until I gave it up to be able to devote more time to my home educated students. I have many years experience as a private tutor and have taught most age ranges, preparing students for GCSE and A level English. I have also tutored Creative Writing and A level Critical Thinking at the National Extension College and have been an examiner for ‘A’ level English Literature for one of the major exam boards (where I was commended as being an ‘Grade A’ examiner). 
I have tutored home-educated students for 8 years and was recently joined by Bobbie and Heather, who have between them years of experience of home-education, English tuition and examining work.

I continue to write and dream of the day when I might be able to earn J K Rowling money by writing Philip Pullman words. I also dream about becoming children’s book illustrator. Some days I just dream about getting the washing up done before I go to bed! I love painting, music and anything that makes me laugh.

About Liz

Liz MachellI graduated from Nottingham university in 2002 with MSci in Mathematical Physics. I have always enjoyed working with young people and soon found myself working as a Teaching Assistant supporting students with additional needs. Training as a teacher seemed the obvious next step to combine my love of maths and science with passion for seeing young people learn. I worked in a local grammar school for 9 years teaching maths and physics from year 7 up to A level.

Since having my children (currently 8 and 6 years old) teaching has been part-time and balanced with family life. We had long considered home education as it seemed a natural extension of what we had always been doing in teaching our children and in 2014 we decided to take the plunge. We love the freedom of Home education and the kids are thriving. We find fun ways to play with maths and science everywhere! I still balance family and teaching; in addition to tutoring for ECHO I also teach an evening class for adults and do some private tutoring.

About Helen

I began home educating in 1992 when my eldest son was 8 years old.  I quickly grew to love the freedom it gave us and found autonomous education to be the best fit for him.

Over the years, I grew more and more passionate about home education and realised that it wasn’t only my son who was being educated. I was learning too. I found that I enjoyed maths and could do it as I learnt alongside him. Studying for exams began to appear on his horizon, so I decided to model good studying habits and enrolled with the Open University.

It actually took me 12 years to gain my BSc Hons, partly due to the part time nature of the course and partly due to having two more children. I also gained a Certificate in Mathematics along the way. I thoroughly enjoyed the varied modules and realised just how much home education had opened my eyes to personalised learning and given me a love for learning for it’s own sake.

My two younger children have never been to school. They are now 15 and 11. Home education was the natural option for them and led me on to organising a number of local home ed groups and activities where I often take on the role of educator with small groups of children.

I soon discovered that my younger two enjoyed an element of structure to their days. I found that with a 4 year age gap, cross-curricular literature based unit studies and lapbooks worked well for us as a family. I started using American resources and realised that my children knew lots about the geography of the states and very little about the UK. After a thorough search, I found that there was a severe lack of resources made specifically for British home educators. There were plenty of school type resources but I wanted something outside the limits of the National Curriculum that allowed for a cosier, more personal education that could be adapted to different learning styles. It didn’t exist.

Consequently, I began writing educational resources for home educating families in 2010 and I love it. I love that I learn as I write them, that my children learn as they test them (not so much the 15yo these days) and that other families learn as they explore books and topics with them.

I have been tutoring on a one-to-one basis in my local area since 2014 and will expand this line of work as my own children get older.

About Clare Miller

I studied Biology at the University of York and then went on to do my PGCE at the Institute of Education in London. I qualified as a secondary school teacher in A level Biology and O level Biology, Physics and Chemistry. I then went to live in Zimbabwe for 4 years; teaching all three sciences at O level and Biology at A Level. On my return to the UK, I embarked on a second career in law, in which I qualified and worked in as an immigration lawyer for many years. Whilst working as a solicitor I maintained my passion for working with young people and tutored in A level Biology and taught courses of GCSE Physics and Biology and KS3 science, mostly for home educated children. This is when I first met Sam and we ran intense IGCSE courses in the three sciences together. They were ‘insane and very intense’ as described by Sam!

I have three children of my own who are now all in their 20s. I have partially home educated my two sons, and wished that I could have home educated them full time all the time, but being the main income earner in the family meant that was just not possible.

I left the law over 5 years ago and since then have been teaching and tutoring the three sciences again. I am currently tutoring students online on a one-to-one basis in A level Biology and the three sciences at GCSE level. I am also running an in-person IGCSE Biology course for a group of home educated children.

I love working with young people on a one-to-one basis, or in small groups, and my aim is always to make the subject fun and interesting, bringing it alive and relevant to the students’ lives. I am really excited to be involved with Echo Education and look forward to supporting more young people through their GCSE science courses.

Key Stage 3 and IGCSE Courses and tutoring, for home educators, by home educators