Meet our tutors

We are very lucky to have a range of talented tutors, teaching a wide variety of subjects at York Learning.

Choose a subject area to find out more about our tutors.

Liz Foster
Liz Foster - Art tutor

Liz Foster - Art tutor

I am a professional artist with over 20 years experience of teaching art in schools, colleges and within the community. I studied Drawing and Painting at the Glasgow School of Art (B.A hons), and Fine Art at the University of Hull (M.A). I currently divide my time between teaching, community arts projects and my own studio practice.

I am interested in all aspects of painting and drawings and teach across oil painting, acrylic, watercolour and drawing. I have a particular love of colour and expressive mark-making, which is evident in my own work.

Hilary Finney
Hilary Finney - Cookery tutor

Hilary Finney - Cookery Tutor

After training at the Cordon Bleu school of cookery in London, I was third chef at the esteemed Holbeck Hall Hotel in Scarborough. I then took professional qualifications from the Institute of Hotel and Catering Management to work in London, providing directors lunches and managing staff restaurants.

Whilst bringing up a family and running a successful outside catering business, I also taught adult education classes at Selby College, after gaining my teaching certificate. I then launched Harmony House Cookery School in 2007, and now have regular cookery slots on Radio York. I also wrote a cookery book in 2014.

Ann Sotheran
Ann Sotheran - Stained Glass tutor

Ann Sotheran - Stained Glass tutor

With nearly 40 years of designing and making stained glass, for all kinds of settings, I have an extensive knowledge of the many techniques which can be used to develop and complete a wide range of design ideas and concepts.  I can advise and guide you from your most basic scribbles to completed pieces of work which you will be delighted to own and show off to family and friends.

As an experienced teacher, I understand the learning process and always let students progress at a pace which is comfortable for them, adapting my teaching methods as necessary to allow for individual needs.

See my work at https://www.flickr.com/photos/136480240@N04

A selection of birds made at the York International Women's Week workshop laid out on a table.
Debs New - Textile Crafts tutor

Debs New - Textile Crafts tutor

I did my teacher training many years ago in Brighton and then spent twenty years as a secondary school art/ textile teacher in Cornwall and Sussex. After moving to York I became involved in Community Arts projects and then started as a tutor with York Learning.

I love all the components of working with textiles, the threads, the buttons, ribbons, braid etc. and try to work with as much reclaimed fabric as possible rather than buying new. I teach simple weaving, felting, patchwork, bag and cushion making, collage and applique. I like the way that sitting in a group sewing enables people to chat, share ideas and appreciate that not everything has to be perfect! My own work is always about my family, my home and my travels, printing and collaging scraps of fabric together embellished with hand stitching and printed word.

Jeremy Dixon
Jeremy Dixon - Creative Writing tutor

Jeremy Dixon - Creative Writing tutor

Having graduated as a mature student with an ‘English Literature and Creative Writing’ degree, I am passionate about lifelong learning. I’ve also completed an education and training qualification, and have experience of tutoring in construction, which is the sector in which I’ve earnt my living. I’m now working part-time to concentrate more on my writing, which has always been my passion.

I write to create, to explore possibilities and find out what happens next. Writers I think, must be curious. I believe in a character driven approach; they provide my plots, not the other way round. Most importantly, I think that writers produce their best work when they write for themselves; find their own style and stay true to it. If somebody reads it and likes it, that’s just the icing on the cake. I’m very excited about working with people who share my enthusiasm for creative writing.

Rachel Wade - Creative Writing tutor
Rachel Wade - Creative Writing tutor

Rachel Wade - Creative Writing tutor

As a fiction author, copywriter, and creative writing tutor, my world revolves around the power of words. Having studied for a BA and MA in English, I went on to work in a variety of sectors including marketing, human resources, and EFL teaching. I have been published in several print and digital publications, co-launched a webzine, and regularly post on my blog.

Following a lifelong passion for fiction writing, my debut novel ‘Crow’s Haunt’ was published in September 2021. Alongside writing, I also take great pleasure in being able to share my knowledge and enthusiasm with aspiring authors through my workshops. I believe that anyone can be a writer and that everyone can benefit from the magic of storytelling.

Dave Borlase
Dave Borlase - Maths tutor

Dave Borlase - Maths tutor

I spent over 20 years as a primary school teacher in various schools in York. My subject specialism was maths, and I have led the subject; this involved training other teachers and being at the forefront of new initiatives.

This has led very well into my work as a Family Learning Tutor. Understanding the building blocks of mathematical learning and the progression of skills in school means I can pass these on to parents and other learners in an easy to understand way. Working with children is rewarding, and I find working with their parents, and other adults, equally so.

Helen Clarkson
Helen Clarkson - Maths tutor

Helen Clarkson - Maths tutor

I qualified as a primary school teacher, with a specialism in maths in 1996. In 2004 I started to work for the York Adult and Community Education service (now York Learning) and have proactively strengthened the maths offer year on year, including the Family Learning “Keep Up” courses, the introduction of Functional Skills and more recently the successful GCSE package.

I have a great passion for maths and my enthusiasm helps to engage people in a subject which is often feared. Learners frequently comment that my patience and clear teaching methods helped them master a subject which they had long believed they couldn’t do.  I look after the English and Maths team and have helped to build up partnership networks with other maths teachers in the area, which has helped in the development of relevant and meaningful adult education courses.

Jonathan Law
Jonathan Law - Maths tutor

Jonathan Law - Maths tutor

I have been working for York Learning for the past 3 years. During this time, I have taught mathematics courses to a range of different learners from Entry 1 to GCSE level along with family learning science and money courses. Prior to this, I taught mathematics and science in secondary schools primarily in the Selby area.

My interests include watching most sports, reading, going to the cinema and taking part in pub quizzes. My teaching ethos is that all learners should be able to achieve their potential regardless of age and ability and at York Learning I have found a place that believes in the same thing!

Victoria - English tutor

I am a highly qualified teacher with a degree in English, a Post-Graduate Diploma in English Literature and a PGCE. I started teaching in 2003 at a Further Education College where I taught Adult Literacy/Key Skills/Functional Skills and GCSE English Language and Literature.  In 2008, I was promoted to the Head of the English Department at the same college.

I have a broad range of experience working with different age groups and experiences. I will also give you the benefit of my expertise as a marker for AQA, the same exam board we use for GCSE English. I have a great passion for English and hopes to instil that passion into all of my learners too.

Claire Wilton
Claire Wilton - English tutor

Claire Wilton - English tutor

I joined York Learning in 2013. I have BA and MA degrees in English and a PGCE in Lifelong Learning. I love the wide range of people I get to meet as an English tutor: I’ve worked with Family Learning and York Travellers Trust as well as teaching courses for job-seekers and refugees. I’m also involved in education projects at regional and national level.

Before becoming an English teacher, I spent 15 years as a professional campaigner for Friends of the Earth and Oxfam. I have a passion for supporting people to use their voices and achieve the goals they’ve chosen – whether that’s in learning or saving the planet!

Shona Terry
Shona Terry - Maths & English tutor

Shona Terry - Maths & English tutor

I have been teaching for 15 years and have taught a wide variety of subjects in a lot of different settings. In the last 9 years I have mainly taught within Special Educational Needs.

I currently teach Maths and English at entry level, Level 1 & Level 2.  I enjoy teaching both Maths and English as I love to see my learners improving and feeling that I have been able to contribute to this.  I find my teaching work very fulfilling.  Maths and English are so fundamental to everything we do in life that I feel like I am making a real difference in people’s lives and this gives me a great sense of achievement.

Dawn Johnson
Dawn Johnson - Gardening tutor

Dawn Johnson - Gardening tutor

A passionate plantswoman, I deliver classes on garden design and planting for a wide variety of learners alongside working on my own consultancy services.
My practice is grounded on theoretical and real world experience: I hold a BA (hons) in Garden Art and Design, a City and Guilds Certificate in both Gardening and CAD, I won a Gold Medal and the President’s Vase at Chelsea in 2006 as part of the group Cyrus Design with our “A Garden For Robin’.

I have previously worked as a gardening columnist for a France-based newspaper, written extensively on edible flowers and their applications in the kitchen, and designed gardens for people based in both the UK and France, and now volunteer regularly as a National Trust gardener.

Richard Lewis - Gardening tutor

I have been in the horticultural industry for over 20 years.  From an apprentice gardener to a team leader at Hampton Court Palace gardening has always been a pleasure.  I have spent time teaching gardening in the adult education sector, and apprenticeships Askham Bryan College.

Now working as a Head Gardener at an Estate, I am enjoying being outside more then ever.

Emily Barrett, Zumba tutor
Emily Barrett - Zumba tutor

Emily Barrett - Zumba tutor

I have been dancing for as long as I can remember and have had a passion for physical theatre and the arts since being a child. I obtained a degree in Contemporary Dance and Performance Art at the age of 19 during which I specialised in choreography. After 4 years of full-time training in Contemporary, ballet and Jazz dance, I went on to perform in various community productions and choreograph my own work for performance.

In 2011, I fell in love with Zumba fitness! I took the training and then went on to obtain both Zumba kids and Zumba gold certification so that I could design modified party-like experiences for both young and older bodies alike!

In 2017, I took the Flowetic training and went on to set up Contemporary dance classes for adults. In 2019, I then completed a ‘Move It Or Lose It’ training course and I am now planning and creating chair based movement classes for less physically abled bodies.

Linda Perry
Linda Perry - Pilates & Cardio tutor

Linda Perry - Pilates & Cardio tutor

My passion in life is to help people maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. Regardless of age or ability, it is so important to remain physically active as long as possible in order to defend against poor health and mental decline. Pilates is such a wonderful way to exercise and can be tailored to the individual. Even a simple set of exercises can provide a varied and interesting workout.

I am qualified to Level 3 to offer both mat and Seated Pilates classes, plus Cardio Fitness classes which provide a high paced, fast and exciting workout.

I have worked with a wide range of clients – some with immense strength and flexibility and others who find daily living a challenge. Through working with individuals I am able to get to know how they respond to the challenges exercise can bring and help them make the most of their workout. I am happy to offer support to individuals to address any needs and provide general guidance on alternatives where appropriate.

Sarah Stabler
Sarah Stabler - Pilates tutor

Sarah Stabler - Pilates tutor

Pilates became part of my life over twenty years ago.

I liked that it was gentle yet effective at enhancing my flexibility, core strength and even improved my balance and posture. It seemed to keep me slender and toned too but without having to spend hours at a gym.

The lateral breathing and holistic approach made a difference to my everyday life as it helped to increase my lung capacity and also helped to reduce stress too.

Often I’d attend class after a long day at work feeling tired and burnt out, but after class I always felt re-charged, straightened out, less achy and taller (a bonus, being 5ft 1)! I would like everyone I teach to leave feeling this way and I hope Pilates will make a difference to your life like it has to mine.

Meet the tutor: Alison Perkins
Alison Perkins - Yoga tutor

Alison Perkins - Yoga tutor

My interest in yoga was awakened in 1967 and it has never left me. However, it wasn’t until 2002 that I completed the British Wheel of Yoga (BWY) Foundation Course, followed by the BWY Teaching Diploma which I was awarded in 2006.  I have since successfully completed post graduate modules in ‘Meditation and Personal Development’;  ‘Pranayama’; ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’; teacher training programme for ‘Gentle Somatic Yoga Practitioner’; professional learning in ‘Yoga and Alexander Technique, and training in teaching and practice of the ‘Vasistha Method of Pranayama’.

As well as teaching regular weekly classes since 2004, I have taught yoga for carers of children who have been abused, carers of those with Alzheimer’s disease and one-one yoga for healthy lower backs.

I particularly enjoy taking yoga out the mysterious and into the wonderful world of the practical by using yoga safely so that every ‘body’ can age with greater flexibility, strength, balance and grace, both physically and psychologically.

Becka Badby
Becka Badby - Yoga tutor

Becka Badby - Yoga tutor

My journey with Yoga started in 2008 whilst travelling in Canada. I tried a variety of Yoga styles and enjoyed the way it made me feel in my body. I tried lots of different classes, Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Yin, eventually deepening my knowledge in 2012 completing the Hatha Yoga BWY Foundation course. From this I went on to complete the  BWY 500-hour Yoga Teaching & Meditation Diploma and have been teaching in and around York since 2014.

It’s important to me that Yoga is made as accessible as possible to a wide range of people. People are often afraid to try Yoga because they don’t think they are sufficiently bendy, and I try to explain that you don’t necessarily start off flexible, or with good mobility. Practising Yoga is about becoming sensitive to where we are holding on or what we are holding onto.

Currently, I teach Yoga for York Mind mental health charity, and previously I have worked with recovering addicts, refugees and people of all ages, shapes and sizes. My own personal journey with Yoga, breath and movement continues with a growing interest in body energetics, hands on therapy and ways we can look after our own physical and mental well-being. It’s a life-long journey –  I do hope we meet somewhere on a mat!

Meet the tutor: Stephanie Lewis-Vivas
Stephanie Lewis-Vivas - Yoga tutor

Stephanie Lewis-Vivas - Yoga tutor

I have practiced yoga intermittently since 1976, joining permanently in 1999. I started teaching as a student in 2003 completing my British Wheel of Yoga Teaching Diploma in 2006 becoming fully qualified. In the past I have taught aerobics and strength work, have run yoga clubs for children, taught lunchtime sessions at work, taught individual clients, ME sufferers, senior citizens club, stroke club etc. I firmly believe that everyone can benefit at some level from yoga as I have in the past and continue to do so. It teaches us to care for our body, mind and spirit.

Yoga cleverly combines physical exercise with breath awareness and relaxation techniques. This can help increase strength and flexibility and help to relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety.

Vicky Allington
Vicky Allington - Pilates tutor

Vicky Allington - Pilates tutor

I am a qualified and experience fitness practitioner, having worked in the fitness industry for over 10 years, including over 2 years at York Learning. As well as teaching Pilates, I also teach classes for gyms throughout York and I am a personal trainer working out of “Definition Body Coaching” studio.

I love the health and fitness advantages Pilates brings, and the fact it is something that everyone can benefit from and enjoy, whatever your age or ability, whether you are new to it or have been practicing for some time.

The benefits include improved core strength and posture, increased flexibility, tone, balance and body awareness. Pilates accomplishes all of this whilst working at a lovely slow, flowing pace as you strengthen and lengthen. Each movement has levels that you can progress through as you strengthen, increase your flexibility and build your core strength, so there will be a level to suit you.

Betty Sutherland
Betty Sutherland - Tai Chi tutor

Betty Sutherland - Tai Chi tutor

I have studied Tai Chi Chuan since 1994, as a student of the Five Winds School of Tai Chi Chuan.

I am a qualified Instructor in Hand Forms, Pushing Hands, Applications and Weapons, and a medallist in the 2002 European Championships, and 2003 British Open. I am a member, and recognised “A” grade Instructor, of the Tai Chi Union for GB, and the British Council for Chinese Martial Arts.

The development I have been fortunate to achieve has grown from simple inquisitiveness to daily practice, bringing with it a sense of enjoyment and accomplishment.

Michelle Bland
Michelle Bland - Yoga tutor

Michelle Bland - Yoga tutor

I am an experienced exercise and yoga tutor, specialising in exercise for long term health conditions and disabilities. I previously managed a council exercise referral scheme, conducting motivational interviews and designing classes for people with and recovering from long term health conditions.

I started my yoga journey by regularly attending classes, and was surprised at how my flexibility, mobility and core strength improved. Having suffered with a tight lower back I found that yoga eased the tightness, and I would go home feeling better able to cope. What seemed a big deal before I went to class seemed unimportant, and I felt more at peace and mentally stronger.

I now teach Hatha Yoga, including Posture for people working from home, yoga for mobility; chair based, Keeping Well at Work for staff wellbeing, as well as various other exercise classes.

Meet the tutors: Rob Nix, Tai Chi
Rob Nix - Tai Chi tutor

Rob Nix - Tai Chi tutor

I started practicing Tai Chi after an injury in 2015 meant that I was looking for a martial arts discipline that wasn’t full contact. After my first class with Betty from UKTaiChi I was hooked.

UKTaiChi have since enabled me to join their ‘Train the Trainer’ course and teach others in this fantastic discipline for health and mental wellbeing. I am also planning to teach UKTaiChi’s ‘Chi for Chilren’ course.

Mindfulness has always played a key part in my life. Along with doing a variety of different martial disciplines the benefits are to mental wellbeing are clear – I enjoy showing others how easy it can be to incorporate into day to day life.

Alison Walker
Alison Walker - Pilates tutor

Alison Walker - Pilates tutor

I became a Pilates teacher after many years of teaching dance and fitness, because I enjoy helping people to improve their lives by assisting them to achieve better posture, strength and stability so they can lead active and healthy lives.

I constantly update my skills and apply fresh knowledge to help people everywhere. I love teaching clients how to improve their bodies and have worked alongside Osteopaths to help clients. Good posture is really important for everyone and Pilates can provide strength, release stress, decrease pain, improve mobility and provide relaxation (amongst many other things).

I am qualified in antenatal and postnatal exercise, Nutrition and Weight Management, teach 1-to-1 and Group Pilates classes, Barre Pilates Method, Trigger Point Pilates and use a range of small equipment in classes. I work towards helping people find clarity, peace of mind, fulfilment and happiness.

Joanna White
Joanna White - Pilates tutor

Joanna White - Pilates tutor

I am a graduate, Mum of 2 girls and have been working in the Fitness Industry since 2010. Initially I began my career as an aerobics instructor and then went on to qualify in Les Mills programmes Body Pump & Body Attack.

My interest in Pilates came after qualifying in Pure Stretch and realising how beneficial stretching and core exercises can be for the overall health and prevention of injury. I then went on to qualify in Pilates and Exercise Referral which enables me to help a wider variety of clients with their overall strength and flexibility. I am also a qualified tutor trainer and have run several courses training new instructors and helping them get started in the industry.

Martin Popplewell - History tutor

I am from York and have taught adults and children of all ages for many years. My qualifications include an MA in history from The University of York and National Professional Qualification for Headteachers.

In addition to sharing my passion for history, My interests include swimming, playing football and cricket, drawing, painting, playing the guitar and dancing. I also teach swimming and works as a story teller and tour guide.

Louise Caruso
Louise Caruso - Spanish and Italian tutor

Louise Caruso - Spanish and Italian tutor

I gained a degree in European Studies with Spanish and Italian at the University of Birmingham.  As part of this, I lived and studied in Verona, Italy and Málaga in Spain.

After my degree, I completed a PGCE at the University of York.  I have taught Spanish, Italian and French at secondary schools in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire and joined York Learning in 2019.

Ulrike Wray
Ulrike Wray - German tutor

Ulrike Wray - German tutor

I am a native German teacher with more than 25 years’ experience of language teaching, primarily at the University of York as well as in Industry (Oetker, Nestlé, Haribo). In 1989, I came to the UK to study (BA in Economics, MSc in Economics and Finance) and fell in love with the country and its people.

My main interests outside of teaching German are in literature, music and art which sometimes allows me to bring some added cultural literacy to the lessons. I joined York Learning in the autumn of 2020.

Mireia Llaurado
Mireia Llaurado - Spanish tutor

Mireia Llaurado - Spanish tutor

I’m a native, qualified, enthusiastic and experienced Spanish teacher. I was born in Barcelona, where I studied Science Education and I obtained a Postgraduate Degree in teaching at the Universidad de Barcelona.  I have been teaching Spanish Language from 2017, when I came to live to England.

I am currently working as a Spanish Tutor at Leeds University and the Instituto Cervantes. I joined York Learning in September of 2018. I enjoy my job in York Learning and I would like to continue helping people to achieve their objectives.

Wendy Jacob
Wendy Jacob - Wellbeing tutor

Wendy Jacob - Wellbeing tutor

I am a journalist and yoga teacher based in York. I present workshops that are aimed at increasing knowledge and interest in health and wellbeing, including improving sleep, understanding anxiety and depression and developing an inclusive approach to wellbeing in the workplace.

I also offer an accredited yoga and meditation teacher training course in York. My aim is to encourage people to develop their own interests and abilities, improve their knowledge of their health and develop skills that will support them through different stages of life. I write and broadcast on yoga, health and wellness, insomnia and bereavement and offer a consultancy service to companies and organisations that are interested in improving wellness in the workplace.

Diane Wilkinson
Diane Wilkinson - Wellbeing tutor

Diane Wilkinson - Wellbeing tutor

I am a self- employed professional learning and development, and mindfulness facilitator.  My career has been in training, education and customer service and management working for the NHS, Police, and various sectors across Yorkshire, including a voluntary project in West Africa.

My interests include psychology, mindfulness, cycling, swimming, creative writing, and travel.  I am passionate about personal development and learning about how our mind works, especially to help improve mental health and wellbeing. I have researched theories and models and delivered various practical courses to help people gain confidence, insight and enhance their abilities and potential for work and daily life.

Ana Buede-Fletcher - Wellbeing tutor

In my long career as an English and Wellbeing tutor I have had the chance to support learners not only academically but also in a pastoral way. I have worked with people who have experienced a wide range of mental health issues (autism, ADHD, anxiety, depression, PTSD, among others) and have set up courses in Wellbeing and Mindfulness in the Selby community as well as at York Learning and York University.

I am passionate about teaching and learning, and about Mindfulness and nothing gives me more joy than seeing people overcome their barriers to learning and achieve their goals. I believe that an understanding of emotional factors and how the nervous system operates helps me to deal better with difficulties students may experience when engaging in learning. Mindfulness has been proved to improve academic performance through enhanced concentration as well as developing emotional resilience, interpersonal skills and overall well-being. I believe these skills are essential if our students are to excel not only academically but, even more importantly, as emotionally and socially competent, well-integrated members of society.

Emily Lawler
Emily Lawler - Singing tutor

Emily Lawler - Singing tutor

Originally from Lowestoft in Suffolk, I am a freelance musician now based in York. Currently undergoing an MA in Community Music at York St. John University, my developing community practice incorporates a wide variety of musical mediums including violin, singing, music theory, samba percussion, handbells, and gamelan.

When not studying, I also performs in a folk/country band as well as dabbling in private teaching, session work, and composing/arranging. My community music roots have always been my calling, though; above all I love sharing music with others and being part of a community of all musical ages, skills, and interests.

I am really looking forward to working with the Singing for Fun group to build their repertoire, skills, and confidence! My classes are aimed at social dancers, giving pupils the skills to get up and dance social events or even in their own kitchen!

Meet the tutor: Martin Morse
Martin Morse - Guitar tutor

Martin Morse - Guitar tutor

I have been playing and teaching guitar for around 40 years, and I am also an experienced teacher of Science for 35 years.

I am passionate about the guitar and have played in Rock/pop groups for a long time. I also play in a Classical Guitar ensemble. However, it is the teaching of guitar at all levels that I enjoy most of all. I hope that with my hard work and enthusiasm and your patience and perseverance you will enjoy making progress learning many styles of guitar.

Kayleigh Chambers
Kayleigh Chambers - Ballroom Jive Tutor

Kayleigh Chambers - Ballroom Jive Tutor

I am trained in Ballroom, Latin-American, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Disco Freestyle with renowned professional, Ann Lister. I competed at National and UK level before qualifying as a teacher to train both regional and national champions. Since moving to York, I have specialised in Ballroom & Latin for both adults and children alike.

My classes are aimed at social dancers, giving pupils the skills to get up and dance social events or even in their own kitchen!

Meet the tutor: Chris Manson
Chris Manson - Photography tutor

Chris Manson - Photography tutor

I am a photographer and educator with a focus on documentary and landscape photography. My photographs have been published in a number of publications including The Observer on Sunday, Time Out Magazine, and on The New York Times LENS blog.

I am also the author of numerous self-published documentary photobooks focused on diabetes and First Nation health in remote northern regions of Canada.

Min Lim
Min Lim - Photography tutor

Min Lim - Photography tutor

I am a photographer, filmmaker and educator, working as both an independent artist and as a freelance commercial video producer. Originally from South Korea, I studied Photography and Related Media at Chung-Ang University and have won various awards including the Canon Korea future prize.

My work has been exhibited at art exhibitions and film festivals internationally. I am very passionate about teaching, and have designed and taught courses for students of all ages and backgrounds.

I am the founder and coordinator of York Photography Meetup (meetup.com/eboracum), an open group for people who love photography and the outdoors. My workshops aim to inspire people to see differently through the camera, encourage creativity and improve technical skills while having fun and building a strong collection of work.

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