Who we are.
We’re committed to bringing out the best in every student – and every tutor
Our ethos and values

Taking inspiration – and our name – from an ancient symbol of knowledge, we want Figtree to embody both the wisdom of experience and the power of continual growth.

Our values are rooted in the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to realise their potential, in their own way. So whether we’re checking in outside hours or simply offering a listening ear, we’re always ready to go the extra mile to help our students excel.

Tailored learning

We take the time to get to know our students, so we can match everyone with the right tutor, who will adopt the right approach. To ensure the right results.

Shared goals

Our unique in-house forum gives tutors the opportunity to share experiences, celebrate successes and overcome challenges – so you have a whole network of masterminds in your corner.

Nurturing approach

We’re always here to help, even outside of hours. And because our work goes on to support those who don’t have access to private tuition, every session opens opportunities for others too.

Our core team

Led by Figtree founder, Ariana, our core agency team is dedicated to ensuring the smooth running of every session. We’ll be the ones to meet with you first, to match you with your tutor – and provide ongoing support throughout your time with us.

We’re also here to help our tutors. Whether arranging training, taking care of the admin or building a ‘super tutor’ network to provide advice and guidance through every assignment, we’re focused on creating an environment where our tutors – as well as our clients – can flourish.

Advisory board

Comprising experts from across the educational landscape, our advisory board provides independent advice and support to the Figtree team. Whether from positions of leadership in independent or state schools, as governors, policy advisors or even just as parents, each member of the board brings intimate knowledge and experience of the education sector, to help us continually improve our tuition, and the way we work with our families.

Some of our tutors

At Figtree, we’re looking for more than top grades and accomplished careers. Our rigorous selection process includes Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks, thorough personal and professional referencing, and verification of all professional and academic qualifications. But it’s also really important to us that our tutors love what they do. So we take the time to get to know each and every tutor, to make sure they have the collaborative spirit and open mind to become a true part of the Figtree team.

Maths and Business Tutor

Currently working on her MBA at London Business School, Ade has four years’ experience in banking and finance and has taught students across both disciplines up to graduate level. She is an engineer by training, having graduated from Loughborough University, and she began her teaching career helping students aged 11-18 to hone their maths and science skills.

Ade is an avid runner and has completed the Virgin Half Marathon. She’s also a keen public speaker – most recently working on a voiceover for a health programme in Africa.

Senior Maths Specialist

Cambridge graduate and maths whizz, Josh provides expert one-to-one maths tuition to children as young as five – all the way up to A-level students preparing for university entry. His diligent and methodical approach focuses on finding new ways to help students get to grips with complex theory. Whether devising targeted ‘take aways’ for them to work on between sessions or developing videos focused on Oxbridge entrance exam papers, Josh is a creative and committed tutor.

Alongside his maths degree, Josh completed an additional first-year physics course. A keen writer, he was a regular contributor to Cambridge University’s student paper, and he is currently teaching himself Spanish. An International Baccalaureate alumnus, with wide-ranging interests across academia and beyond, Josh helps to instil curiosity and confidence in his students.

SAT and ACT Specialist

Joshua has been a tutor for over five years, working internationally and across a range of curricula. A STEM graduate from UCL, he brings extensive experience of education systems around the world to the Figtree team. He is one of our US college application specialists, supporting students from their SAT and ACT examinations, through interview and onto Ivy League institutions. A number of Joshua’s students have also secured Honors and Dean’s scholarships.

Closer to home, Joshua applies his enthusiasm and results-driven approach to help students secure places at top independent schools and Russell Group universities across the UK. He is experienced working with children preparing for the 11-Plus, and his A-level students have gone on to study natural sciences, pharmacy and medicine.

As much an educational consultant as a tutor, Joshua takes time getting to know his students – identifying their points of need and working together to set smart goals. His sessions are designed to stretch, giving his students the confidence to take any challenge in their stride.  


Senior Tutor

Shonnelly is one of our most experienced senior tutors, and has been working with Figtree for over five years. She supports students across the GCSE and A-level syllabuses, focusing on the sciences, maths, English literature and language, French and music. A firm favourite among our families, parents and children alike continue to request Shonnelly for her focus, dedication and passion.

Shonnelly is adept at building the confidence of her students, working on exam technique and helping to structure revision so that it remains effective and manageable. She takes a nurturing, patient approach to every session, and has supported children of all ages to embrace their studies. Her advanced medical studies at Imperial College are particularly inspiring for her science and maths students, who respond extremely well to her tuition.

Senior Science Specialist

One of Figtree’s science specialists, Tierney holds a Masters in Neuroscience from the University of Edinburgh. She completed her undergraduate degree at Oxford University, where she studied biomedical sciences, specialising in neuroscience. 

Tierney has loved the sciences since school, and as a tutor, she looks to share this passion with her students through engaging and creative sessions. As well as tutoring GCSE and A-level students across the three sciences, she is one of our specialist 11-Plus tutors – putting her analytical mind to work to support children as they get to grips with brand-new concepts.

When she’s not tutoring, Tierney likes to explore her creative side. She is currently taking contemporary dance classes and a print-making course.


Ariana Azad
CEO & Founder

Ariana’s journey to becoming an educational expert began early in her career as a lawyer, inspired by the idea of being able to make a difference in people’s lives. Having started as a human rights consultant for the United Nations she went on to train as a solicitor in the City, spending several years at some of the top law firms, both in the UK and the US. While the work was dynamic and exciting, Ariana felt there was room for more.

Still a solicitor, she began volunteering with an extraordinary educational charity, ‘One Degree’ – first as a mentor and then as a trustee – helping them structure an engaging and tailored educational mentoring programme. And so the first seeds of Figtree were planted. Through her work with One Degree, Ariana learnt that one-to-one tuition could change the course of a child’s future. Always conscious of this impact, she carefully selects skilled, inspiring and dedicated tutors. With the patience and intuition to take a tailored approach, and supported by the Figtree training team, each tutor is determined to cultivate their students’ self-belief to see them maximise their potential and achieve the best they can.

Founding Figtree has given Ariana the opportunity to distill her unwavering passion into a unique approach, blurring the lines between tutoring and mentoring. Providing diligent, one-to-one time and attention is at the core of Figtree’s mission. Keeping charitable activities at the forefront, Ariana and the team hope to enable individuals from all backgrounds and walks of life to have access to tutoring and mentoring. “With Figtree, and its affiliations in the non-profit sector, we hope to continue to provide professional, nurturing support that inspires children to set their own goals – and achieve them”.

Lizzie Dixey
Operations Manager

Lizzie studied Drama and Spanish at Exeter University. After graduating, she spent ten years working for some of London’s top advertising and design agencies, where she project managed campaigns for multi-national brands.

With a wealth of experience juggling multiple projects and stakeholders at any one time, Lizzie is perfectly placed to meet the needs of our Figtree team, and all of our families. She is also a governor of Harris Academy East Dulwich, which is part of the Harris Federation, the top performing multi-academy trust.

Misa Zahar
Strategy Director

A founding member of a prominent educational charity, Misa brings her passion for learning to the Figtree team as Strategy Director. During her MBA at London Business School, Misa was instrumental in setting up, and securing funding for, an educational charity that supports disadvantaged students in London. Since this life-changing experience, mentoring and nurturing talent have been at the core of Misa’s career.

Experienced in creating digitally-enabled businesses, Misa’s role as Strategy Director is to support Figtree’s growth into new markets, managing marketing across channels and ensuring best commercial practices are met.

Misa is also Figtree’s resident university application expert. Supporting undergraduate and postgraduate applications, Misa’s students have gone on to study at leading institutions across the UK, US and France. She has extensive personal and professional experience of the French education system, following her French Baccalauréat with International Option in Paris, and law degree with London School of Economics and Panthéon-Assas Université Paris II.

With her charitable background, and a strong-held belief that education should be accessible to all, the Figtree Foundation is a project close to Misa’s heart. She is committed to developing free tailored tuition to support students in need, delivering the Foundation’s mission for equality in education through everything she does.

Richard Maurice
Vice Principal, Harris Academy Wimbledon

Richard has been working in education since 2006 as a Geography teacher, Head of Department, Lead Geography Consultant and most recently as Vice Principal for Harris Academy Wimbledon where he oversees Teaching & Learning and Curriculum Development. He is a former Governor of a top-performing girl’s school in Bromley.

Richard has a First Class Degree in Geography from the University of Exeter and a Masters from UCL in Curriculum Studies in which he achieved a Distinction. His main interest in how theories in Cognitive Science can be used to improve long term memory and retention of knowledge.

Irum Kareem
Senior Solicitor, Department of Education

A lead lawyer for the Department for Education, Irum works at the forefront of educational developments and departmental policy. She is adept at navigating school systems in both a professional and personal capacity, and has an in-depth understanding of the nuances of the independent school sector. Successfully leading her three children through the 11-Plus to secure places at London’s top independent schools, Irum is very familiar with the unique challenges this demanding exam poses.

With her methodical approach, keen attention to detail and diverse experience working across public and private sectors, Irum brings passion and professionalism to the Figtree team. She is the Governor of a leading independent primary school in North London, where she draws on her strategic skills and knowledge of the education sector to help create the best possible learning environment.

Sarah O’Neill
General Counsel

Having attended a number of top independent schools herself, Sarah has first-hand experience of the sector, all the way from pre-school to sixth form. She graduated with a First-Class Honours degree in Law from Cambridge University, and has worked as a City lawyer for over 19 years – most recently as General Counsel for a large international law firm. Responsible for the firm’s regulatory compliance and risk management, Sarah built up a team of over 50 lawyers and risk professionals, working across multiple locations. Throughout her professional career, she has trained, coached and mentored her colleagues to ensure optimal individual and team performance.

Sarah has three children who are all currently studying at top independent schools in South London. Drawing on her personal experience as a pupil and a mother, she is passionate about helping children and young adults to find the school or university that will meet their needs and enable them to flourish.

Benedict Dunhill
Headmaster and Educational Consultant

Benedict has 25 years’ experience working in British private schools – with 10 years in senior schools as a teacher, tutor and boarding housemaster, followed by 14 years of headship in leading boarding prep schools and a London day prep. He has been a governor within the Drapers’ Multi-Academy Trust in Havering for the past six years, has served as an inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate, ISI, and is an accredited mentor.

Benedict brings a broad overview of the independent school sector from age three to 18, in co-educational and single sex, and boarding and day settings. This perspective, and his deep knowledge of the transition requirements at each stage – as well as his many close contacts within schools – means he can offer a highly informed and impartial view across children’s entire educational journey.

Benedict also taught English in Le Puy, France, and he has a degree in French Language and Literature from UCL. He began his working life in the City before moving into education.

11-Plus Specialist

Complementing her own excellent academic record, accomplished mathematics graduate Rudi already has several years’ agency and independent tutoring experience under her belt. Working with a wide range of students from their first years at primary school, all the way to university entrance, Rudi has seen her pupils successfully through 11+, 13+, GCSE, AS-level, A-level and SAT exams.

Having studied mathematical education as part of her degree, Rudi is well versed on the different ways in which she can bring her subject to life. Through her tailored, confidence-boosting support, she’s keen to ensure every student gets to grips with this fundamental subject.

Rudi isn’t just our resident maths expert. An avid reader and keen writer, she was initially accepted at several top universities to study English. Having completed a number of creative writing courses after her degree, Rudi now supports students with both their English literature and language studies. She also works with our university applicants on their personal statements, and helps prepare them for their interviews.

Energetic, experienced and eager to put the fun back into her subjects, Rudi plays a passionate part in our core tutoring team.

EAL Tutor

Eve graduated in 2012 from the University of Bristol with a first-class honours degree in Theatre, Film and Television. Following her Masters in Text and Performance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and Birkbeck College, Eve embarked on a successful career as an actress, writer and director.

Turning her knowledge and experience to the world of tutoring, Eve now shares her passion for theatre, film and literature with students of all ages. Her background in performance theory and practice has proven invaluable to some of our A-level and university students, whom she has supported with subjects as diverse as documentary and world cinema, to architecture and globalisation.

With a skill set that covers elocution, accent training, voice coaching, playwriting and audition techniques, she has successfully prepared students for entry to the Central School of Speech and Drama, the film department at the University of Columbia and the International Section of the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle.

Engaging, inspiring and with a genuine passion for her craft, Eve leverages her creative background to bring a joy to all her sessions.

English Literature Lead

Established English tutor and accomplished writer, Khaled is the founder of Figtree’s first creative writing class. Having studied English at the American University of Beirut, Khaled graduated with distinction and spent the next 10 years working as an English teacher in Paris. He joined the Figtree team two years ago and specialises in tutoring English comprehension, French and creative writing.

Khaled has a wealth of experience in preparing pupils for the 11+ and GCSE exams, and his creative writing classes help students of all ages improve their hold on the English language, across a whole range of academic pursuits. As a skilled writer himself, Khaled inspires confidence and passion in students and parents alike. His nurturing approach, imagination and sheer dedication will bring the creative spirit out of anyone.

Become a Figtree tutor

Whether you’re taking the next step in your tutoring career or are seeking a completely new challenge, we’re always on the lookout for bright minds and creative thinkers to join the Figtree team. If you have a passion for learning and the drive to make a difference, we want to hear from you.


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