Our Story

Margo Fourman

Founder, Oxford Specialist Tutors
B.Sc., M.Ed., Fellow of the British Higher Education Academy

Despite working in education and being a teacher her entire life, Margo struggled with severe dyslexia and dyspraxia for most of her life. At age 50 she finally discovered how to turn her disability into a superpower. She now supports students around the world in doing the same for themselves.

Dear fellow learning disabled student or parent,

I’d like to tell you a story that probably sounds familiar to you.

I was a very lonely child. Left out of games, failing at school and constantly judged as falling short compared to my ‘genius’ brothers. For them, academic success seemed to come easily. For me, everything was a struggle.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get even passing grades. Was I really stupid, like everyone told me I was?

I was mocked by my fellow students and judged by my teachers. “Why are you so lazy? Why don’t you just work harder? Why can’t you be more like your brothers?”

Hoping to find a better way for myself and my students, I became a teacher. My colleagues judged me for my learning differences, but worse, they mocked their ‘disabled’ students, with the same judgments that had been piled on me as a child.

I believed that these learning ‘disabled’ students could succeed if they were taught in ways that matched their abilities. But when I suggested changes, I was laughed down by the ‘professionals’.

And Then the UK Government Changed My Life...

In the mid 1980’s, the UK government passed a bill that was designed to level the playing field for those with learning disabilities like ADHD/ADD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Autism, and Aspergers.

Instead of investing even more into the outdated medical model of figuring out what was wrong with people and doing even more research into what labels to assign to people with disabilities, funding went to provide one-on-one tutoring for individual ‘disabled’ students.

This made tutors responsible for finding ways to help each and every student succeed, instead of figuring out what labels to dump on them.

As the tutors grappled with this new challenge, a few gifted educators discovered something that shook the UK education system… these so called ‘disabilities’ were in fact ‘differences’.

In fact, they found that those with these disabilities could actually outperform their ‘normal’ peers by harnessing their unique learning style, and thus turning their disability into a superpower.

I found out about this at the age of 50 after three decades of working as a K-12 teacher. I immediately went back to school to get a Masters in Education, with a specialization in Diversity and Inclusion. While the degree gave me a strong technical background, it was short on practical applications that I could use for myself and my students. So I had to develop them myself.

Through this process, I learned how I actually learned, and went from being the black sheep in my family to not only matching my three ‘genius’ brothers, but outperforming my peers.

It was as if the weight of the world was off my shoulders. Overnight my relationship with my family changed as I transformed from being the ‘problem sister’ to a respected equal. I was able to relate to ‘normal’ people and navigate the world in a way I’d never been able to before.

Once I graduated, I started tutoring students with each of these ‘disabilities’, and was able to help them through the same transformation in months, not years like it took me.

Then One Day, A Single Phone Call Changed Everything

My colleague Elaine, was visiting family in America. She called me and told me something surprising: none of this was available in the USA.

Our neighbors across the pond were completely unaware of the breakthroughs we had been using in the UK for years.

Elaine explained that the big problem for families in America is that the dream of “No Child Left Behind” still falls far short of reality. The Federal Government has mandated special support for learning disabled students, but the vast majority of it is fragmented and formulaic.

In fact, those Federal rules often make things worse. Special needs departments have to focus on ticking boxes to meet the letter of the law instead of on providing the specialized, personal support these students actually need. As a result, it is difficult for the learning disabled to get access to support that will really help them thrive.

Many students grow depressed, wasting their precious time in programs that make bureaucrats happy, but still leave students struggling just to keep up... as their coursework gets more challenging year after year at college.

I knew I had to do something about this.

I had experienced the struggle of living with these ‘disabilities’, and through tutoring students at a UK university for over a decade I know the profound difference our specialist approach can make.

Why should this be available only to UK students when it is perfectly feasible to offer it to America via video call?

I mulled everything over and thought, “Why not?” This could be an opportunity to bring these amazing techniques and approaches at long last to the USA.

But what would American special educators think of this?

To be honest, we weren’t entirely sure how this idea would fly with specialist educators in the USA. Would they think it was just stupid? Would they tell us they already had something better? Would they tell us that we were being pompous Brits?

So, we consulted with special needs educators in the USA. We shared our approach with them.

And... their response was overwhelmingly positive. In fact, they got downright excited! They could just not get over what a difference this new approach could make to their students. Everything they normally struggled with could be surmounted.

In fact, they told us that they wished they could drop the bureaucracy and learn how to provide these kinds of holistic services themselves.

But I Couldn’t Do This on My Own

I quickly realized that the need for our British approach would soon outstrip my individual capacity to provide personal tutoring to every student in America.

So, I looked around at my fellow specialist tutors here at home and realized I had to figure out how to get the very best of the best to work with me on this. “Who would really pull out all the stops for their students? Who would empower them into discovering their personal superpower? Which of them are with me, at the cutting edge of supporting students not just in fitting in, but discovering how to thrive with their unique abilities?”

Unfortunately, not all UK tutors have these gifts... but a few talented individuals do.

After an extensive search, rigorous interviews, and demanding evaluations, I selected eight tutors… the few, elite tutors who could represent the very best of what Britain has to offer and bring those skills to US students who are struggling to find their path to excellence.

We became Oxford Specialist Tutors.

You and I insist on the best college education. Why not insist on the best in specialized study skills as well?

The harsh reality is many bright, talented students with ‘disabilities’ pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for premium college tuitions, and struggle to get the most out of it. As their loads get heavier, their peers unfairly get farther ahead while they still struggle.

Their family relationships strain as their parents demand good grades and success to justify the high cost of tuition, and they cave under the pressure of trying to succeed in a world designed for ‘normal’ people.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

These disabilities can be superpowers. For example, people with dyslexia often have exceptional skills in seeing the big picture, making surprising connections and generally taking a new, creative approach to problems and situations. Those with ADHD excel at multitasking and process information incredibly quickly. Those with Asperger’s and Autism have an incredible ability to understand complex patterns in an instant. Every learning difference has equally compelling, hidden advantages.

A Personalized Approach Is Necessary to Unleash Your Superpower

A ‘one size fits all’ does not work for the intricate complexity and variety of learning disabilities.

No single approach will work for every different learner, even if you narrow things down to one learning disability label (and people commonly have a mix). There is no cookie-cutter solution. Each and every technique needs to be tailored to the individual student.

To be successful you need to engage in a journey of exploration, guided by your specialist tutor, to find your own unique abilities. That’s why our highly-specialized process is so unique - and thus so uniquely effective.

Students who benefit from our specialist tutoring actually do better than their peers at university!

And they improve not just in academics, but in their daily lives as well.

You’re Invited to Join Us

If you or your child:

  • have been working hard, but still struggling to keep up with demanding college coursework
  • have been labeled with ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Autism, or Asperger’s
  • have professors trying to force you to be ‘normal’, when that clearly hasn’t worked for you
  • want to learn how to turn your ‘disability’ into a superpower

...then Oxford Specialist Tutors is here to help.

We employ the most advanced and effective approach to specialist tutoring, developed over almost three decades in the UK.

We have handpicked 8 elite specialist tutors here in the UK, to work with you one-on-one to succeed and thrive in college... and in life.

When you choose to work with Oxford Specialist Tutors, we’ll show you how to harness who you really are into a superpower, instead of forcing you to be like everyone else.

Speak with one of our experts today, and we’ll pair you with the tutor best suited for you.