About Us

British Consultants

All our consultants have over twenty years of advising experience and/or have held management positions in UK universities.

British Consultants

All our consultants have over twenty years of advising experience and/or have held management positions in UK universities.
We’ve also taught/are teaching in the UK or at international schools: we have first-hand knowledge of the qualifications and likely experiences that the students you will be competing against will have. All clients will have access to subject-specialists and/or Oxford and Cambridge graduate teachers.

Impartial Advice

We are not an agency. We do not receive ‘finders fees’ (commission) paid by certain universities to in-country agents to recruit for them.

Impartial Advice

Let’s make this very clear: WE ARE NOT AN AGENCY.
We do not receive ‘finders fees’ (commission) paid by certain universities to in-country agents to recruit for them. We generally help students enter the best ‘selecting’ universities.
These all have strong international reputations and don’t need to pay companies based in the EU to recruit for them. Not being financially tied to any institution allows us to give the best possible advice on course and university selection.

Personalised Service

It all starts with a 2 hour consultation meeting - we ensure that students are completely aware of all the study options available to them.

Personalised Service

It all starts with a 2 hour consultation meeting – we ensure that students are completely aware of all the study options available to them. After that, we are effectively open ‘non-stop’ until the student flies to the UK. Want to call us in the evening with a burning question?
That’s just fine. You can only meet us at weekends? Not a problem either. The ‘application journey’ can be a long and demanding one, but we take great pride in being there for our clients every step of the way.

International Coverage

Through video conferencing, we can offer our unique support packages globally.

International Coverage

Through video conferencing, we can offer our unique support packages globally. We have recently supported applicants from Romania, the UK, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada and Qatar. We have an office in Bucharest and will shortly be opening a second in Southeast Asia.


All our consultants have over twenty years of advising experience and/or have held management positions in UK universities.

Impartial advice

We are not an agency. We do not receive ‘finders fees’ (commission) paid by certain universities to in-country agents to recruit for them.

Personalised service

It all starts with a 2 hour meeting – we ensure that students are completely aware of all the study options available to them.

International coverage

Through video conferencing, we can offer our unique support packages globally.

Our History

While teaching in state and private high schools back in 2009, Simon identified a need for a totally independent admissions consultancy service:

“Some of my former students who had achieved good grades were on inappropriate courses at unsuitable UK universities. Most changed their course or found an alternative place to study. I knew that with good advice these situations could have been easily avoided.”

Albion International Study was founded a year later; initially focused on helping students enter universities ranked in the UK top 30 including Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, UCL, the London School of Economics, Durham, Warwick and Bath.

“From the very start, we wanted to provide totally independent and unbiased advice to prepare students for entry into universities that are best suited to their individual desires, talents and career aspirations. We represent our clients (students and their parents), not university recruitment teams.”

His unashamedly ‘mature’ team of consultants share his passion for helping young people succeed:

“We only recruit consultants who have substantial school or university teaching experience and a genuine passion for their subject. The way in which they give feedback to our clients during the critical personal statement writing phase actually helps them develop academically as well as helping them to find their own unique voice in producing place-winning applications.”

Simon is convinced that this experience is the secret behind Albion’s success:

“I’ve been helping students with their applications since 1993 and attended countless training sessions on UCAS personal statement and reference writing. We’ve also visited nearly every top 30 university in the UK. Two of our team have even taught in them! You simply can’t acquire this knowledge overnight and we feel it gives our clients a critical advantage in choosing the right course at the right universities and producing the strongest possible application.”

Meet the Team

Simon Parker

Managing Director of Albion International Study, Senior Consultant

BA (Hons) Economics, University of East Anglia,
Post Graduate Certificate of Education, University of York

Simon has been successfully advising students on British university applications for over 30 years.

He was a personal tutor and Business and Economics teacher at John Leggott College in Scunthorpe, UK, between 1991 and 2000, helping students choose their courses and guiding them through the UCAS admissions system.

He relocated to Romania in 2003, initially teaching in state and private schools before becoming a freelance teacher trainer.

Simon conducts the initial interviews with students and their families and then coordinates their support throughout the application cycle. He manages all non- art and music ‘Finding Your Future’ support packages and has the responsibility for ‘signing off’ all our applications.

His other roles include advising on student finance, help with finding accommodation and orientation and team training. Despite the growth of the company, he still helps a small number of clients with their personal statements who are applying for business-related degree subjects.

Stuart Elford

Training Director, Senior Consultant for Oxford, Consultant for Mathematics and Computer Science Applications

MA in Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge,
Postgraduate Certificate in Education, University of Cambridge,
MA in Christian Ethics, King’s College, London,
Cambridge CELTA Certificate in teaching English to adults

Stuart worked for a total of 25 years as a Biology (and sometimes Psychology) teacher at advanced level in six academically competitive independent schools in the UK, from which the great majority of graduating students went on to ranking British universities. Since 1999 Stuart has lived mainly in Romania, with a three-year return to Biology teaching in the UK between 2011 and 2014. He has had experience of teaching English in the Romanian state high school system and at university level (UVT, Timisoara).

Joining us in 2012, Stuart is our most experienced and longest-serving team member. He has had the privilege of working directly with over 240 applicants and has enjoyed seeing 47 gain entry to Oxford or Cambridge, with many others finding their niches in other prestigious universities. His current role includes training new team members in the subtle art of giving well-calibrated feedback on their students’ personal statements, along with offering ‘second opinions’ on Oxford and Cambridge statements supported by other colleagues. He will also be directly supporting personal statement revision for those making Mathematics and Computer Science applications.

Gay Crystal

Senior Consultant for Art & Design and Architecture Applications

Diploma in Art and Design Textiles/Fashion, Winchester School of Art,
Post Graduate Certificate of Education, University of Central Lancashire,
Post Graduate Certificate in Educational Management, Lancaster University

Gay began her career as a freelance textile designer before gaining thirty years’ experience teaching Art and Design at Huddersfield University and Runshaw College in Lancashire.

She taught on, and managed, a highly successful Foundation Studies Art and Design course from which students progressed on to degree programmes at leading Arts universities and Architecture faculties in the UK.

She has been part of our team since 2014 and has successfully worked with over thirty students. Her many successes include helping students win places for Fine Art at Oxford, Newcastle and the University of the Arts, Architecture at UCL, Central Saint Martins, Sheffield, Cardiff and Nottingham, Fashion Marketing at the London School of Fashion, Manchester and Leeds, Product Design at Loughborough and Art History at UCL.

Gay advises clients via a combination of Skype meetings and emails, carrying out an initial review of their all-important portfolios and then helping them produce strong and effective personal statements, and is always on hand to offer subject specific guidance for interviews and requests from the Art and Architecture schools for submissions of their artwork.

Dr. Dorothy Elford

Senior Consultant for Foreign Languages Applications
Senior advisor for Oxford and Cambridge Applications

MA in Classics, University of Cambridge,
Postgraduate Certificate in Education, University of London Institute of Education,
PhD in Medieval Philosophy, Cambridge University,
Cambridge CELTA Certificate in teaching English to adults

After a varied teaching career in the UK (Greek, Latin and History, English for speakers of other languages, and Special Needs literacy work), Dorothy relocated to Romania in 1999. Here she has taught English in high schools (for six years), in companies and to individuals, both adults and children.

She also has extensive experience as a translator and proofreader. Within Albion, Dorothy has the enviable reputation of being able to spot a misplaced semicolon from approximately 200 metres. Her eagle eyes scan the personal statements Stuart reviews and she brings her own academic expertise to Classics, Modern Languages, Linguistics and History applications. Dorothy also offers valuable critical ‘second opinions’ on statements written by our clients with the support of other Albion consultants and makes an important contribution to developing our team training materials.

Ronald Roberts

Consultant supporting Law Applicants’ Personal Statements

BA Law, Balliol College, Oxford,
LLM Law, Harvard

Ronald is our newest team member and will be supporting our law applicants with their personal statements this year. He holds a BA in law from Balliol College, Oxford and was the first black British citizen to have graduated from the Harvard Law School LLM program. He worked for three years (1991-1994) at a major New York law firm, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, and he is currently a visiting Senior Fellow at both the London School of Economics and the University of Liverpool School of Law and Social Justice.

His many research interests include legal reform and institutional innovation across national borders and he is the author of “Clarence Thomas and the Tough Love Crowd: Counterfeit Heroes and Unhappy Truths”, a biographical review of a US Supreme Court judge.

A true academic all-rounder, Ronald has also taught at university level and published peer reviewed papers in Politics, Law, Geospatial Analytics and Cultural Studies.

Dr. Graham Ford

Senior Consultant for History, Politics and Social Science Applications

BA (Hons) European History, University of East Anglia,
PhD in History, University of East Anglia

Graham taught history at Warwick, Bath Spa and Teesside universities for more than 25 years and has published articles in scholarly journals relating to the social and political history of modern Germany. He has held a number of important university administrative roles, including BA programme leader and BA admissions tutor. He is currently a TEFL teacher.

He joined the Albion team in 2015 and his many successes of the most recent 2018/19 application cycle include three students being offered places at the London School of Economics for History and Politics. He is also part of our Oxford and Cambridge interview preparation team for History, Human, Social and Political Sciences and Politics, Philosophy and Economics applications.

David Shoukry

Consultant for Music, Music Technology and Oxford and Cambridge Applications

BA and MA in Music, University of Oxford,
Post Graduate Certificate in Education, University of Surrey

David has 18 years’ experience of teaching Music and Music Technology in independent schools, both in the UK and abroad, having been both a Head of Department and Assistant Head.

In addition to teaching, David is an A Level Music examiner for Cambridge, and examines for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, in London. David has also previously been an A Level examiner for Edexcel Music Technology. He is experienced with coaching Music students to help them enter excellent British universities, including Oxford and Cambridge.

David can also offer tutoring via Skype to help students prepare for the various A Level and Associated Board music exams which are usually required for entry on to British music degree programmes both at universities, specialist music colleges and conservatoires.

Valerie Shoukry

Consultant for Foreign Languages and Oxford and Cambridge Applications

BA and MA in Modern Languages, University of Cambridge,
Post Graduate Certificate in Education, University of Cambridge

Valerie is a very experienced languages teacher who has taught to university entrance level in independent schools, both in the UK and around the world.

In addition to school teaching, she worked for the British Foreign Office in Brussels, teaching language skills to diplomats there.

A British national, Valerie is fluent in both French and Spanish, and is a specialist in French literature, which will be very useful in preparing foreign language clients for Oxford and Cambridge applications.

Richard Smith

Consultant for Economics, Business and Management related Applications

BA (Hons) Economics, Birmingham Polytechnic,
Post Graduate Certificate of Education, Warwick University

Richard has been successfully supporting Stuart and Simon with Economics and Business applications since August 2018. He started his career as a graduate trainee with Abbey National bank PLC within their retail banking division, progressing on to become a branch manager both in London and the West Midlands. He has been a teacher for nine years at a highly academic private school where he is Head of Business at the school as well as being a teacher of Economics. He is also a senior tutor responsible for supporting students through their university applications as well as providing specialist advice for those looking to study any of the multitude of Business and Economics related courses.

Trevor Kingston

Senior Consultant for English, Creative Writing and Media-related Applications

BA English and History, University of Southampton

Trevor is a retired Head of English, who has run highly successful English Departments in both the UK and continental Europe. He is an author of critical analysis of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and is an examiner for the AQA examination board. He also contributes papers to Academia.edu, a free to use academic facility to support student learning around the globe. Trevor has an excellent track record of facilitating success in English and English Literature at both IGCSE and A Level and has also supported students studying at university.

Trevor has been working with our clients since 2016, helping students receive interviews at Cambridge and places at Durham (currently ranked #1 in the UK for English Literature), Loughborough, Queen Mary and Leeds.

David Donoghue

Consultant for Biochemistry-related and Healthcare Applications

BA Natural Sciences (Specialising in Biochemistry with Immunology) Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin,
PGCE in Biology with Balanced Sciences from Aberystwyth University

A British and Irish citizen, David is one of our newest team members. He is an experienced biology and chemistry teacher at a private school in the UK, currently teaching Years 6-13. He is Head of Year 7 and has been his school’s Science Outreach Coordinator organising science outreach activities that have had a direct impact on over 8,000 people in the locality. As a Sixth Form tutor and Senior Tutor he shared the responsibility for overseeing all UK university applications at his school and was heavily involved in a successful medical school interview training programme. He is also an examiner for A Level Biology, having examined for English, Welsh and Singaporian exam boards.

Daniel Honnor

Consultant for Physics-related and Engineering Applications

BA Physics, University of Oxford, St Hugh’s College, Physics

Another one of our new team members, Daniel is the Head of Physics at a private school in the UK, a role that includes preparing students for physics and engineering university applications as well as running Oxford and Cambridge interview practise sessions for applicants for these universities. As a Sixth Form tutor, he also supports students applying for a wide range of subjects with their personal statements.

Stacey Jackson

Consultant for History, Politics and Social Science Applications

BA (hons) History, Royal Holloway, University of London,
MA Education and International Development, UCL

Another new team member, Stacey has nearly twenty years of teaching and teacher training experience in schools in Tanzania, Cairo and Armenia as well as the UK, where she is currently the Head of History and Politics at a leading private school. Throughout her career she has either been her school’s careers counsellor, or has worked alongside them, preparing literally thousands of students for their lives beyond school, and helping them enter many of the world’s best academic institutions. She is also an examiner for the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA), grading IGCSE History papers from students around the world.

Adam Chappell

Consultant for Physics and Engineering Applications

BSc in Physics and Astrophysics, University of Leicester,
Postgraduate Certificate in Education, University of Leicester

Adam has over 20 years’ teaching experience and was Head of Science for over 10 years at an academically selective independent school in the UK. During that time, he worked as part of the Careers Department and as a Sixth Form Tutor helping students with their university applications. He helped coordinate mock Oxbridge interviews between neighbouring schools and ran outreach courses. Many of his students went on to gain places at top British universities for physics, engineering, medicine, and natural sciences. He currently works as a Physics and Applied Science teacher in a sixth form college and tutors privately.

Arabella McIntyre-Brown

Proof-reader for Personal Statements

Published Author

At Albion, every personal statement is checked by at least two team members. Arabella is ideally suited to this important role as she is an award-winning business editor, and author of an acclaimed history book, ‘Liverpool: The First 1,000 Years’.

She is now lives in a famous Transylvanian village where she writes children’s fiction and works as an editor and proof reader. She has just published a book, A Stake in Transylvania, about her life in the village and often travels to Bucharest to teach creative writing classes to school students and adults.

Caroline Charlton

Proof-reader for References

BA (hons) German with International Studies, University of Warwick
MA European Community Studies, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne

According to UCAS, the quality of the English in a reference can be just as important as an applicant’s own use of language. Caroline has been working with Albion since 2012, playing the vital but largely unseen role of proofreading the references for the schools our clients attend.

She has been working in the fields of language teaching, proofreading and translation for over 20 years.

Caroline started her career in 1996 in Greece, where she taught English to primary, secondary and high school students as well as adults at private language schools. In addition to English, she also teaches German. Caroline is also fluent in German, Romanian and Greek, and also has extensive experience in the translation and proofreading of a diverse range of materials, including literature, historical and scientific documents as well as poetry.