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Education Matters with Richard Henry of GEMS World Academy (Singapore)

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

In this edition of Education Matters we catch up with Richard Henry, the Head of School for GEMS World Academy Singapore.

Richard Henry, Head of School, GEMS World Academy (Singapore)

Who or what inspired you to teach?

Before I began my educational journey I was studying to be a scientist. It was not always my plan to become a teacher but an opportunity arose in which I could qualify with both a science and teaching degree and I took the chance. During the teaching practicum I had some rewarding experiences engaging with students and decided not to work in a science laboratory but work with children instead. It has been 32 years now and I’ve never looked back.

What was your own favourite subject when you were at school?

I had two favourite subjects at school; biology and physical education. Throughout my school days sport filled my life, seven days a week. Biology showed me the connections that are present everywhere in our planet’s ecosystem and our interconnectedness has always intrigued me ever since.

What is your all time favourite movie?

My favourite movie of all time is The Big Blue (or Le Grand a Leu) which is a story about two free divers, loosely based on a real life story, who are competitive from an early age but also appreciate each other’s passion for the ocean.

What is your personal motto?

My personal motto is “be the water, not the rock “

Top three apps on your phone?

The apps I use every day on my phone are Spotify, WhatsApp, Flipboard and Trello.

If you could be invisible for the day, who would you be and what would you do? Actually, I don’t think I’d want to be invisible for a day. For me being transparent and being myself is very important.

Best thing about your school?

The best thing about our school here at GEMS World Academy Singapore is the community spirit. The teachers and support staff, the students and the parents, all collaborate together to make a wonderfully vibrant and respectful community.

What three things do you need to be a successful educator?

There are many elements to being an educator but I think the three key elements which are necessary are to be caring for others, to be passionate about learning, and to be motivated in wanting to make the world a better place. The teaching profession has a unique responsibility in that the development of a better future is in our hands everyday as we mold the future generations.

How long have you lived in Singapore?

I have lived in Singapore for nearly 3 years.

Your top recommendation for visitors to the “Little Red Dot”

I always recommend visitors to experience the hawker centres, the museums and the Heritage trails. Singaporean culture is rich and diverse and these experiences help people to appreciate that.

What makes the international school experience so special?

International education is uniquely placed because in this environment we can encourage our diverse community members to embrace other cultures, to be open minded and empathetic. I have now lived overseas for the past 19 years and, as a result of my experiences, I am aware of the fact that humanity has much more in common than there are differences. Yet it seems to be the human trait to focus on those differences and, in some cases, fear those differences rather than embrace or commonality. An international school has the opportunity to develop connections across cultures and languages whereby we can create harmony and respect. It is my hope that our school community can do this and then be an example for others.


GEMS World Academy Singapore provides outstanding learning opportunities to the international student community, strengthened by nearly 60 years’ experience from our global network of leading GEMS Education Schools.

Our students, representing more than 60 nationalities, are taught in an environment of mutual respect, transparency and engagement. Our international syllabus provides a balanced education across Academic, Arts and Sports.

To complement our world-class facilities, the inspiring teachers at GEMS World Academy (Singapore) utilise their international teaching experience to enhance our Pre-K to Grade 12 programmes.

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