GEMS World Academy (Singapore) is making waves as an international school that encourages children to be innovative, creative and curious through its inspiring International Baccalaureate program – we love its teaching approach that treats each child with respect, and as an individual. We had a chat with Head of School Richard Henry to get the inside story on why families find this school such a fresh breath of air. Watch our chat with Richard, and get find out more about the GEMS Singapore approach in his full interview below!
Please tell us a little about yourself – where is your hometown and what would your students be surprised to know?
I was born in Scotland, raised in Brisbane, Australia and began my teaching career in the state and private education systems of Queensland, Australia.
Prior to joining GEMS Singapore, I was the Director of global school services for the International Baccalaureate and oversaw the authorisation and evaluation of all IB across the globe.
Students may be surprised to know that I have lived on four continents and can speak Bahasa Indonesia as well as a small amount of Dutch.
What’s your philosophy towards education?
I believe in an education that focuses on the development of the whole child, both in the classroom and in the world outside. Nurturing independent learning skills, and encouraging every student to take responsibility for their learning.
I think it is important to develop students’ academic, social and emotional well-being, while focusing on international-mindedness and the development of strong personal values. Modern education systems need to provide outstanding international education through a balanced curriculum delivered across academics, sports and the arts.
How do you see GEMS Singapore as different to other international schools in Singapore?
GEMS Singapore treats each child as an individual. Our personalised approach to teaching and learning sets this school apart.
GEMS Singapore is one of the few schools that can provide an International Baccalaureate (IB) education for children throughout all grades in the school. We offer the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) frameworks of education and lead students into successfully completing the widely recognised IB Diploma Programme (DP).
Tell us about your school’s community…
Over 70 countries are represented in our student and teaching community, so our students are continually exposed to new and different ideas and ways of learning.
This in itself is something to be celebrated and I am proud to be associated with parents who want their children to be truly internationally minded and learn to respect others as they grow into adulthood.
What really works to develop a strong partnership between students, parents and teachers?
It is my belief that an effective partnership between teachers, students and parents is what makes a successful educational experience. Communication is the key.
Not all schools are the same and not all parents have the same expectations. But it is my role to help lead our community towards a common understanding of our approach to education. An effective triangle of collaboration, cooperation and understanding lets us best support the individual needs of children.
What do you love most about leading this school?
The best part of my job is working with children with such diverse backgrounds yet knowing that there is so much that we have in common as part of humanity. To watch these children develop into genuine citizens of the world is a privilege.
Get more inside stories on GEMS Singapore:
Why the arts and creativity matter at school
Future-proofing kids by focusing on entrepreneurship and innovation
Why the sports field is just as important as the classroom
Teaching kids problem-solving skills: inside a STEM session
This post is sponsored by GEMS World Academy (Singapore)