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Graham Silverthorne

Former Head of UWCSEA East

A History graduate from Cambridge University, Graham spent several years working in banking, editing and the legal world before discovering his life’s passion in teaching.

Originally from the West of England, Graham’s teaching career progressed through posts in Wales, Hampshire and West Berkshire before he took up his first Headteacher appointment at Netherhall School in Cambridge. His second Headship in the UK was at Gordano School, just outside Bristol, where he spent seven years, establishing the School as an independent Foundation School and having a building named after him!

In 2010, he set off on life’s great adventure and became Principal at South Island School, in Hong Kong where he spent 7 very happy years developing a school vision based upon much of the philosophy which underpins the UWC Mission. This adventure brought more bonus than he expected when he met his wife, Wendy, who speaks English a great deal more fluently than he speaks Cantonese. Graham and Wendy love sport (even running in the Singapore heat) and are enthusiastic hikers and cyclists. Wendy has even come to enjoy watching Manchester United play – a team that Graham has followed for longer than he is prepared to say.

Graham is a highly experienced leader with a particular focus on leading, developing and motivating high performing teams. He is an accredited coach and coach trainer and holds the National Professional Qualification for Headship from the UK where he was also an accredited School Improvement Partner. He continues to work as a performance coach (pro bono) and helped to create a strong coaching culture in the English Schools Foundation in Hong Kong. His work in this area has been written up in the second edition of Best Practice in Performance Coaching by Carol Wilson. Graham holds a deep commitment to the UWCSEA mission and values and is at his happiest working with children and learning communities.

Graham Silverthorne




23 December 2020

At the heart of my values is a belief in equity. I suppose this grew from a childhood insistence on ‘fairness’ into an adult view of the world that sees everyone as being of equal worth and worthy of equal respect and attention. I’m not entirely sure how this evolved to be such a driving part of my core but I believe in this very strongly. I hate expressions of inequity, ways in which people or groups classify and denigrate others as of less worth. In a school context, of course, this applies very much to the way in which we treat children—but also to the small part players in the big picture. 

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