Reflections Tim Calvey

This week started with our digital ambassadors delivering tips, messages and guidance around staying safe on the internet. All 16 ambassadors from Yr3 to Yr8 wanted to be involved and they delivered the following:

When Sir Tim Berners Lee and his associates created the internet 30 years ago, they wanted it to be free for everyone and dreamt of an internet for all, so has this happened?

  • There are almost 8 billion people in the world but only 58% have access to the internet.
  • Over 5 billion people have a mobile device that connects to the internet.
  • And there are almost 2 billion different websites online.

To examine if the internet is truly for everyone, we are going to look at the issue of identity online. Our identity is all of the things about us that makes us who we are. Our identity is made of so many different things:

  • Personal information, like your name, what you look like, your age, school, where you live, your family, etc.
  • Personality and feelings, if you're loud, quiet, fun, shy, kind, caring, honest, etc.
  • Interests, hobbies and experiences: gaming, gardening, football, swimming and different places that you have been, etc.

However, we also need to remember that if we see someone online, we only see what they are choosing to share with us. Sometimes the things that people post and say do not actually reflect what they are like in real life. They might use usernames, photos, filters or avatars that are very different to their real identity. This is why it's important to remember that if we only know someone online, they are a stranger, and we should keep our identity and our personal information safe.

Often, people choose to share the best possible version of themselves online. They leave out anything that they don't think will be interesting or acceptable to their followers. But people don't only do this online. We act differently in a variety of situations; whether it be meeting someone for the first time, with our best friends, or in a classroom. It's nothing new but the online world lets us change our behaviour with lots of different people at the same time.

Even though we know that lots of people do this, it can still sometimes make people feel like their lives are not as interesting as others. Sometimes the pressure to keep up with others online can get a bit much, so if you ever feel like this, make sure that you talk to an adult you can trust to help you.

What you see online depends on the people you follow and what you're interested in, but algorithms and online platforms mean that you are often shown, or suggested to follow, more of what you like. This can be helpful, but could also make it seem like the internet isn't really for everyone.

Think about the different people you see online...are they like you? Not just others who dress like you, but people who have the same opinions, use the same language, or have the same interests, culture or beliefs too.
As we have seen, the internet is a place where we can access lots of information, share our lives and create an online identity. Whilst we are seeing progress, there is still work to be done. The internet is not for all yet. Not everyone feels accepted, represented or comfortable enough to put themselves out there online.

So, let's return to the words from Sir Tim Berners Lee. What it can be easy to forget, is that the internet does not become mean or negative by itself. It is made up of people and everyone has to play their part. The internet was designed for all and it should be a place where people can feel free. Rather than expecting people to be real or perfect, we should think about how we can create an internet for all. A place where everyone feels...

  • Fairly treated
  • Represented
  • Equal
  • and Empowered
Remember when you go online you have a choice; a choice of what to do, what to watch, who to communicate with and how you act.

Over the course of this week, Orley Farm has been considering the above and more in order to make the most out of the internet. I would like to thank Mr McAllister and his dedicated team of Digital Ambassadors who have led the way in helping all of us refresh our thinking in a digital age!

Having an eye for detail...but not for the faint hearted!

More stunning practicals from the Science department - the Y7s are studying optics and they are learning about the incredible structure of the eye. Even though dissections can be challenging, they have thoroughly (at least most of them!) enjoyed the practicals and left the class knowing why cats have glowing eyes (thanks to the colourful tapetum lucidum layer on the retina!), understood how tiny muscles and ligaments control the iris and the lens, how rods and cones allow us to see colours and different shades, why people might have myopia or colourblindness and finally about the amazing ability of our brain to turn the inverted image that is formed on the retina the right way up!

These are the sessions that I love...it's like being a surgeon!
Looking at books is ok...but it's so much better when you can actually choose what you want to see in real life...
I was lucky enough to be fairly quick at understanding what was taught, but unlucky enough not to be really interested in it, so I always got my exams but never had the scholar's love of learning for its own sake.

Maeve Binchy

Yes, we have entered assessment week and desks filled our halls - this is a time of challenging yourself but schools have adopted very different stances on this subject in recent years. We are noticing more 'unconditional offers' both from senior schools removing a formal entrance exam, and Universities appear to be playing with this too. I suspect that as the pendulum swings and we talk about pressure, mental health and wellbeing, schools have reacted by reducing the 'assessment' side, as this is seen as the root cause of anxiety.

However, I suspect that it's not the assessments, exams and tests that create the pressure, it's our reaction to them and the disproportionate weight that we are applying to their outcomes that creates anxiety. I believe that 'exams' are good, they offer both teachers and learners a chance to revisit learning, knowing what has been mastered and what needs more support and focus.

Yr5 recently had their first venture into a formal exam setting and tutors asked for their thoughts - here are some of their reflections:

I was nervous and excited in anticipation of what was coming up!

Arya 5S

I was happy afterwards because we had Games!

Ava 5F

I felt proud of all the hard work, I took a risk when I was nervous but I've achieved something!

Simra 5S

We know what to expect next time...it won't be a shock

Shayna 5S

A nice peaceful experience!

Subhaan 5S

Slightly nervous but I wanted to do it...

Ibrahim 50

I was curious at the beginning to see what the atmosphere would be like...

Arushi 5F

I felt really proud of myself after the exam.

Oliver 50

These pupils face a lifetime of assessments, tests and exams, the sooner we instil in them that this is their journey and that the results will contain things to celebrate and lessons to learn, the better...!

Edge Grove joined us on the Astro for games across Yr5 & 6 and this was the perfect way to end 'assessment week' with a fast run around in competitive games!

There's nothing better than ending exams with a match!
Fast passing...fast moving...fast thinking!
Every second counted...and we certainly made the most of the time!
Finding space and moving the ball fast was our goal...and we also learnt to communicate better as the games went on...

Two Year 8 students have been selected to go through to Round 2 of the Turner Warner History Prize. I am thrilled for them. They had to be in the top 250 entries in the country to be invited to sit Round 2.

Round 1 involved having a wider knowledge of History than what is taught at school. Round 2 requires empathy, imagination, focus and knowledge ...and will be sat on Mon 24th Feb...good luck boys!

It's been stressful and exhilarating! I'm quite nervous and excited about Round 2...
It's been an inspiring experience which has gifted me with higher self esteem...

Year 4 are currently basing their work on the topic 'Land of the Rising Sun'. The children were given a variety of independent project ideas for creative prep. These included painting, making a vending machine, looking at the layers of the Earth and writing a poem. Here are a couple of wonderful responses.

Sahir Shah
As part of our creative curriculum prep, one of the options was to create our very own cherry blossom tree. What inspired me to do it the way I did, was Mount Fuji. I really like Mount Fuji so I decided to put it in the background. I used oil paints to create the piece of artwork.
Rayan Shah
What inspired me was the colour of the cherry blossom and the Japanese flag. I used colas paint and I liked using the beads for the centre of the flowers.
Aneya Pattni
An Art teacher taught me how to quill. I saw a quilling picture online of cherry blossom and I decided to try and copy it and make it my own.

On Friday last week, 3O shared some scenes from the book, The Iron Man, in their class assembly. The audience were first taught all about magnets and how they are useful, and this included some demonstrations of how 1p and 2p coins became magnetic in 1992 because they are now made using steel to make them cheaper to manufacture. The class linked this with the Orley Farm thinking skill 'good judgment'. Later on, 3O were able to show their work in English lessons by reading out their instructions for catching an Iron Man. After following the steps and throwing in generous heaps of resilience and focus, the Iron Man was trapped in a pit in the middle of St George's Hall. Once caught, the children were able to share their newspaper headlines of the Iron Man story and display their collage and pointillism artworks based on the story too. Finally, the thinking skill that saved the day was empathy, as the Iron Man was freed and taken to a scrap yard where he could be happy and not cause any further trouble to the citizens of Rockwell. The class are looking forward to exploring the second act of the book next half term.

The Middle School Verse Speaking competition came to a conclusion as we broke for half term. This is a wonderful challenge as all pupils are involved and whilst for many it might well be a little daunting to select a poem and learn to perform it, bringing it to life, it's also a life skill for the years ahead. I know that the Middle School teachers did not find it easy to narrow things down at each stage and I felt for the adjudicating team of Ms Gentles, Mrs Gascoigne and Mrs Walsh as they prepared to narrow things down to the winners!

At first I was like, come on...hurry up and when it got onto the Year 4s, I started to get really, really, really nervous so I started biting my lip but now I am relieved!


I was so shaky but I had lots of fun...


I felt really scared, but I really enjoyed myself and I was almost sorry it was over!


It was SO scary!


There were some beautiful musical interludes...
Mary knew that there was a standing order that needed to be followed...and she wasn't afraid to man-handle!
I was very worried before but I'm now buzzing!


Reviewing this week alone, it's clear that we all need to draw breath! Have a wonderful half term break filled with adventure, a little risk-taking and time together...!

Tim Calvey