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I Love You! How do you start your day?

Dear OFS Community,

Last weekend, Mrs Calvey and I faced a moment that we really weren't prepared for, packing our eldest off to University, with headlines in the news suggesting that students might not come home for Christmas! It seems like only yesterday that he left Orley Farm and suddenly our hallway was full of pots and pans, towels and bed linen not to mention the guitars and amplifiers - good luck to his flatmates! However, the M4 offered contemplation time as we returned from Bristol and it inspired Monday's 'I Love You' Assembly...

I asked Middle and Upper School what were the conversations that took place in their homes this morning - what were Mum and Dad saying / asking? Here are the actual replies shared by your children!

Have you got up yet...?
Have you eaten breakfast...?
We're going to be late...why didn't you pack your bag last night?
Don't hit your sister with the car boot...!

Yes the last one is quite specific and certainly necessary instruction! In turn, I asked your children what were the conversations that they started with you this morning...here were their responses:

Mum...where's my tie...?
Dad...what's for breakfast...?
I don't want to get up...!
OK...I know I'm responsible for my brother...!

In the first week of this year, I talked about habits and how to change and form new healthier habits. We were all in agreement that none of us want to start our days like this so the next question was:

'What do you think your parents want for you?'

For me to be happy...to have friends.
For me to try my best in whatever I do.
For me to be kind to others...

And the final question was, 'what do you want from your parents?':

To be kind and understanding, especially when I get something wrong.
Attention, to understand what I'm going through.
A hug.
A baby brother or sister...!

Yes that last one might be coming as a shock to one family - it came from a Yr4 pupil and I won't say more than that!!! I do sincerely hope that over the coming week, we can have conversations within our families about the kind of messages that we really do want to be having to start our day.

As a father, I'm looking back on all of those missed opportunities over 18 years and wondering what kind of morning my son is having this week!

However, I would like to close with something that a Pre Prep parent sent me last term as I insisted that his child add 'I love you' as they closed the car door at drop off - this clip made me smile and inspired my goodbye on Sunday night...

...As I left his flat, I offered to empty their recycling as it was literally overflowing in the kitchen. It shouldn't have been a shock, as his flatmates had only arrived the night before, but there was a lot of glass - I'm now thankful for the Orley Farm PSHE programme for covering the dangers of excessive living! The recycling bins were under my son's bedroom window so I called him to wave and then shouted at the top of my voice...

Joe...I Love You!

Here's the funny thing, whilst he tried to shrink out of sight and Mrs Calvey appeared to also distance herself from me...dozens of windows opened and a chorus of 'I Love you too...whoever you are!' echoed around Bristol! If one thing comes from this Assembly, I hope that we will all use our morning messages with a little more care as it sets up the day! Let's use our words and our time well...everyone ought to hear that someone loves them every day!

Talking of Love...

A huge 'Thank you' to our OFA Team who opened the term with the Macmillan Coffee Morning using ingenuity, creativity and a little tech to bring us together. It speaks volumes that this year, we raised a record total - that's love right there!

Classics Day

On Wednesday we were treated to a 'who dun it?' by Yr8 pupils acting out the violent and treacherous scene as Julius Caesar was murdered. 'Et Tu Brute?' rang out as Caesar fell to the floor kickstarting our Classics Day.

Yr7 pupils were invited to analyse a variety of sources whilst also interviewing a number of witnesses to work out who they thought was most likely to have led the plot...

A very big thank you to Mrs Clarkson for putting on a number of events this week and having joined a table of Yr5 girls, it's safe to say that this is a favourite subject at Orley Farm!

Connections Afternoon

We were taken aback last year with the way that the school responded to 'Connections Week' and lessons were learnt - pupils need a little choice in their diet! With school matches being understandably suspended against local schools, an opportunity presented itself to reassign Wednesday afternoon prep sessions. Staff have offered a wonderful array of experiences from yoga to pilates, board games to X-Country, table tennis to baseball - and across sections of the school. I loved dropping into these sessions to see Yr6 pupils joining Yr8 pupils...

A thumbs up from everyone!
I have found the past week challenging, both on a personal level as well as a professional one. The media are being irresponsible and unrealistic in 'leaking' half messages and moving on in their desire for headlines and the government is sending mixed and conflicting messages as they negotiate endless storms...on one hand this can leave many of us feeling helpless and a little lost.
However, I truly believe that we can play our part by telling our children that we love them and by starting their day in a way that helps them to embrace what might unfold ahead. School is a genuine haven at the moment and I do hope that every member of our community can find peace through faith that this will end! Do enjoy a weekend together - the Calvey household are heading for movie night, nachos and popcorn and the hope of a WhatsApp message from Bristol!!!

Tim Calvey