Joy to the World!

Dear OFS Community,

Firstly, I would like to thank pupils, parents and staff who submitted letters proposing charities for our community to support over the coming year. This school possesses a remarkably large heart and strong sense of giving that is extraordinarily generous.

However, one letter stood out. There are two parts to this story that I want to highlight as they will determine the very real choices that will come to all of us, and whilst there are so many other parts to this story, I will refer to these across the coming year as I believe they are essential.

Three years ago, a mum from this community dropped into a clinic for a relatively routine scan and hours later, she was breaking C19 rules as doctors from Northwick Park allowed her and her husband 5 minutes to hug, to talk, to try to make sense of the here and now, fearful of the future in the uncertainty of that moment. Hours later, she was in an ambulance heading to Charing Cross for specialist treatment.

It has been a journey filled with uncertainty, pain, setback as well as tiny steps forward into a new and different present. This family is strongly connected to Orley as a teacher, as parents and a pupil and as a result many of us have already joined them on their journey, marvelling at their strength and honesty.

On Monday Mr and Mrs Chatzianastasiou led our Assembly, sharing their story. Dr Kushan Karunaratne, consultant neurologist at Charing Cross, also joined us to share powerful reflections on his work in a medical team – what an extraordinary privilege and whilst we have so many age groups in that assembly, I know that this story reached everyone on different levels.

So, back to a letter that had me in tears and my desire to take two clear messages into all of our futures. It described the heartfelt appreciation for the extraordinary support of so many people who continue to play a part in their lives.

Firstly, I would invite everyone to look for the small acts of kindness that surround us and celebrate the generosity of this spirit – the world too often encourages us to focus on what we don’t have rather than what we do have!

And secondly, I want to shine a light on nurse Grace who was singing gospel to Panorea as she was waking up after her 9-hour operation; For nurse Maria who was a guiding light in the darkest hours of her life and on all the medical staff for going so much further in all that they gave. Let them inspire all of us to reach further into each other's lives, to enjoy going above and beyond the expectations of those around us in order to be radiators of warmth and light.

We always conclude this Assembly with a small wager to get our Just Giving account open. I bet £10 that I would be lucky in the raw egg challenge...I was more than lucky, Louie had the chance to smash a raw egg on my head, and he missed. I will assume that he missed on purpose and therefore I doubled the payment! We will be fundraising to support Charing Cross Hospital with a fellowship in order to inspire further learning and if you would like to learn more about this story, do follow the link below:

I look forward to sharing more of this story with our community over the coming year and Dr Kush so enjoyed joining our Assembly that he asked to bring some of his Junior Doctors along to our next event...amazing how one letter can unlock so much potential!

Young Cobblers

In Reception, there have been some strange goings-on with a certain elf being caught on camera, dancing through classrooms! As our theme has been nursery rhymes, Reception pupils have been hard at work helping the shoemaker and I was so impressed with the skills on display – from hammering in the tacks to fashion design, we have some amazing young designers making their way in the world!

Bespoke Pendant Design

Miss Longstaff invited me to join Y8 in their Design Technology lesson as they finalised their molds, before pouring molten pewter to complete their pendants. There’s something really exciting about following a process that has a little risk and uncertainty baked into the outcome – whether they’re nice surprises or unwanted mishaps, this will determine who comes back for more! Well done Y8, I suspect that there is a high-end bespoke business in the making right here!

Christmas Fair

A huge thank you to Mrs de Freitas for inspiring Middle and Upper School pupils to run stalls in the Sports Hall and Gym – the place was buzzing with activity and now knowing where your raised funds are going ought to make you all very proud! I would also like to thank the OFA and all of the parents who supported the fair, Santa’s ‘Giving Grotto’ was also a hive of activity and the craft workshops were the perfect place to unleash a little Christmas joy! But finally, I would like to offer a huge thank you to the Orley staff who were here ….

Christmas Dinner

I would like to thank Aubrey and his team for treating us to a wonderful Christmas Dinner – it's a lovely occasion as we rearrange the Butler Hall to serve over 620 pupils and staff for a gorgeous time together. I would also like to thank our senior pupils for making a formal vote of thanks to our amazing catering team and also for helping clear up!

Joy to the World

This morning we joined commuters at South Harrow station. It’s intriguing watching people dashing through the station, wrapped in layers and invariably with headphones plugged in; coupled with the road noise and occasional police siren, I would certainly describe this as a challenging place to sing! However, it was interesting watching commuters as they wrestled with bags, oyster cards and phones – some of them stopped, some just paused, others pulled out phones to record a moment.


We are fast approaching the end of the termly House Competition with everything still up for grabs. 25% is based on the weekly effort scores, 25% is based on House Points and the final 50% is based on 12 House Competitions across the term...the final one being X-Country! Every point does count and therefore it’s not just about the fastest runners, it’s about everyone giving their best...congratulations to Hastings. Will this crisp cold day decide the winning House? We’ll have to wait until next Friday to find out!

Headmaster's Commendation

Congratulations to Jayan for being awarded over 100 House Points – his favourite was for a creative prep, making a Viking longboat.
Congratulations to Dhara for being awarded over 100 House Points – her favourite was for being helpful and cleaning up after a lesson.
Congratulations to Simran for being awarded over 100 House Points – her favourite was for solving difficult Maths challenges with Mr Mitchell.
What a special week – it's always grounding in an affirming way when we have a moment to see where we fit into the landscape, whether locally or in a broader sense. From making a difference to commuters this morning to helping fund a fellowship through the Imperial Health Charity - we’re firmly grounded!

Tim Calvey