Friars Weekly Newsletter 10th November 2023

Coming up in this edition of the newsletter...

  • Reminders about our Learning Conversation Evenings, Odd Socks Day and Children in Need
  • The Collective Worship and Religious Education Survey is still open
  • Important message regarding bikes and scooters in school
  • Parent Council appeal

Our second week of the half term has whizzed by with lots happening both in school and out.

On Monday we participated in the girls’ football tournament over at Len Forge. There are photos from the girls' competition in the sport section. Today it was the turn of the boys – you will be able to read all about the boys' and girls' performances in next week’s newsletter. The reports will soon be hot off the press.

On Tuesday, we had a visit from Mr. Murkin and Mrs. Gretton who are two of the Portico trustees. Mr. Murkin and Mrs. Gretton looked at maths in the school, dropping into lessons and talking with Mrs. Bailey our Maths Leader. Both of our trustees were very impressed with what they saw and they commented on how focused and engaged the children were. I am sure you will be very pleased to hear that. On Wednesday, Mr. Queenborough who is Portico’s Director of Learning and Teaching visited us for the day. Mr. Queenborough usually comes to Friars at least one day per week and supports us in making our learning and teaching the best it can be. On Wednesday, he popped into lots of classrooms across the day and spoke with many children about their learning. It was a very positive visit and we welcomed his insightful feedback.

Thank you to our PTA this week who ran a lovely ‘preloved’ uniform event on Wednesday. It proved a great success and the team would like this to become a more regular thing. The feedback we received from you was excellent!

Today we had a lovely Remembrance Assembly. Mrs. Dyer did a superb job or organising it and the children who performed readings did so with confidence. It was an excellent tribute to those who have fought and served for our freedom.

Next week we have our Learning Conversations Evenings. Please remember to book an appointment if you haven’t already done so. The booking system is open until Monday. We all very much look forward to seeing you.

Also next week is our Anti-Bullying Week. The week will begin with our Odd Socks Assembly on Monday. On Monday, we are encouraging all of our pupils and staff to wear odd socks for the day. Odd Socks Day is a fun way to celebrate both Anti-Bullying Week and what makes us all unique. The week will finish with Children in Need on Friday. Just a reminder that pupils and staff can come to school wearing non-uniform (spots if possible). If anyone would like to wear Children in Need/Pudsey merchandise this will be welcomed. Donations, of any size, are to be given to class adults on the morning.

Finally, we are still looking for new members for our Parent Council. We have not met so far this year as our group is now quite small after some parents and carers leaving due to their Year 6 children moving to secondary. We plan to meet every term and we discuss school matters and possible areas for school improvement. If you would like to be involved, please email the school office and I will be in touch.

Have a very lovely weekend and see you all on Monday.

Mr. Chris McClay, Principal

Collective Worship and Religious Education Survey

Thank you to those of you who have completed this survey. It is not too late to offer your views. If you can spare a few minutes, please complete the survey at: https://forms.office.com/e/dbipgXwuTE

Bikes and Scooters

If your child does bring a bike or scooter to school, please ensure that they are locked up in the shed. The school cannot take responsibility for bikes and scooters on the school grounds. Thank you.

Named Clothing

A reminder from last week... please can we ask that children have their names in all of the clothing that they wear to school. We do end up with significant amounts of lost property at times and occasionally we also have items that cannot be traced.

"I love seeing my friends at Friars" Year 1 child


A very busy week for Nursery saw the creation of our nature kitchen outside and lots of learning around Remembrance. The children made some lovely poppies, many of which are now on display at the fire station. Thank you to everyone who attended our Stay and Play session - it was lovely to see you all.


This week we have enjoyed exploring the environmental garden in our first outdoor learning sessions (even thought it was a little soggy at times!) The children made their own poppies on wooden discs which have been displayed to commemorate Remembrance Day. The children have also enjoyed learning about the Hindu festival of Diwali. In provision, the children have had the opportunity to create rangoli patterns with stencils, chalk and shapes and have also created their own fireworks pictures.

REMINDER: In preparation for worded books to be sent home next week we have sent home a sheet of words to practise reading. These include some decodable words and some “tricky” words.

Please ensure that your child has a book bag, drinks bottle and coat in school every day.

Year 1

This week we have shared a book called The Emperor’s Egg. It’s a non-fiction book about emperor penguins, how they look after their eggs and where they live. In geography the children have located Antarctica using globes, atlases and maps. Our English sessions have focused on writing questions for the male penguin who looks after the egg. In maths we have continued to learn about subtraction using number lines this week.

REMINDER: 1B have their outdoor learning sessions on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday next week. 1MV will have their sessions the week after.

Year 2

Year 2 have been exploring the features of non-chronological texts this week, culminating in writing their own text all about our Friars School. They included some historical facts about the school and identified all the wonderful features in our school grounds.

In maths we have been learning how to add two 2-digit numbers using base 10 and practising our times tables.

We designed and made paper finger puppets on Tuesday. The children used scrap paper for their first attempts to ensure their design would work. The children showed perseverance and kept trying to improve their design.

REMINDER: Red Group Spellings

Next week the children have homophones to learn e.g. flour/flower

They will be tested by the teacher reading out a sentence and the children then writing the correct spelling to use.

Year 3

In English, this week Year 3 have been planning and writing a diary entry as though they were George from Roald Dahls’, George’s Marvellous Medicine. In maths we have continuing with our times tables and division learning. The children have been looking at both our 3- and 4-times tables and what methods they could use to try and help them find out the answers, such as sharing and grouping. During the afternoons they did an investigation around food labels. The children had to read them, research how many nutrients they had in them and what the traffic light system meant. In history the children looked at what artifacts people may have buried with in the bronze age and how this could help us understand what life was like all those years ago. In art we remembered those who fought for our country by making poppies.

Reminder: Homework needs to be returned by Wednesday so it can be marked, and new homework put in ready for the weekend.

Please also continue to practise spellings with your children at home as often as possible, alongside reading.

Year 4

In maths this week, we have moved on from area and are now honing our skills of multiplication and divison. This week we embedded lots of the vocabulary that we use in lessons on a daily basis. Your children should be able to tell what multiple, partitioning, the sum of and inverse mean to mention just a few. They use these words when explaining a solution to a problem or when discussing their maths work in class.

In science, we are using a brand new program called, ‘Developing Experts,’ which Mrs. Snow brought in for the whole school to use. We are studying, ‘Living Things and their Habitats,’ and this program helps to bring to Friars parts of the world we might never be able to visit. The children also have access to short talks about the subjects they are studying from experts in the field. We are all looking forward to developing our own skills and understanding.

During our French this week, we re-capped our learning of animals, objects and rooms and used these words to create simple sentences.

Together with PHSE, studying Greek geography and drawing minatours in art, it’s been another full on week.

Next week is anti-bullying week and Monday is, ‘Odd Socks,’ day. If possible, please allow your children to wear brightly coloured odd socks.

Have a good weekend.

Year 5

This week in Year 5, the children have focused on mutliplying and dividing by 10, 100 and 1000 in maths. They have learnt the method very well and are using the resources around the classroom to support them.

In English, the students have been using their notes from last week to write their own non-chronological report about pyramids. They have included all the necessary features such as subheadings and technical, formal vocabulary.

Geography has seen the children locating the 47 European countries on a map using atlases and Ipads to support their investigation.

In RE, we have been exploring religious stories through art.

We ended the week with French and some Remembrance inspired artwork.

Big well done to 5A on their first swimming session this week.

Year 6

We have been studying “The Highwayman” poem this week. It is a narrative poem meaning it tells a story through verse. We have examined the characters and written character descriptions. We have also retold the poem in narrative style whilst remembering to include many grammatical features.

Remembrance has been the focus for artwork too. We have looked at an artist called Georgia O’Keefe, an created our own poppy based artwork in her style using watercolours and pastels. The children achieved some fantastic results.

We continued working on circuit making in Science and discussed different time zones around the world as part of our geography curriculum.

"I can't believe we created our own games - I want to do this for my job" Year 6 child


It has been a busy week in computing where all year groups have immersed themselves fully into their new topics. Year 1 started the week learning how to use a word processor. This involved opening Microsoft Word and using sentence starters to type out 4-5 sentences about themselves. Therefore, children needed to locate the correct keys, they explored using the caps lock, full stop, space bar and enter keys to ensure sentences made sense.

Monday afternoon saw Year 5 learning about vector drawings by first determining what a vector drawing is (a picture made of only shapes and the use of the line tool), they then used PowerPoint to create a vector drawing of a building. It was marvellous to see their imaginations run wild through creating castles, Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, houses, and flats to name only a few.

On Tuesday, Year 4 continued learning about podcasts, but this week focused on interviewing another child in the classroom. They typed up several questions and then interviewed them using the voice notes on the iPads. Many of them went on to record and introduction and a thank you message at the end. At the end of the lesson, we listened to a podcast to identify other features including music, sound effects and catchy phrases.

Year 3 had an exciting lesson this week creating stop frame animations with little toys and characters. They made a choice to use either stop motion or Imotion (both similar apps) to create a few frames. We quickly realised the need to ensure the background was clear before taking the photos and many needed to ensure the camera was held steady to create a stronger animation. The creativity used to move the ‘props’ in unusual ways just blew me away. Well done Year 3, one of the best lessons to date.

On Thursday, the Year 2 classes used the iPads to develop their photo taking skills focusing on the difference between landscape and portrait shots. They learned the difference between the two and discussed why we used each layout for the best picture. They were then tasked with taking pictures around the school deciding on whether to take the image in landscape or portrait as well as identifying the key skills needed to take a good picture, including the need to have a steady hand for focus.

Finally, Year 6 children used Tinkercad this week to create a memorial for Remembrance Day. They were asked to think about Remembrance Day and what it represented to create a poppy or statue of some kind. The skills involved them being able to modify 3D shapes by resizing objects, lifting or lowering the objects as well as re-colouring them for a purpose.

Online Safety

Many apps and digital games may at first appear to be free and fun but employ microtransactions that can quickly amount up and cost a small fortune! It’s a system which has featured in many of younger gamers’ perennial favourite franchises, from Fortnite to FIFA. As well as encouraging regular spending, microtransactions – especially the increasingly common use of loot boxes – have also been scrutinised for what many argue is a resemblance to gambling, with the potential to foster addictive behaviours. This guide tells you what you need to know about microtransactions.

"It was great to win my event at the Borough Sports - I felt so proud" - Year 5 pupil

PE and Sport

A huge well done to the girls that represented the school in the football tournament. It was a great day for them all and they performed so well. The boys are also attending their tournament today - good luck to them. Full reports will follow.

I've learnt so many new things but its different from normal school work because its 'life' things- Year 6 child

Outdoor Learning

This week Reception had great fun exploring the environmental garden in their first outdoor learning sessions (even thought it was a little soggy at times!) The children made their own poppies on wooden discs which have been displayed to commemorate Remembrance Day.

Next week it is the turn of 1B who will have outdoor learning on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons.

As usual- dress for the weather with a school top and comfortable sensible bottom halves and footwear.

Singing Assembly with Ms. Taylor-Brown

KS2 with Ms. Taylor-Brown

This week we came into a song chosen by one of our Yr 4’s. She said she loved the beat and tune! Next to me by Lvly - a new one to me and definitely great for a dance!

A change of pace as we then practised our Remembrance Song ready for our service next week.

And then we began to get ready for Christmas - starting with the class “O' little town of Bethlehem!

We walked out to Nat King Cole’s version which the children enjoyed.

Next week.. More Christmas!

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Diary Dates


  • Monday 13th - Friday 17th - Year 6 SATs Practice Week
  • Anti-Bullying Week
  • Monday 13th - Odd Sock Day - wear odd socks to school
  • Tuesday 14th - Learning Conversation Evening for 5A
  • Wednesday 15th - Learning Conversations until 7:00pm (all classes)
  • Thursday 16th - Learning Conversations until 5:30pm (all classes except 5A)
  • Swimming 5A
  • Friday 17th - Children in Need - non-uniform - wear spots if possible
  • Monday 20th - Nursery Stay & Play
  • Wednesday 22nd - Year 5/6 Dodgeball
  • Thursday 23rd - Swimming 5A
  • Wednesday 29th - Boccia
  • New Age Kurling
  • Thursday 30th - Swimming 5A
  • Year 1 Winter Wonderland


  • Friday 1st - Maths Story Day
  • PTA Christmas Fayre
  • Monday 4th - Year 3 Winter Wonderland
  • Tuesday 5th - Year 6 Winter Wonderland
  • Wednesday 6th - Reception Nativity
  • Nursery Stay & Play
  • Year 5 Winter Wonderland
  • Thursday 7th - Reception Nativity
  • Swimming 5A
  • Year 4 Winter Wonderland
  • Friday 8th - Year 2 Winter Wonderland
  • Monday 11th - Reception Winter Wonderland
  • Tuesday 12th - Year 1 Christmas play
  • Wednesday 13th - Christmas Jumper Day
  • Nursery Winter Wonderland and Singalong
  • Christmas Lunch
  • Thursday 14th - Last swimming for 5A
  • Friday 15th - Year 2 Christmas Play
  • Monday 18th - Nursery Stay & Play
  • Christmas readings & Carol Service
  • Tuesday 19th - Christmas Singalong Assembly
  • Wednesday 20th - Last Day of term

January 2024

  • Thursday 4th - Children Return to school


  • Friday 16th February 2024
  • Monday 3rd June 2024
  • Monday 22nd July 2024

Dinner Menu

Week 3

Monday - Cumberland Sausages with Mashed Potato & Gravy - Vegan Sausages with Mashed Potato & Gravy - Pasta with Cheese Sauce - Ham Salad Wrap -Cheese & Tomato Bloomer - Peas - Apple & Carrot Flapjack

Tuesday - Beef Chilli with Steamed Rice - Vegetable Chilli with Steamed Rice Ve Jacket Potato with Cheese - Tuna Sweetcorn Baguette - Cheese Sandwich - Steamed Carrots - Chocolate & Beetroot Brownie

Wednesday - Sticky Glazed Chicken - Margherita Pizza - Pasta with Tomato & Basil Sauce - Tuna Mayonnaise Sandwich - Cheese Salad Wrap - Spicy Potato Wedges & Coleslaw - Cherry Cornflake Cake

Thursday - Creamy Pesto Chicken with Fusilli Pasta - Vegetable Pasta Bake - Jacket Potato with Baked Beans - Chicken Mayonnaise Baguette - Ham Sandwich - Pan Fried Leeks - Vanilla Ice Cream

Friday - Vegetable & Bean Stuffed Pitta Pocket - Pasta with Tomato & Lentil Sauce - Ham Salad Bloomer - Cheese Sandwich - Chips & Baked Beans - Chocolate Shortbread Biscuit

Freshly Baked Bread: Garlic & Rosemary Bread and Wholemeal Bread

OPAL Update

An amazing week with the appointment of a whole new team of play rangers. So with that in mind this week I am handing over to one of our Yr 6 Rangers, Mark for a little OPAL update!

OPAL Play-ranger Information by Mark

My name is Mark and I am in Year 6 and I am a Play Ranger for this school year. I like OPAL so far because we have a bunch of places to play in OPAL like: the mud kitchen, the building blocks, the sand pit, the barrels and wheels and the loose-parts on the stand next to the outdoor learning garden.

I wanted to be a Play Ranger this school year because I want to make break times and lunchtimes better and more fun for everyone in KS1 and KS2. I think what would make OPAL better is that we maybe get more stuff on the KS2 playground for KS1 to play with like more old computers and pop-its for them to play with.

Last thing, I can make the little ones be safer with the equipment and make their play more fun - and the same with KS2.

From Mark


A reminder that our wheelie bin is in position and ready to receive any donations of second hand uniform! So, if you are clearing out any uniform, or winter coats, please drop them here instead of throwing it away or donating elsewhere. Our second hand uniform sale not only supports other families but also helps raise funds for school.

Celebration Assembly

The links for our Celebration Assemblies can be found below.

3rd November 2023

20th October 2023

13th October 2023

6th October 2023


There were no Celebrations Assemblies today as we had our special Remembrance Assembly instead. We will have our postponed Celebration Assemblies on Tuesday! News from these assemblies (including attendance) will feature in next week’s newsletter alongside information from Friday’s assemblies too. Look out for a bumper edition of the newsletter next Friday!

Who will have won this week's team points race??? Find out next week... there could be some big jumps with two weeks' worth of points to add to the totals below.


Music on Sea ensembles are a great way for students to learn to play an instrument as part of a group:

Harp Group - 4.15pm - 5.15pm Tuesday at the Southend Adult Community College. For Harp players of all abilities.

Primary Rock - 3.30pm - 5.00pm Fridays at Edwards Hall Primary School. For students in years 3 to 6 wishing to play as part of a band. Keyboard, guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, singers.

Southend Academy of Music - 10.00am - 12.00noon Saturdays at Porters Grange Primary School. For those aged 7+, beginners welcome. There is a junior orchestra, drumming/percussion group, keyboard group and guitar group.

01702 294837 - office@fps.porticoacademytrust.co.uk