Friars Weekly Newsletter 9th February 2024

Coming up in this edition of the newsletter...

  • Date for the Y5 Thriftwood Residential meeting - see the Year 5 section
  • Year 4 Times Tables Rockstars 'Battle of the Bands' - see the Year 4 section
  • Chinese lion visit reminder
  • Parking reminder
  • An appeal for help with Careers Week - see the Community section

Friday! What a busy but great week we have had... Possibly the most exciting thing to have happened in the past five days was the completion of our new giant sandpit. Sand play is very important to the work we do with OPAL and we always had an intention of adding a second larger sandpit in addition to the one already on the KS1 playground. We are delighted with the result and the children are very much looking forward to getting in their next week (maybe some staff are excited too)!

Credit must go to our Year 6 children this week for their efforts with 'Bikeability'. The cycling was made much harder thanks to Thursday's wet weather. Great job Year 6!

You will have seen the letter I sent on Monday about our Parent Council. If you are interested in joining us, please do get in touch as soon as possible.

Next week we have the Chinese lion visit to look forward to amongst many other lovely things. Remember... it is only a 4-day week for the children as there is no school on Friday. On Friday, teachers from the five schools in the Portico Academy Trust will be coming together at the Hamstel schools for a day of professional learning. Every time we have these days we always bring things back to our schools to make things even better.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Mr. Chris McClay, Principal

Chinese New Year - Lion Visit

On Wednesday 14th, there will be a demonstration of Chinese lion dancing! During this celebration, your child will feed the dragon a lucky red envelope. We ask that you send your child to school with a silver coin(s) that will be placed inside their envelope and given as a symbol of good luck and prosperity. These donations will be donated to the dancers’ chosen charity.

Parking around the school

Just a gentle reminder about careful, considerate parking around the school please. The zigzags at the front of the building must remain clear and can we please not block neighbours' driveways. Thank you.

Local Photographs

Last week, Ms. Taylor-Brown asked for help with photographs of the local area. If you have any photos of Shoebury/Southend in the past - please pop them into the office in an envelope with your name on and I can get these scanned and returned to you. It would be lovely to build up a bank of images to share with the children! It might also be helpful to know more about the photos, for example the locations if they are not obvious. Thank you in advance.

Outdoor Help

Mr. Brady is still looking for anyone who can give any time to help him maintain our environmental garden and outdoor classroom - if you have green fingers, or just fancy helping out please drop Ms. Taylor-Brown an email on

World Book Day - Thursday 7th March 2024

A reminder that we will be inviting children and staff to dress up for the day as a book character on Thursday 7th March (Friday 8th March for Year 4 as they are off to the Imperial War Museum on the Thursday). 2G will have swimming on the Thursday morning so please make sure that the children can change in and out of their costumes. Year 2 will have PE on the afternoon of the Thursday. The children need to either wear a costume appropriate for PE or bring their PE kit to change into. Thank you.

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


This week we have enjoyed outdoor learning with Mr. Brady. The children were taught how we can help the animals in our garden. We made homes for bugs and put food out in different types of bird feeders. We also helped weed the vegetable patch which of course the children loved as it was not only weeds we were pulling up. They loved finding the 100’s of wiggly worms and comparing who had found the longest worm (we did safely return all worms to their home). It was another successful stay and play this week, as always, we thank those who are able to join us.

Letters sent home via ParentPay this week


This week we have been beginning to learn about the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations. This weekend starts a week of festivities celebrating the Year of the Dragon and we have found out where China is, some of the landmarks and about the climate. We read the story of the Great Race and used positional language and ordinal numbers to describe the position each animal came in the race.

This week we have been assessing phonics and so the children have not brought home a new book. Instead, the children have brought home some reading practice through tricky words and words containing digraphs and plurals.

REMINDER: Please ensure you discuss with your child their lunch options before you make your selection as more and more children are claiming they don’t like their lunch and are therefore not eating much at lunchtime.

Letters sent home via ParentPay this week

Year 1

This week we have started to learn about the Great Fire of London. The children have asked questions related to this, used non-fiction texts to find information and started to write a recount of the events. In maths, we have focused on subtraction using a number line and solving simple word problems. Our artwork has continued to focus on Lowry, the children have been creating their own pictures in his style.

Letters sent home via ParentPay this week

Year 2

This week we have focused upon the United Kingdom during our daily layered reading sessions. The children have learnt lots of interesting facts and improved their retrieval skills by hunting for key words to answer questions. In English we have investigated the features of a letter and the children have written letters from one of the characters in our book ‘Into the Forest’. We have started learning about multiplication in maths and the children will be completing another Club 50 times table challenge early next week. As it is Chinese New Year next week, the children have made and decorated red envelopes ready for our special visitor next!

Letters sent home via ParentPay this week

Year 3

In maths we have been looking at equivalent lengths and converting cm to mm and cm to m. We noticed it has been a case of multiplication and division and once we made this link, it was relatively easy to convert measurements. In English we researched and made a fact file about the Chinese New Year. We found out it was the Year of the Dragon and about how the New Year is celebrated in Chinese culture. In geography we have researched some famous volcanoes and wrote about where they are in the world, when they last erupted and what damage may have been caused by them. In the afternoons we have continued to look at the Chinese New Year celebrations through stories and artwork.

REMINDER: Chinese New Year homework was sent home - this was to complete a poster. Finished pieces need to be back in school by Wednesday 14th February, for a chance to win extra play or treats!

Letters sent home via ParentPay this week

Year 4

The children have started learning about measurements in maths this week – how many millimetres in a centimetre, how many metres in a kilometre and then converting between the different units of measurement using both part/whole models and the bar method for completing the conversions.

In English they are embedding knowledge that they will need for story writing when they return to school after the February half-term.

Geography was all about the UK – the children learnt that the UK is made up from 4 main parts, that each part is divided into counties and that each county has a main city. This is always an interesting lesson and the children do enjoy using an atlas.

The children’s learning also involved discussing healthy eating in PHSE and how to describe someone’s features in French.

Times Tables Rockstars 'Battle of the Bands' - This week the children were told about a 'Battle of the Bands' competition that will take place over the half-term holiday - they might have told you all about it as there was lots of excitement! A letter will come home on Monday explaining all...

REMINDER: Chinese New Year homework was sent home - this was to complete a poster. Finished pieces need to be back in school by Wednesday 14th February, for a chance to win extra play or treats!

Nail varnish and jewellery should not be worn to school except for stud earrings – these should not be worn on PE days.

Letters sent home via ParentPay this week

Year 5

Year 5 have been continuing with diary writing this week. The children have worked really hard to use emotive language effectively to convey Razi’s feelings. We had some wonderfully written diary entries.

In maths, we have been calculating fractions of amounts. The children were able to apply their knowledge of unit and non-unit fractions to learn the method.

Mountains was our geography topic this week. We learnt about 4 different types of mountain and how they are formed. The children wrote short paragraphs using technical vocabulary.

In RE the students discussed traits of a saint and attributes of saintliness.

It has also been good to see lots of Chinese New Year homework coming into class.

Thriftwood Residential - Please note that the parent and carer meeting for the Thriftwood Residential will be held on Tuesday 30th April at 3:15pm. Please head to the outside door to the KS2 Hall. This event is now listed within the diary dates.

Letters sent home via ParentPay this week

Year 6

Year 6 had the opportunity to take part in Bikeability Level 2 this week. The children learnt how to remain safe whilst riding on the local roads around Shoebury, understanding rules of the road, signalling and who has priority. The children who have completed the course have thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

For the rest of the week, we have completed a variety of other lessons, including descriptive writing, creating living organisms in science and producing work based upon the upcoming Chinese New Year.

Reminder: Next week is Outdoor Learning for Year 6.

On Monday and Tuesday afternoons next week, 6B will be outside in the environmental garden.

On Wednesday and Thursday afternoons next week, 6L will be outside in the environmental garden.

Please come dressed in suitable clothing for whatever the weather may bring.

Letters sent home via ParentPay this week

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


Year 1 and 2 have been exploring the theme of self-image and identity as part of their learning for e-safety this week. Year 1 drew a hand to show 5 trusted adults they can ask for help if there are any problems online, whilst Year 2 looked at why we might decide to have an avatar.

Year 3 have now completed their unit on coding to make a sequence of sounds using Scratch, by creating code for various instruments. Some children moved on to creating loops for repetition.

Year 4 and 6 have explored bullying online, including how to spot the signs of online bullying and for year 6, how to capture evidence of online bullying (eg screen shots).

Year 5 were very excited this week as they have started their project of creating a moving carousel using cardboard, tape and a Crumble. Photos next week when they have finished!

Tuesday was Safer Internet Day and many children explored how to keep safe when playing online games.

Please do take the time to discuss online safety with your child and ensure appropriate filters are in place so they cannot access content that is inappropriate for their age.

Parents guides can be found by clicking on the following link:

Online Safety

This week's online guide tells trusted adults what they need to know about Monkey. With Omegle finally shutting down in late 2023, the top spot among video chat services is up for grabs – and Monkey has its eyes set on the crown. Randomly matching its users for 15-second conversations, the platform’s developers claim to have created a dynamic online space for people to make new connections and, potentially, even some new friends.

Despite these innocuous-sounding intentions, however, Monkey has been criticised for moderation which may not be comprehensive enough to defend against the obvious dangers that unregulated, random video calls pose to the younger element of the site’s userbase.

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

PE and Sport

Once again, we have had a range of sport being delivered across the school with a focus on badminton, rugby and dance. It is always lovely to see children suitably kitted out for PE!

Thank you for supporting your children to look smart in their uniform and PE Kit on PE days. Children should be wearing their Friars purple top in school on their PE days. Other tops are not to be worn in school.

REMINDER: Earrings cannot be worn during PE lessons. We have had some getting lost this week where children have taken them out for the lesson. Please, where possible leave earrings at home on PE days.

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

Outdoor Learning

A busy week for Nursery and Reception this week...


This week we have enjoyed outdoor learning with Mr. Brady. The children were taught how we can help the animals in our garden. We made homes for bugs and put food out in different types of bird feeders. We also helped weed the vegetable patch which of cause the children loved as it was not only weeds’ we were pulling up. They loved finding the hundreds of wiggly worms and comparing who had found the longest worm.


We had time in the environmental garden with Mr. Brady this week, experiencing first-hand the effect of water on soil amongst other outdoorsy activities.

REMINDERS: Next week it is time for Year 6 to get outside!

  • On Monday and Tuesday 6B will heading outside!
  • On Wednesday and Thursday 6L will be heading outside!

Come ready for whatever the weather!

Singing Assemblies

KS2 with Ms Taylor-Brown

Well this week's singing assembly included something a little different! Moving forward I will be listening in every week as the children sing and choosing my choir of the week! This will be the year group who have sung with the most enthusiasm and gusto! This year group will receive a trophy for the week and will be seated on the benches for the following week's singing assembly as role models.

Well done to Year 4 who were crowned the first choir of the week for singing their hearts out to Celestial by our artist of the month Mr. Ed Sheeran!

Following on from Monday’s OPAL assembly where I shared Waiting all Night by Ella Eyre and Rudimental, this week we came into Rudimental featuring Ed.

We sang Celestial by Ed Sheeran from the Pokemon movie!

And left to Thinking out loud!

We also learned that in a survey of over 1000 children in 2019, Ed Sheeran was named as an artist whose music really helps children’s wellbeing - do you agree? Let me know! Whose music makes you feel lifted and ready for anything?

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Diary Dates


  • Thursday 15th - 2S Swimming
  • Friday 16th - INSET DAY
  • Monday 19th - Friday 23rd - February Half Term
  • Monday 26th - Yr 5/6 Conductive Music Workshops
  • Nursery Stay and Play
  • Tuesday 27th - Yr 5/6 Conductive Music Workshops
  • Thursday 29th - Last Swimming for 2S


  • Thursday 7th - World Book Day for Nursery, Reception, Yr1, Yr2, Yr3, Yr5 and Yr6 - dressing-up
  • Swimming starts for 2G
  • Yr 4 trip to Imperial War Museum
  • Friday 8th March - World Book Day for Yr4 - dressing-up
  • Thursday 14th - Nursery Stay and Play
  • 2G Swimming
  • Monday 11th - Friday 15th - Yr 6 Practice SATs Week
  • Wednesday 20th - Learning Conversations
  • YMCA Songwriting for Yr 3/4
  • Thursday 21st - 2G Swimming
  • Learning Conversations
  • Friday 22nd - KS1 Girls' Football
  • Monday 25th - Nursery Maths Stay and Play
  • Thursday 28th - 2G Swimming
  • Rhythm Connection Drumming
  • Friday 29th - GOOD FRIDAY


  • Monday 1st - EASTER MONDAY
  • Tuesday 2nd - Friday 12th - EASTER BREAK
  • Wednesday 17th - Tri Golf
  • Thursday 18th - 2G Swimming
  • Monday 22nd - Thursday 25th - Yr 6 Mock SATs Week
  • Tuesday 23rd - Y6 Isle of Wight meeting 3:15pm KS2 Hall
  • Wednesday 24th - Reception Height, Weight, Vision & Hearing check
  • KS1 TAG Rugby
  • Thursday 25th - Last Swimming for 2G
  • Tuesday 30th - Y5 Thriftwood Meeting 3:15pm KS2 Hall


  • Wednesday 1st - Yr 1 Education Visit to Wat Tyler Country Park
  • Monday 6th - BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY
  • Monday 13th - Thursday 16th - KS2 SATs Week
  • Friday 17th - National Numeracy Day
  • KS1 Quad Kids Athletics
  • Monday 20th - Friday 24th - Yr 6 Isle of Wight Residential
  • Wednesday 22nd - Nursery Sports Day
  • Thursday 23rd - Reception Sports Day
  • Friday 24th - Yr 5/6 Emerging Rounders
  • Monday 27th - BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY
  • Tuesday 28th - Friday 31st - May Half Term


  • Monday 3rd - INSET Day
  • Thursday 6th - Reception Education Visit to Hyde Hall
  • Monday 10th - Friday 14th - Phonic Screening Week
  • Monday 10th - Junior Music Festival
  • Tuesday 11th - KS2 Borough Sports
  • Wednesday 12th - Friday 14th - Yr 5 Thriftwood Residential
  • Monday 17th - Yr 3 Education Visit to Colchester Castle
  • Friday 21st - World Music Day
  • KS1 3 Tees Cricket
  • Wednesday 26th - KS1 Sports Day and Picnic
  • KS2 Picnic and Sports Day
  • Friday 28th - KS1 Borough Sports


  • Wednesday 3rd - 5th - Art and D&T Festival at Friars
  • Wednesday 3rd - Parents Open Evening
  • Thursday 4th - KS1 & KS2 Mini Games
  • Friday 5th - Yr 6-7 Transition Day
  • Friday 12th - PTA Summer Fayre
  • Friday 19th - Last Day of Term
  • Monday 22nd - INSET DAY


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

Dinner Menu

Week 1

Monday - Beef Bolognaise with Spaghetti - Vegan Bolognaise with Spaghetti - Baked Jackets with Grated Cheese - Chicken Mayonnaise Baguette - Cheese Salad Wrap - Pea & Broccoli - Maryland Cookie

Tuesday - Ham & Cheese Pizza with Baked Wedges - Margherita Pizza with Baked Wedges - Pasta & Tomato Sauce - Ham Sandwich - Cheese & Tomato Bloomer - Carrots & Sweetcorn - Apple Crumble with Custard

Wednesday - Roast Chicken with roast Potatoes & Gravy - Sweet Chilli Stir-fry Mushroom and Vegetable Noodles - Tuna Sweetcorn Baguette - Cheese Sandwich - Seasonal Greens & Cauliflower - Cherry Cornflake Cake

Thursday - Mild Chicken & Vegetable Curry with Steamed Rice - Vegan bEAN Chilli with Steamed Rice - Pasta & Tomato Sauce - Tuna Mayonnaise Sandwich - Cheese Salad Wrap - Broccoli & Carrots - Chocolate & Pear Sponge

Friday - INSET DAY

Freshly Baked Bread - Carrot & Beetroot or Wholemeal Bread.

OPAL Update

Unfortunately our OPAL mentor Becky was unwell this week so we had to postpone our visit. However we all just kept working and have made some great strides this week.

Firstly on Monday we arrived to find our new sandpit built - minus the sand! The children still loved it and had fun playing in it.

On Tuesday I went back to the nursery sale in Southchurch and loaded up my car with more OPAL toys! Tuesday afternoon a brilliant team of play rangers helped me clear out the first part of one of our sheds and some salt bins. Here is what some of them had to say about our afternoon!

By Beth:

On Tuesday some play rangers helped Ms. Taylor-Brown.

What we did was clear out a section of the KS1 shed and put everything in the right place. Everything that was broken went into the skip and if it was still usable it would go back in the bins.

The team worked well together to come up with great ideas to repurpose and reuse items such as, old tins and mud kitchen items.

We have saved some things for the future and there is a plan for when OPAL is completed.

There are now lots of new toys for OPAL for us all to play with including nursery and reception.

By Thea:

On Tuesday 6th February a group of people helped Ms. Taylor-Brown tidy the shed. It was fun for me. We helped do the salt bins and at the end we took pictures of the no-sand sand pit and one of the big shed.

By Tallulah

Then on Wednesday- the sand arrived!

So yes not quite the week we planned - but a very productive one nonetheless.


This week the PTA spent time sorting through our very full donations bin! Thank you so much everyone who donated. Please don’t forget we are looking for World Book Day costumes and props too for our sale.

Also please don’t forget with half term around we are your one stop shop for Adventure Island wristband, Sealife and Golf tickets - with great prices and money raised for our school it really is a win-win situation!

Celebration Assembly

The links for our Celebration Assemblies can be found below.

9th February 2024

2nd February 2024

26th January 2024

19th January 2024


Attendance this week was quite low unfortunately and we are all hoping that there is a big bounce back next week before the half-term holidays.

This week’s winners were 6B in Key Stage 2 and 1MV in Key Stage 1. Well done to both classes.

In KS1 our winners were Stirling and Stormont and for KS2 it was Stirling again. It was a big week for Stirling our blue team. They not only scored the highest number of points in the week but they also jumped ahead of Windsor into second place. This now all means that Stirling are 9 points closer to front runners Caernarfon.

There are still only 45 points separating all four teams. This year’s competition is as close as football’s Premier League race…!


Not so much a community event from me - but I am looking to arrange a careers event over the summer for our children to learn about different jobs and careers. If you would like to come and tell the children about your job or if you work for a company who might like to help out or have any connections through family and friends - please let me know! Drop me a line on

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 -