Friars Weekly Newsletter 12th January 2024

Coming up in this edition of the newsletter...

  • Staffing news
  • Show Racism the Red Card workshops
  • Date for the Year 6 Isle of Wight meeting - Tuesday 23rd April

Although it does seem that we have been back from the Christmas break for quite a while... welcome back! Our first full week of the spring term has flown by and we are already at the weekend.

The children have really hit the ground running this January and we have been very impressed with the learning we have been seeing. The weather has been a bit wintery this week but that hasn't stopped us! Next week is looking even colder with some evenings and mornings into minus figures... brrr! Please do wrap up warmly everyone.

This week, we said goodbye to Mrs. Pinckney. Mrs. Pinckney is expecting a baby next month and we wish her and her family all the best. With one goodbye, we said three hellos. Mr. Lynes, Mrs. Wheatley and Mrs. Gladdy all started with us this week. Mr. Lynes and Mrs. Wheatley will be teaching our computing curriculum now Mrs. Pinckney is not here as well as doing other teaching too. For Mr. Lynes this includes some maths teaching and taking 3A on a Friday and for Mrs. Wheatley some teaching in Early Years. Mrs. Gladdy is an MDA in Early Years. Welcome and good luck to all three.

As we move through this half-term we will be sharing lots of dates for the remainder of the school year so please do check the diary dates section each week.

One thing we are looking forward to this half-term is at the end of this month when we have visitors in school from the group Show Racism the Red Card. We will be having workshops across Years 4, 5 and 6 as well as assemblies involving younger children. It should be a fun, yet very educational day for us.

Have a lovely weekend and see you all on Monday.

Mr. Chris McClay, Principal

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


It has been a pleasure welcoming the new children that have joined us this term. They have all come in happily and confidently, along with our returning children. With the cold weather that has also joined us this week, we have been talking about how it makes our bodies feel and what we can do to keep warm. We have used this to our benefit and are continuing to teach the children a sensible order to dress themselves for the outdoors. In nursery we have created a picture wall showing children putting on and zipping up their coats, and then putting on their scarves, hats and finally gloves. It has been great seeing the children refer to this when getting ready.

REMINDER: Nursery works in all weathers, as a free-flow provision, therefore please ensure your child always has appropriate clothing for the outdoors.


Happy New Year! It has been lovely to welcome Reception back to school. The children have been enjoying the winter weather this week. This has fit in very well with our new story “Blue Penguin”. The children have been learning all about Antarctica, finding it on a map and describing the landscape. They have also had firsthand experience playing with the ice outside and some “winter ice” containing winter foliage in the water tray. In phonics, we have been learning the digraphs ll, ss and ff. In Maths, we have been recognising and forming the numerals 0-5. The children have then been giving the opportunity to practise these skills in provision.

REMINDER: Please ensure that all hats, gloves, scarves, jumpers and coats are clearly named. Your children will have bought a new reading book home today, please remember to return the book and reading record on Thursday next week.

Year 1

It has been wonderful to welcome to the children back to school in 2024. This week we have shared the beginning of our new book; Claude in the City. The children have spoken about Claude’s day, thought about an adventure that he could go on and written speech bubbles for him. In maths, the children have been consolidating their understanding of numbers within twenty, using these to count on and back from a given number as well as accurately counting sets of objects. Our RE lesson this week focused on special places, the children were encouraged to talk about a place that is special to them and say why.

Letters sent out this week

Year 2

A wonderful week (+ 2 days) back for Year 2. We have kickstarted our learning on shape, looking at both 2D and 3D shapes with their properties. We have counted sides, vertices, edges and faces and used our understanding of these properties to sort shapes according to our own criteria. We also tackled symmetry and recognised which shapes have lines of symmetry and also drew our own shapes with lines of symmetry – a super busy week in maths.

In English we looked at the short film ‘Taking Flight,’ and used the amazing adventures to form expanded noun phrases and use these in story writing. In our topic work we started looking at how we use the internet and also started our topic on animals and living things in science, where we looked at the basic needs including air, water, food (nutrition) and shelter.

This week, swimming for 2S was cancelled last minute due to chlorine levels at the Hamstel pool. 2S will now have their first swimming lesson next week. This does mean that 2G's swimming will begin a week later than originally planned, this now being Thursday 7th March. Thank you for your understanding.

Letters sent out this week

Year 3

What a cold start to the week we have had, with a few flurries of snow to get the children all excited!

In maths we have continued with our multiplication and division learning but using two-digit numbers. They have shown they are a super mathematical bunch this week! In English we have started to look at a new book called Leon and the Place Between. We have completed some descriptive writing, moving onto retelling the story next week. It has been a very rocky afternoon this week..... we have begun to look at rocks in science, alongside volcanoes in geography and art.

REMINDER: Make sure the children have warm coats, hats, gloves, and scarves as the weather has turned a little colder this week.

Please remember to bring library books back so they can be changed:

  • 3A is on Thursday afternoons.
  • 3B is on Wednesday afternoons.

Letters sent out this week

Year 4

Happy New Year. We hope that you had an enjoyable Christmas holiday.

We have really hit the ground running in Year 4. We have already started learning about World War II, which we will be studying for all of the spring term. The children have read about why WWII began, the difference between the allied and axis countries and who some of the key players were. This learning is being covered through our history and geography lessons. Nearly all our comprehension activities are based on the subject of WWII as well.

In maths we have learnt about factors, factor pairs and products. We are now moving onto multiplying and dividing by 10 and 100. We would ask that all Year 4 children are still practising their timestables ready for the national test in the summer term.

It was 4D’s turn for outdoor learning. Thankfully, Mr. Brady took pity on us in this incredibly chilly weather and let us stay warm in the hobbit hut. The children have been designing bird boxes with anti-squirrel measures.

Please keep your eye out for an email regarding our trip to the Imperial War Museum in March – something to look forward to.

REMINDER: It is great to see the children coming to school thoroughly wrapped to keep warm. Please ensure that gloves, scarfs, coats and ear muffs are all named. Every week, the lost property that accumulates is displayed for the children to claim and then it is sent down to the office. So, if your child ever comes home with something missing, the office is probably the best place to go.

Letters sent out this week

Year 5

In English, Year 5 have researched the life and achievements of Sir David Attenborough. The children used their notes to write a biography detailing his life from childhood to more recent events. They then transferred these skills to autobiographical writing towards the end of the week.

In maths, we began our new topic of multiplication and division. The students developed their short multiplication skills and moved onto long multiplication which has more steps to the method. They applied their times tables knowledge well to double check their calculations.

On Monday, we looked at a new song in music: Adelle’s ‘How To Make You Feel My Love.’ The children tried to identify which instruments are being used and gave their opinions of the version being heard.

For geography on Tuesday, Year 5 learnt about the different types of greenhouse gases and the reasons as to why the gases have increased in recent years. They then drew a diagram to demonstrate their understanding.

Letters sent out this week

Year 6

Year 6 began the week with a Hook Day called Extreme Earth. We began to learn about and understand some of the natural disasters that could affect people around the world. Our focus was on earthquakes; where and how they occur and the procedures that take place if an earthquake occurs. The children have combined art and music with this producing seismic wave pictures and using the glockenspiels to accompany songs. The day was enjoyed by all.

We have begun a new focus in RE - which is all about human rights. The children have begun to think about what rights children should have and in English have learnt about an influential figure who believed in equality for people regardless of their skin colour, Martin Luther King Jr.

On Tuesday 24th April at 3:15pm we will be holding a meeting all about the Year 6 Isle of Wight residential. Please do add this to your diary and attend if you can. Information about Southend Week - for those children not attending the Isle of Wight - will follow in the second spring half-term.

Letters sent out this week

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


A new half-term of computing has begun this week, where each year group will be focusing on the computer science aspect of the curriculum and learning all about programming.

Year 1 started the week focusing on ‘instructions’, being asked to follow instructions given by an adult and then by their partner to move around the room in different ways. We focused on the vocabulary and importance and accuracy of the language used to ensure success. Students also had time to begin exploring the programmable toys and are excited to see how these work more next week.

On Monday afternoon Year 3 started their new topic of using the desktop/online version of Scratch. It was great to see how much information they had remembered from Scratch Jr. And how this is then enhanced through this version of the program. They were given time to add sprites, change backdrops and begin exploring changing of values using the motion blocks.

On Tuesday, Year 4 were asked to explore FMS Logo, something very different to their previous programming learning, a completely new programming interface, whereby the accuracy of commands is crucial and most importantly the commands are to be provided in a text based format. Lots of new language, skills and strategic thinking was needed to interpret different code snippets and I was so impressed with how students were not only engaged and motivated but also determined to learn more. Well done Year 4.

The Year 5 classes were given a lesson to ‘explore’ and ‘experiment’ with some physical computing kits - the Crumble controllers. They were asked to work with a partner to see what they could do and find out. It was great to see how everyone worked together to use the equipment in a safe way and enthusiastic to learn more about the potential of these devices. I am so excited to see how their learning progresses over the next half term.

Year 2 had their first computing lesson last week where they focused on the importance of instructions, giving them and following them as well as the importance of clear, concise and accurate instructions.

This week we focused on a sequence of instructions and sought to explore what happens when changing the order of the instructions to create an algorithm. They used this knowledge to then ‘program’ the code and go robot mouse to various places on the mat.

Last Friday Year 6 started learning about ‘variables’ and began exploring using them within an existing project in Scratch. This week they continued to experiment with the value of variables and the importance of a variable needing a name as well as a value. Students are having the chance to ‘remix’ (modify) other designs of games in order to improve them, make them more interesting to play and to begin developing their own repertoire of ideas for a game creation over the next few weeks. Well done Year 6.

Online Safety

Freedom of expression is enshrined in international law. Some individuals, however, misunderstand the right to share their opinions as a license to target others with the most horrendous prejudice. So how do we balance people’s prerogative to have their voice heard against everyone’s right to live in a respectful, inclusive society?

This conflict frequently unfolds in the digital world. Online posters can be falsely accused of hate speech, while actual hate is often defended as merely being ‘free speech’. To help children and young people learn to identify the boundaries and recognise genuine hate speech when they see it, the guide this week provides some helpful definitions and guidelines.

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

PE and Sport

Next Friday we are taking part in a Year 3 and 4 boys' football competition at the Len Forge Centre. Good luck to the team. News about the event will follow in the newsletter in a fortnight's time.

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 4D were outside with Mr. Brady - having lots of fun using tools and making bird boxes. Next week it is the turn of 4S. Please come to school dressed to be outside as it is going to be very cold. As a reminder, normal uniform must be worn on the top half.

Singing Assemblies

KS1 with Mrs Dyer

This week, we revisited some of the children’s favourite songs that they learnt before Christmas, including, ‘Who’s the King of the Jungle,’ and ‘Wouldn’t it be funny.’

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Diary Dates

January 2024

  • Friday 19th - Yr 3/4 Boys' Emerging Football
  • Y5/6 Football Match
  • Tuesday 23rd - Panathlon Inclusive Swimming @ Stratford
  • Thursday 25th - 2S Swimming
  • Friday 26th - Show Racism The Red Card Day


  • Thursday 1st - 2S Swimming
  • Friday 2nd - KS1 Boys' Football
  • Thursday 8th - 2S Swimming
  • Thursday 15th - 2S Swimming
  • Friday 16th - INSET DAY
  • Monday 19th - Friday 23rd - February Half Term
  • Thursday 29th - Last Swimming for 2S


  • Thursday 7th - Swimming starts for 2G
  • Monday 11th - Friday 15th - Yr 6 Practice SATs Week
  • Wednesday 20th - Learning Conversations
  • Thursday 21st - 2G Swimming
  • Learning Conversations
  • Friday 22nd - KS1 Girls' Football
  • 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 - 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
  • 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
  • Friday 28th - KS1 Borough Sports


  • Thursday 4th - KS1 & KS2 Mini Games
  • Friday 5th - Yr 6-7 Transition Day
  • Thursday 18th - Last Day of Term
  • Monday 22nd - INSET DAY


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

Dinner Menu

Week 3

Monday - Chicken & Sweetcorn Meatballs with Tomato Sauce & Penne - Vegan Roasted Ratatouille with Penne - Baked Jacket with Grated Cheese - Ham Salad Wrap - Cheese and Tomato Bloomer - Carrots & Broccoli - Orange Shortbread Biscuit

Tuesday - Bacon & Mushroom Carbonara with Pasta - Vegan Lentil & Vegetable Curry with Steamed Rice - Pasta & Tomato sauce - Tuna Sweetcorn Baguette - Cheese Sandwich - Sweetcorn & Coleslaw - Carrot cake

Wednesday - Herby Roast Chicken with Roast Potatoes & Gravy - 3 Vegetable Mac n’ Cheese - Baked Jacket with Baked Beans - Tuna Mayonnaise Sandwich - Cheese Salad Wrap - Seasonal Greens & Broccoli - Chocolate & Beetroot Brownie

Thursday - Cottage Pie Topped with Sweet Potato Mash - Vegan Chickpea & Spinach Korma with Steamed Rice - Pasta & Tomato Sauce - Chicken Mayonnaise Baguette - Ham Sandwich - Cauliflower & Carrots - Vanilla Ice Cream

Friday - Breaded Fish Fingers with Chips & Ketchup - Vegan Bubble & Squeak with Chips & Ketchup - Baked Jacket with Grated Cheese - Ham Salad Bloomer - Cheese Sandwich - Peas & Baked Beans - Apple Cake

Freshly Baked Bread - Courgette & Tomato or Wholemeal Bread.

OPAL Update

A full OPAL update will appear in next Friday's newsletter...


Th Annual General Meeting is approaching and will take place in the Conference Suite/Meeting Room. PTA members will be there to meet you at the door by the Children’s Centre!

Celebration Assembly

The links for our Celebration Assemblies can be found below.

15th December 2023

8th December 2023

1st December 2023

24th November 2023


Interestingly our winners in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 both had the same winning percentage this week - 98.6%. A huge new year well done to 1B and 4S.

Half of our classes were above 95% this week but only three were above our school target of 96%. Let's go Friars!

We had joint wins in both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 this week. For KS1 it was a tie between Caernarfon and Stormont and in KS2 it was a tie between Caernarfon and Windsor. With double success for our yellows, it does mean that their lead extends. Still though... there is not a great deal in it. The whole of the spring and summer lies ahead!


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 -