Friars Weekly Newsletter 19th January 2024

Coming up in this edition of the newsletter...

  • Football updates
  • World Book Day - Thursday 7th March

Another good week here at Friars... although it did finish in darkness. Don't worry this wasn't due to an unpaid bill but rather planned electrical work. We had hoped that our bistro would be up and running back in the October half-term but we were let down by the energy company who did not turn up for the appointment. Grrr! We then tried again in the Christmas holidays only for the same thing to happen once more. Double-Grrr! However, finally we are there... working ovens and hobs. We can't wait to get using them!

We often say we have busy weeks, and this week was no exception. On Wednesday, we had a visit from an invited guest - Mrs. Herlock. Mrs. Herlock is an OFSTED inspector who works with the schools in our Trust; Hamstel Infants, Hamstel Juniors, Porters Grange and West Leigh Junior School. Mrs. Herlock spoke to leaders in the school, dropped into lessons and looked at children's learning. It was a really positive, helpful day which will help our continuous efforts to make the school the best it can be.

Friday saw football highs and lows.

Ten of our Year 3/4 children took part in a football tournament at the Len Forge Centre. Mr. Brady and Miss Edwards had managerial responsibilities across the morning before I swapped in for Miss Edwards for the afternoon. Across the day there were lots of draws, wins and only three defeats. The results meant the team finished joint 8th out of the 13 teams there. Well done to everyone involved for great teamwork and effort. Thank you to Mr. Brady - and Miss Edwards who came along on her morning off work! A full report will feature in our next newsletter.

Sadly, the boy's Year 5/6 football match at the end of Friday had to be called off due to a frozen pitch. Across the day, Mr. Telling kept checking the pitch but with no improvement the call had to be made. We will look to rearrange the fixture.

Did you know that Mr. Telling is a qualified referee? What talented staff we have at Friars.

Have a fantastic week.

Mr. Chris McClay, Principal

World Book Day - Thursday 7th March 2024

The academic year does move quickly... In March, we will once again be participating in World Book Day fun. We would like to invite 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). There will be lots of World Book Day related learning in school with lots of new ideas for 2024.

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


It has been another cold week, but this has not stopped the nursery children. We have continued to explore weather changes, especially the freezing ice. The children have enjoyed seeing what has frozen in the water each morning and have investigated ways to rescue it. We have talked about what helps the ice to melt and how it changes from a solid (something hard) to a liquid (something runny).

In group time we were introduced to the poem, ‘Popcorn’ and the children enjoyed making and of course eating, their own popcorn in Mrs. Glen’s Popcorn machine.

REMINDER: Please keep an eye out for the new stay and play dates that will be out soon.


The children have enjoyed learning some new digraphs in phonics this week, including ch and sh. We have been very impressed with their sound knowledge and their letter formation is really coming along! In maths, we have been continuing our number formation and have used 10 frames to show different arrangements of numbers. We have also continued looking at our story “Blue Penguin” and have used the words first, next, then and finally to order pictures and thought about how Blue Penguin feels at different points in the story.

REMINDER: We are running low on spare clothes. If your child has borrowed any spare clothes could these please be returned. Many thanks.

Year 1

The children in Year 1 have finished reading Claude in the City this week and written a postcard, from Claude, about his adventures. In their art lesson, each child has sketched Claude and then collaged his clothing. In maths, we have focused on numbers up to 20 and pairs of numbers that make 20. The children have spoken about games and activities that they enjoy when using electronic devices and understood that a range of physical activities helps to keep them healthy as well.

Year 2

Year 2 have used the story ‘The Tunnel’ by Anthony Browne as a stimulus for our written work this week. The children were able to suggest some fabulous adjectives to describe the characters. They created very interesting expanded noun phrases and have really worked hard to incorporate conjunctions (and, but, so, when) into their writing. We have begun learning about the United Kingdom in geography. The children used Google Earth and atlases to locate the four countries which make up the UK and labelled a map to show their learning. In maths we have explored the properties of 3D shapes including faces, vertices and edges.

Please see the PE and Sport section for a survey we'd love you to complete. Every survey completed brings additional funding to the school.

REMINDERS: 2S enjoyed their first swimming lesson this week. Please continue to support your child in getting dressed unaided.

Year 3

This week, Year 3 have been working incredibly hard multiplying numbers and showing an understanding of how to this relates to division. In English, we have continued our work on ‘Leon and the Place Between’, rewriting the story to show off our fantastic descriptive skills.

Tectonic plates and boundaries have been the focus for our geography learning. We have also been learning colour theory in art this week, using watercolour paints to create a colour wheel.

We’ve also been getting very musical in Year 3, as we continue to learn and practise ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley. Don’t forget to ask your child for a rendition of this!

REMINDER: Please remember that the children bring home their spellings each week. Please do take the time to practise these, ready for their spelling tests the following Monday.

Year 4

The Year 4 children are continuing their learning of WWII through comprehension about how animals were used in WWII and earned their own medals of honour. They wrote a newspaper about the outbreak of WWII including all the necessary features and finally and they created a timeline of events at the start of the WWII.

This half-term, the children will be studying, analysing and recreating the art of L.S. Lowry. His pictures are well known and the children will be able to immerse themselves in his style.

REMINDER: Just a reminder that spellings, maths and English homework come home on a Friday to be returned to school the following week, also on the Friday.

Year 5

This week in maths, we continued with long multiplication. Everyone has now moved onto the formal written method having started with the area model last week. The children are persevering and showing great resilience.

English has seen us learning about causal conjunctions. The children are able to select the most appropriate for their sentences and topic of writing. They applied this skill to writing a formal letter as Mr. McClay who had to ‘cancel’ an event.

In geography, they wrote an informal letter from the perspective of a polar bear explaining negative environmental impacts on Antarctica.

A chilly netball lesson, saw Year 5 learning 3 different types of passes.

A reminder about PE uniform on a Wednesday:

  • Black shorts or plain black tracksuit bottoms
  • Purple round-necked t-shirt
  • Plimsolls or trainers
  • Plain black tracksuit tops with no/minimal logos may be worn during colder months (no hoodies)

Year 6

This week, in Year 6, we have been focusing on some Human Rights issues from history. We have seen some outstanding writing about both Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks – our RE has focused on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In science, we have been learning about the kingdoms of life and how living things are classified scientifically. We used the acronym MRS GREN to help us. Ask the children about this, and they will explain all!

Our theme of Extreme Earth has been developed in history and geography where we explored the ‘Great Storm of 1987’; looking at how storms and hurricanes are classified around the world. We hope children have asked about ‘The Great Storm of 1987’ at home and if anyone has any memories of it.

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


As you may recall last week we said goodbye to Mrs. Pinkney for now - so this week our new computing teachers Mr. Lynes and Mrs. Wheatley continued to settle into life at Friars. Both Mr. Lynes and Mrs. Wheatley were able to receive handovers from Mrs. Pinckney so they will be able to continue her great work seemlessly.

Look out for an update next week from our new computing teachers!

Online Safety

Smartphone Safety Tips

According to Ofcom, 69% of under-18s use a smartphone as their main method of going online. Additionally, 49% of children use them for online gaming – putting smartphones only behind consoles (59%) as the device of choice for playing games on. Most people won’t require such statistical evidence, however, to acknowledge the huge importance of phones to young people.

Given that Santa’s recent visit is likely to have bestowed smartphones on an even greater number of young people, it’s a particularly opportune moment to ensure that children are able to use their handsets responsibly – and, above all, safely. From passcodes to parental controls, and from screen time to scams, This guide has the essential advice.

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

PE and Sport

Classes have continued to work on badminton skills this week and have been enjoying using the hall and indoor facilities.

On Friday, Year 3 and 4 children took part in a football tournament at the Len Forge Centre - Mr. McClay mentions this at the beginning of the newsletter and the full report will feature next time. The first football league game for the Year 5 and 6 boys was unfortunately postponed due to a frozen pitch - just like Southend United at Roots Hall!

Mr. Leggett, PE Leader

Active Lives Survey

We are taking part in an Active Lives survey in school where a selection of children will be answering some questions about activities they do.

We have also been asked to survey parents of children in Year 2, from which the school will earn additional sports funds for every survey submitted.

If you are a parent of a child in Year 2, your support in this would be very much appreciated.

Year 2 Parent survey

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

Outdoor Learning

It has been so cold this week but 4S and Mr. Smith and Mrs. Scotchford braved the temperatures to have their turn in the environmental garden with Mr. Brady. They planned how to make a hotel for bugs. Using the correct tools for the jobs, they then made the hotels ready for when the bugs start appearing again – probably when it gets a bit warmer. Of course, we do have our lovely outdoor classroom which always offers some welcome warmth.

REMINDERS: Next week it is the turn of 3A - they will outside with Mr. Brady on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Please make sure the children are dressed and ready whatever the weather.

The week after this, week commencing Monday 29th January it will be 3B - for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

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.’

KS2 with Ms Taylor-Brown

Well unfortunately the children had to have 2 assemblies from me this week! Firstly, our OPAL assembly where I felt it was only right to sing the wonderful “Back to School Again” as it was my first assembly of the year.

On Wednesday in Singing Assembly, we learned about the Queen of Soul - Ms. Aretha Franklin, coming into the brilliant Respect - which only happens to be one of our school values.

We learnt how Aretha is one of the world's best-selling artists, how she was a pianist, songwriter and singer who began singing in her father's church as a small child. I talked about gospel music and how it is uplifting and motivating.

We also talked about how she was also an important civil rights activist who worked with Martin Luther King to help change the world.

We went out to the beautiful “You’ve got a Friend” sung by her too.

Next week we will listen to some more of her music!

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Diary Dates

January 2024

  • 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 - World Book Day for Nursery, Reception, Y1, Y2, Y3, Y5 and Y6 - dressing-up
  • Swimming starts for 2G
  • Friday 8th March - World Book Day for Y4 - dressing-up
  • 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 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 Bakes 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 - Squash & Lentil Lasagna- Baked Jackets with Baked Beans - Tuna Sweetcorn Baguettes - 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 - Breaded Fish Fingers with Chips & ketchup - Vegan Goujons with Chips & Ketchup - Baked Jackets with grated Cheese - Ham Sandwich - Egg Mayo Baguette - Peas & Baked Beans - Banana Flapjack

Freshly Baked Bread - Carrot & Beetroot or Wholemeal Bread.

OPAL Update

Well this week has been a busy OPAL week! Mrs. Goodwin our Office Manager has ordered our Play Ranger jackets and I have been working outside with the children to clear out some of the old resources and get organised!

In our OPAL assembly this week we had a few reminders about tidying up, where things go, the adults outside and our wonderful Play Rangers.

With our OPAL mentor Becky coming to see us in February it is full steam ahead!

Our scooters are looking rather depleted as they are so popular. Please think of us if you have any that are surplus to requirements.


On Thursday 25th January we will be hosting our PTA annual general meeting. This meeting will take place in the Conference Room - we 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.

19th January 2024

15th December 2023

8th December 2023

1st December 2023


This week we saw 2G take the trophy in Key Stage 1 with a winning percentage of 97.1%.

In Key Stage 2 it was nearly back-to-back victories for 4S but they could only make second. This week's winners 5BW topped the pile with 97.6%.

Well done to both 2G and 5BW!

Could Caernarfon make it over the 500-point barrier this week and be the first team to do it in 2023-24??? Yes, they could!

However, Caernarfon were not our winners in either KS1 or KS2. In KS2 Windsor was out in first place and for KS2 it was Stirling. congratulations to our Reds and Blues!


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 -