Friars Weekly Newsletter 3rd November 2023

Coming up in this edition of the newsletter...

  • Poppies and poppy appeal merchandise on sale
  • Children in Need on Friday 17th November
  • A school appeal about naming children's clothing and checking clothing brought home
  • Online Safety... Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • PTA pre-loved uniform collection and sale

Our first week back has gone at great speed and it has been lovely to see the children again after the holiday. Of course, we finished the last half-term with a storm – Storm Babet and we began this half term with another – Storm Ciaran. This week the school has felt some of the unfortunate effects of weather with some branches breaking off trees overnight and an unfortunate roof leak in 5A. A huge well done to Mrs. Axelson and 5A for moving classrooms on Thursday whilst the leak was remedied. What fun!

On Wednesday, we sent out a letter all about our Christmas events that are coming up. Please do add these to your diaries and expect to hear more about our Christmas plans as we step closer to December. Also this week, our booking system for the Learning Conversation Evenings went live. Please do book an appointment to see your child’s teacher. The evenings are on Wednesday 15th November and Thursday 16th November (except for 5A where it is Tuesday 14th November and Wednesday 15th November).

Poppies and other poppy appeal merchandise are now on sale in school and we will be marking Remembrance with our annual assembly on Friday 10th November. Mrs. Dyer is working with children from across Key Stage 2 to put together this always poignant assembly.

It’s a busy time next week with both girls and boys football competitions amongst many other things. On Tuesday we have two Portico trustees visiting us. Mr. Murkin and Mrs. Gretton visit the school regularly to support the work we do and help make the school the best it can be. On Tuesday Mr. Murkin and Mrs. Gretton will be conducting a ‘learning walk’ exploring maths accompanied by Mrs. Bailey our Maths Leader. The feedback we receive is always very positive and helpful.

Finally, we do like to do our bit for charity and in two weeks’ time it will be Children in Need. On Friday 17th November, we will be asking children and staff to come to school wearing non-uniform. If possible, it would be lovely to see the children wearing spots and if they would like to they can wear Children in Need or Pudsey items. Donations will be collected in classrooms at the start of the day.

Have a lovely weekend everyone and see you all next week!

Mr. Chris McClay, Principal

Collective Worship and Religious Education Survey

We really value your views on things we do in school. Mrs. Witt and Mrs. James our RE Leaders are keen for your feedback once again. If you can spare a few minutes, please complete the survey at: https://forms.office.com/e/dbipgXwuTE

The School Gates

Recently we asked for dogs not to be brought close to our school gates and for any smoking to be away from the school gates too. Please do help us with this as some children are nervous of dogs and we have had reports of children and adults having to walk through smoke when coming into school. Thank you for your support.

Named Clothing

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.

With this in mind, please can we ask too that clothing is checked at home this week to make sure that no items have made it home that do not belong to your child. If you do happen to have something that doesn't belong - please send the item into school and we will reunite it with its owner. Many thanks in advance.

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


We have had lots of fun back in Nursery this week. We noticed that lots of leaves had fallen from the trees and were all over our playground. Children helped sweep them up and then we enjoyed jumping in them.

We also enjoyed creating a large firework picture. We talked about what fireworks look like and the noises that they make.

Letters home this week


Welcome back! We started the week with our Stay and Play sessions. Thank you so much to everyone who came. The children were so excited to show you our classroom and the type of activities that they were doing in the first half term. Later this half term, we will welcome you back again for our Winter Wonderland session. We then hope to hold another Stay and Play session in the spring term. With so many opportunities to come into school, we want to reassure you that you are not expected to attend every session but you are more than welcome too if you can!

We began talking about pets and if spiders might be a good pet...! This, along with Halloween, has inspired many web and spider crafts as well as eagle eyes on the hunt for some potential pets in the garden!

Letters home this week

Year 1

We have had an amazing first week back. The children have been excited to learn about Guy Fawkes and have created some fantastic wanted posters. To draw their pictures, the children used graded art pencils to make different effects. In maths, we have begun to look at subtracting by crossing out pictures. The children were able to listen to the given information and work out how many of the items to cross out before finding the solution to the problems. Well done!

Our science topic this term is plants and how to grow and care for them. The children may wish to discuss how the trees in the area are changing in the autumn.

Please continue to practise reading the tricky words in their reading record books. Don’t forget to tell them to let us know when they are confidently able to read a whole section in and out of order.

Letters home this week

Year 2

What a windy week! This certainly helped our children in English lessons when writing poetry about ‘autumn’. They used adjectives and verbs to create phrases describing the changes we have seen. Here is one of the verses from our class poem written by the children:

Colourful, crispy leaves,

Drifting and scattering,

Making a golden carpet,

On the muddy, soggy ground.

In DT we have started to explore different types of puppets. We will be designing and making our own puppets towards the end of this term.

In science we have investigated whether materials can be stretched, twisted, bent or squashed and recorded our findings using a table of results.

Letters home this week

Year 3

Welcome back to our second half term of the year. What a brilliant start we have had!

This half term we will be immersing ourselves in the world of Roald Dahl, with ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’ as our Layered Reading text. We have also been exploring diary writing this week and can’t wait to apply these skills as the character of George next week!

In maths we have been practising our multiplication skills this week, engaging with a range of methods, such as grouping and arrays.

The children have shown great enthusiasm in science this week as we looked at the food pyramid together, working out where our favourite foods would fit in.

Reminder: Don’t forget that Wednesday is our PE day – earrings MUST be removed on these days.

Letters home this week

Year 4

Welcome back after the half-term break. The weather has become decidedly autumnal. Please consider this when the children are coming to school and ensure that they are wearing warm outdoor clothing particularly on a Tuesday for PE. Please also make sure that all clothing is named. If you are writing names in, please re-write the names if the names fade very quickly.

This term’s topic is Ancient Greece, particularly myths. Greek myths can provide explanations for everything that happens in the world and can still make us think about our own behaviour. This week the children wrote a diary from the perspective of either Athena or Poseidon, looking at the feelings of the two characters and the features of diary writing. We are linking our learning of Ancient Greece to history by creating a timeline from Greek events over the decades and researching and then creating our own Greek vase, using the correct Greek symbols, shapes and colours.

Year 4 have moved on to calculating area by counting squares and understanding why squares, and not circles or triangles are used to calculate area.

Letters home this week

Year 5

This week the children have been investigating square and cubed numbers in maths. They are aware these numbers are to the power of 2 and to the power of 3. They have been making great use of their times table knowledge.

Through English this week we are looking further at non-chronological reports where children are becoming contributors for a children's Encyclopedia on Ancient Egyptian pyramids. Earlier in the week, the children explored relative clauses using the appropriate relative pronoun and punctuation.

We are excited about starting our new topic of 'Space and Earth'. The children have created their own pneumonic to help with their recall of the planets.

Within indoor P.E, the children enjoyed their first Yoga session. Through Music the children have explored improvisation to a jazz melody.

Can we please remind 5A that swimming begins next Thursday. A big well done to the efforts of 5BW with their swimming skills.

Letters home this week

Year 6

Year 6 have begun the second half term of the year with gusto.

Our focus in English has linked to topic on the Victorians as we have researched information, in order to produce a biography, about Nikola Tesla, a scientist and engineer, whose inventions have impacted hugely on lives to this day.

We have focussed on division in maths and discussed and applied our multiplication knowledge to ensure success with the method of division and its application to worded problems.

A polite reminder: Please ensure all children have appropriate clothing for the weather as it appears to have changed rather dramatically this week.

Letters home this week

Whole School - Christmas events - 31.10.2023

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


This half-term each year group is starting their new computing topics and focusing on ‘Creating Media’ using different software and devices. I am looking forward to seeing Year 1 and 5 next week for their introductory lesson.

This week Year 4 started the week learning about ‘podcasts’. They learned about using ‘voice notes’ on the iPads and learning where the microphone is located. They spent time using Microsoft Word to type up a mini-script and then recorded this on the iPads. We then discussed some of the issues we found including the level of background noise and how this affected what we could hear.

On Wednesday the Year 3 classes began learning about stop frame animations when posed with the question can a photograph move. They then used an app ‘Stop Motion’ on the iPads to take a picture of a hand drawn picture on a whiteboard, changing it slightly each time and then playing it to see a ‘stick man waving an arm’. They really enjoyed watching their animations and speeding them up and slowing them down.

On Thursday Year 2 children also used the iPads to learn about taking photographs. Firstly, they explored different devices which captured photographs before they were asked to explore the camera app and take five images including an action shot, a selfie, a person, something in the distance and a close up. Children quickly learned that in order for them to take a ‘good’ photography they needed to make sure they held the device carefully/steadily or the images would be blurry.

We ended the week with Year 6 and some 3D modelling. A unit they are all very excited about after seeing last years 3D models come to life on our 3D printer. This week was spent exploring Tinkercad and learning how to manipulate different tools and shapes in order to create a 3D object (a skill which takes lots of practice).

Online Safety

Artifical intelligence (AI) is a hot topic in technology and the news right now. There are many questions being raised worldwide about how AI might conceivably affect the very future of the human race. With respect to its impact on young people is concerned – the clearest risk is almost certainly the AI-powered ‘virtual friends’ which are springing up all over the internet. The following guide offers you some important informations with this in mind.

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

PE and Sport

This half-term, all classes will be learning about Sports Hall Athletics in PE lessons. The skills will be based on running, jumping and throwing.

Having watched the lessons this week with the weather getting worse, it is important that children wear suitable kit for outdoor sports. Where possible we will continue to run PE sessions outside.

Next week we will be attending both the girls’ football tournament and boys’ football tournament. Good luck to both teams!

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

Outdoor Learning

Great fun for Nursery this week! On Wednesday and Thursday Nursery children had the opportunity to go over to the environmental garden. We saw where Mr. Brady grows the vegetables and we each planted our own onion. We also looked through lots of leaves and picked some to create a collage with!

Next week it is fun in the environment garden with Mr. Brady for our Reception children.

Tuesday and Thursday afternoon will be for Owls class and Wednesday and Friday for Robins.

Please make sure your child comes in on these days dressed for outdoor learning. This means school top, sensible comfy bottoms such as joggers and comfortable sensible shoes that you do not mind getting a bit dirty. If the weather is wet and rainy, please send named wellies too if your child does not have any at school.

Singing Assembly with Ms. Taylor-Brown

KS2 with Ms. Taylor-Brown

This week we came into Back to School again- one of our favourites and we sang the beautiful “We will remember” as we move towards Remembrance Day.

Next week we will start work on our Christmas carols and I will be starting to do a week by week countdown of my favourite ever Christmas pop hits to come into assembly! Maybe you can let me know yours! Which one will be my number one I wonder- as a child of the 80’s I think it will come as no great surprise...

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Diary Dates


  • Monday 6th - Year 5/6 Girls' Football
  • Wednesday 8th - PTA uniform/Christmas Jumper sale
  • Nursery Stay & Play
  • Thursday 9th - 5A Swimming starts
  • Friday 10th - Year 5/6 Boys' Football
  • Monday 13th - Friday 17th - Year 6 SATs practice week
  • Anti-Bullying Week
  • Monday 13th - Odd Sock Day
  • Tuesday 14th - Learning Conversation Evening for 5A
  • Wednesday 15th - Learning Conversations until 7:00pm (all classes)
  • Thursday 16th - Leaning Conversations until 5:30pm (all classes except 5A)
  • Swimming 5A
  • Friday 17th - Children in Need
  • 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 2

Monday - Beef Burger in a Bun with Baked Jacket Wedges - Vegetable Burger in a Bun with Baked Jacket Wedges - Wholewheat Pasta with Arrabiatta Sauce - Cheese Sandwich - Ham Salad Wrap - Carrot Sticks - Lemon Drizzle Sponge

Tuesday - Beef Lasagne - Vegetable Fajita Wrap - Jacket Potato with Cheese - Egg Mayonnaise Sandwich - Cheese Salad Wrap - Sweetcorn - Flapjack

Wednesday - Honey Roast Gammon with Roast Potatoes & Gravy - Ratatouille Pasta Bake - Jacket Potato with Baked Beans - Cheese & Tomato Bloomer - Ham Sandwich - Pan Fried Leeks - Orange Shortbread Biscuit

Thursday - Chicken Tikka Masala & Rice - Vegetable Pasanda with Rice - Pasta with Tomato & Vegetable Sauce - Cheese Sandwich - Chicken Mayonnaise Baguette - Broccoli - Apple Crumble with Custard

Friday - Breaded Fish Fingers - Spiced Squash & Spinach Samosa - Pasta with Cheese Sauce - Egg Mayonnaise Sandwich - Ham Salad Baguette - Chips & Baked Beans - Apple & Parsnip Cake

Freshly Baked Bread: Tomato & Herb Bread or Wholemeal Bread

OPAL Update

Windy, wild weather this week! The children have come back to school excited about OPAL. A little reminder to start the half term about our OPAL expectations which the children know well. Also this week we had news that our new huge shed will be arriving to be built next week. Watch this space.

Once again, apologies to our budding play rangers. School has been so busy this week my feet have not touched the ground but I promise I haven’t forgotten you all! Interviews will take place as soon as I have a moment!


Sadly, we have had to cancel our Christmas shopping event on Friday 17th November. Of course, it is still full steam ahead for our Christmas Fayre - so please get involved and help however you can. If you have any time to spare, please reach out to the PTA to offer any help as we get ready for the big day. Equally if you have any connections who can help with raffle prizes please let us know.

if you are looking for uniform, Christmas jumpers or even some books for home please come along to the KS1 hall next week to this great event!

And finally - the wheelie bin is in position and ready to receive any donations of second hand uniform! Thank you to those children who drew pictures! 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

29th September 2023


Only a four-day week for the children which saw wins for 1B in Key Stage 1 and 4D in Key Stage 2. Congratulations to both classes! Attendance for the whole school sat just under 95%. Let’s do our best to be above 96%, our school target, next week…

Caernarfon still lead after this week’s points were added… a double-win in both KS1 and KS2 was certainly helpful for the yellows! The prize was actually shared in KS2 with Stirling, so well done too to our blues.

Good luck everyone for next week.


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