Friars Weekly Newsletter 8th September 2023

Coming up in this edition of the newsletter...

  • Updates on what has been an exciting first week.
  • A reminder about after-school clubs.
  • A reminder about our upcoming Curriculum Evenings.
  • Year 4 Outdoor Learning in both the Year 4 and Outdoor Learning sections.
  • Secondary School Admissions for 2024 in the Year 6 section.

Well, what an excellent start to our new school year. It probably seems like we say the same thing each September… and we probably do... but the way the children have settled back into school life has really impressed all of us. Well done everyone!

The weather, as it often is for the first week back, has been glorious! Perhaps a little too hot for some but we have all managed to get through it with a smile. Please do be reassured that during warmer spells we encourage the children to take things easier when they are outside, to spend time in the shade if they are feeling overly hot and to drink plenty of water. Next week the weather cools and we might even see some rain once again.

Earlier in the week you would have seen my message around road crossings and dogs. Just a reminder please to speak with your child about using the underpasses or crossing patrol and to avoid bringing dogs close to the school gates. Thank you.

We are happy that our after-school clubs start next week and you will have received a message yesterday if your child has a place. I am delighted that these clubs continue to be free to attend and that we have 97 children across Years 1 to 6 with places for the autumn. We will be introducing other clubs too in future weeks.

Over the next few weeks, we will begin sharing important dates for the year for the events and special days we will be hosting – please watch this space. Don’t forget that we have our Curriculum Evenings very soon:

Tuesday 19th September: 5pm Year 1 / 5:30pm Year 2

Wednesday 20th September: 5pm Year 3 / 5:30pm Year 4

Thursday 21st September: 5pm Year 5 / 5:30pm Year 6

Over the summer, I know many of us enjoyed following the 'Herd in the City' around Southend. If you have any photographs of your child with the elephants we would love to see them and use them for a new school display… please email photos to herd@fps.porticoacademytrust.co.uk. Our own elephant returns to us in three week's time.

I hope you have a fantastic, sunny weekend!

Mr. Chris McClay, Principal

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


A quiet start to our term in Nursery with our children not starting to return until late in the week. We have been very busy getting out and about to visit our new friends on home visits, making sure the nursery is looking its best as we get ready for another year of play! It was wonderful to welcome new friends for our 'stay and play' sessions, and to welcome returning friends too! Cannot wait until next week when our adventures really can start!


The reception children have been in for the first time this week. They have settled beautifully each day and have been learning our routines and meeting new friends. Well done to children and families for remembering so many new things.

We are all looking forward to a fun-filled happy term ahead.

Please remember all children need to bring a named water bottle and in this hot weather please apply suncream before coming to school.

Year 1

It has been a wonderful week in Year 1. The children look very smart, they have settled into their new classes and been very keen to learn. Throughout the week, we have re-told the story of The Little Red Hen, with the children writing a sentence about the story. In maths, we have focused on numbers, counting and writing numerals up to 10. Our main PE day is Monday. The children will need to come to school in their PE kits each Monday and have any earrings taken out. 1B have indoor PE on a Thursday afternoon and 1MV have their indoor PE session on a Friday afternoon but the children do not need to have PE kits on those days. It is essential that each child has a water bottle in school each day especially as the weather is forecast to be hot for a while.

Year 2

A wonderful welcome back to school for Year 2!

We have settled into school very quickly and the children have been working so hard in all areas of the curriculum already. We have been practising writing numbers in numerals and words in maths, counting to 20, and counting in tens to 100! The children have begun to demonstrate their understanding of place value by showing how many tens and how many ones make up a number to 100.

In English, we have been re-telling the story of the Cautious Caterpillar and practising writing in full sentences with capital letters and full stops, as well as adding some adjectives to describe our characters.

In other areas, we have begun to look at old and new toys in history, learning a new song in music, studying materials in science and families and communities in PSHE.


  • PE for the children in Year 2 will be on a Thursday. Please ensure the children come in with their kit.
  • The children will have brought home their reading folders on Wednesday – and each following Wednesday they will bring home a new ‘Big Cat’ phonics reading book. Please hear your child read, and mark in the reading record when you do so. Please also ensure that these reading folders are brought back in to school each day for us to continue to hear them read too. Inside these reading records, there is also information on Key Words and their ‘Rainbow Reader’ record sheet. Stickers will be awarded for each section completed on Rainbow Readers and certificates handed out for those who learn all of their Key Words.

We can’t wait for next week!

Year 3

We have loved welcoming back the children into Year 3 this week. They have done themselves proud and have behaved impeccably throughout the school day. In our English lessons this week we introduced them to a new spelling format. We have started to read a book called The Iron Man (unfortunately for some, it’s not the Marvel character!) written by Ted Hughes. We started by predicting what we thought the book was about and reading the first chapter. By the end of the week we wrote some character descriptions based on the book’s Iron Man and then based on our own character. During maths, we have been recapping and looking at place value. We have been lucky enough to get some new workbooks which are very bright and engaging, needless to say we are loving using these. In science we have been looking at forces such as pushes and pulls. We thought about what actions we took such as being pushed on the swing or zipping up a coat and whether it was a push or pull force. To end the week we learnt about shading in art and how it can give a drawn object a 3D feel.

REMINDERS: Spelling tests will now be on a Monday morning, PE is on a Wednesday afternoon (please ensure earrings are taken out on the day) and times tables test are on a Friday. Homework will be sent out on a Friday and it will be due back on the following Wednesday.

Year 4

It was lovely to have so many of the children arrive at school feeling confident with big smiles on their faces on Monday and hear all about their wonderful summers.

We hit the ground running on Monday in English with a comprehension all about this half-term’s topic, ‘The Vikings.’ We learnt how they travelled to England, where they came from and began to learn about what sort of people they were.

In maths, we began using our new White Rose Maths resources which the whole school is using. Year 4 have been working on place value and partitioning numbers, embedding those skills from Year 3 and building on them in Year 4. We will be doing lots of times table work this year, starting off with revising the x3 and x4 tables up to 12 times the number. There will be a test each Friday after we have been learning them all week in class. It would be helpful if the children could also be practising their times tables at home, using TT Rockstars, Hit the Button or just repeating them.

Science has started with studying the human digestive system, learning about the different parts of the body that are involved in this process.

Spellings will be sent on Friday and learnt for the spelling test the following Friday. Please do ask your children what spellings they have to learn.

Year 4 have PE on a Tuesday. Please ensure that your children are not wearing any jewellery and they should be wearing appropriate school PE kit – PE tops should be Friars tops.

Over the next two weeks, Year 4 has outdoor learning. 4D will be starting on Monday 11th September and 4S, the 18th. Children should be wearing their Friars tops but can wear jeans or joggers and sensible footwear.

Here’s to the beginning of another fantastic year.

Year 5

Firstly, welcome to Year 5! We have started the term in English with descriptive writing. The students have been using figurative language to describe a variety of settings. In maths, we first looked at Roman numerals and moved on to understanding place value with numbers up to 1,000,000. Geography, saw the start of our Ancient Egypt topic. The pupils located Egypt and studied its geographical features. We also began our layered reading text, Alex Ryder Stormbreaker.

A reminder that the first swimming lesson for 5BW takes place next week, Thursday 14th September. Please make payment contributions on ParentPay. Children must have a swimming hat, as well as a towel and swimming costume/trunks.

Year 6

It has been lovely to welcome all of the Year 6 children back to school this week. Everyone has returned with a positive attitude to their learning and has made a good start to the year.

Our focus in maths has been place value: identifying the value of partitioned numbers; ordering numbers and comparing them and reading and writing numbers up to ten million.

In English we have been revising basic grammar and punctuation so that when we begin our narrative writing we can include many of the essential pieces of punctuation necessary whilst engaging our audience using a variety of sentence styles.

The children have been introduced to their new topic of the Victorians. We have had a fantastic 'hook day', where the children were transported back to a Victorian school and experienced what it would be like to be a pupil at this time. We even had a school inspector ( our own Ms. Taylor-Brown) appear. We have also found out about William Morris, a Victorian artist, who is going to be the inspiration for our upcoming DT project.

All in all, the first week has been a great success and we are looking forward to returning next week.

Please note that applications for secondary school admission are now open. the closing date is October 31st 2023. www.southend.gov.uk/school-admissions/secondary-school-admissions

"Our singing assemblies are great...I love that we get to choose some of our own songs" - Year 3 child.

Singing assemblies with Ms Taylor-Brown and Mrs. Dyer

KS1 with Mrs Dyer

It was lovely to begin singing assembly with KS1 this week. Year 2 remembered the songs that they learnt last year very well and I am sure that Year 1 will pick them up very quickly because of this.

We started the assembly with 'Who's the King of the Jungle,' and we ended learning a lovely autumnal song, 'Colours of Day.'

KS2 with Ms Taylor-Brown

This week after I discovered a long list of requests from Etty, I decided one of her choices was the perfect song to start our new year. This song then got me thinking about other Disney songs and how inspiring they can be. So here is this week's music- please check it out at home too! I showed the children some images of various Disney and Pixar films and asked them to name the inspirational song from each one. Of course, they knew all the answers. We also learned that one of our favourites “The climb” by Miley Cyrus is a Disney song too!

We came into Ettys’ choice “I can go the distance” from Hercules

We sang the brilliant “Try Anything” by Shakira from Zootopia

We left to “How far I’ll go!” from Moana.

Next week we will practise one of my favourite autumn songs which takes me back to my 80’s childhood! Grown-ups reading might be able to guess it from this lyric

“Jet planes meeting in the air to be refuelled…”

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


Welcome back to a new academic year of computing and I am looking forward to another fun, creative and innovative year with year groups 1 to 6.

This week has entailed children settling back in, remembering logins, recapping the rules and continuing to learn about keeping safe online. Next week we will begin exploring networks and systems and how these connections work within technology and our school.

Year 5 kicked off the year in the computing suite learning about the term “Phishing”. After exploring our own ideas of the term, they were shocked to learn this was not the ‘sport’. Students had time to play a game - The Phisherman where they were faced with reallife scenarios to determine what and how they should behave in different situations online

On Tuesday, Year 4 began the lesson thinking about consent and permissions. After discussions of different scenarios when and when not to use other people’s work, they were also challenged to learn about the term “Phishing”. This is such a common issue when online and imperative we always stay vigilant and up to date with relevant information.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Years 3 and 2 developed their understanding of consent. We started by identifying different types of technology we use and what they can be used for example taking and editing pictures, watching movies, listening to music and we discussed when it is permitted to share these with others in a safe way.

Year 6 expanded their understanding of keeping information safe and private and gave examples of how to ensure our usernames and passwords are reliable. They learned about ‘phishing’ and was given different scenarios to show how this can affect us.

I am very excited to say, Year 1 students will have their first official lesson next Monday.

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


PE started for most year groups this week and will be back in full swing next week. Mr. McClay and Mr. Leggett, who is the school's new PE Leader, went to a Southend meeting on Thursday evening to find out more about sport happening across the borough this year. We hope as usual to take part in lots of competitions with other schools. Each year we experience growing success and we plan to build on this in 2023-24.

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

Outdoor Learning

Well, this term I have added another hat to my collection - and it fits perfectly with OPAL! This year I am working with the wonderful Mr. Brady on leading our outdoor learning.

This week Mr. Brady has been very busy reclaiming the garden after a summer without anyone to keep it neat and tidy. I spent time with him finding out about the learning that lies ahead for all of our classes, thinking of ways to develop the area even further.

Managing this area, keeping it organised and tidy really is a mammoth task. We will be looking for any volunteers who would be happy to give some time to come and help out. So, if you enjoy gardening, nature or even a bit of DIY - please let me know. Parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles all warmly welcomed! If you are interested drop me a line etaylorbrown@fps.porticoacademytrust.co.uk – we’d love to have you onboard!

Next week is Outdoor learning for 4D every day except for their PE day on Tuesday. Please send them in school tops and sensible bottom halves ready for whatever the weather. Of course, if it’s still hot they will need a water bottle, hat and sun cream applied before school. Additionally, if they have hay fever please make sure they have any medicine in the morning before school.

I am really looking forward to getting outside to join in one of the lessons with you 4D!

Ms. Taylor-Brown

Diary Dates


  • Thursday 14th September - 5BW Swimming starts
  • Tuesday 19th September - 5pm Year 1 Curriculum Meeting / 5:30pm Year 2 Curriculum Meeting - please enter through the KS2 Hall door
  • Wednesday 20th September - 5pm Year 3 Curriculum Meeting / 5:30pm Year 4 Curriculum Meeting - please enter through the KS2 Hall door
  • Thursday 21st September - 4:30pm Year 6 Curriculum Meeting / 5pm Year 5 Curriculum Meeting - please enter through the KS2 Hall door


  • Monday 9th - Flu immunisation
  • Tuesday 17th - Individual photos
  • Monday 23rd - Friday 27th - Half Term
  • Monday 30th - INSET Day


  • Wednesday 1st - Year 6 height & weight screening
  • Thursday 2nd - 5A Swimming starts
  • Friday 17th - Children in Need

2023/24 INSET DAYS

  • Friday 1st September 2023
  • Monday 30th October 2023
  • 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 Ve Pasta with Cheese Sauce - Ham Salad Wrap -Cheese & Tomato Bloomer

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

A great start back to OPAL and we are getting ready to move things forward again with even more mixing! I will be revealing more in my OPAL assembly on Monday. It is such a joy to see the children thoroughly enjoying playing together. Our new year ones have settled into OPAL.

Next week I really do need to tackle the shed which is overflowing with loose parts!

Thank you to the children who have helped me by taking lots of photos this week - have a look and see what we have been up to. I am not sure who donated the brilliant stick and ball construction toy- please drop me a line if it was you! The children absolutely adore using this resource!

It’s also been brilliant to see some of the children returning to their play every day - I loved watching some of our wonderful girls working hard to setting up their picnic all week! Returning to it day after day and adding a little more each time!

Things we are looking for:

  • Scooters
  • Booster car seats
  • Tablets or Ipads which still can connect to the internet
  • Poppits
  • Barbies/action men

Thank you as always

Ms. Taylor-Brown


Celebration Assembly

Links to our Celebration Assemblies will be appearing in this section from next week.

8th September 2023


Attendance was very good across the school in this first week with 7 of our 12 classes achieving 96% or better. This meant that overall for the whole school we were above 96%! 96% is our school's target!

The best attendance was achieved by 1MV with a perfect 100%. In Key Stage 2 it was 3B who walked away with the trophy with 99.3%. Great job 1MV and 3B!

Back at the end of last academic year the Friars Cup was presented to Stirling. Stirling had led for a long time but their gap narrowed significantly after the sports day… showing that the Friars Cup is always there to play for right up to the end of the year.

Each September we obviously start again with a blank scoreboard and this week there has been a flurry of points… and that has seen Caernarfon take a very early lead. Last year’s winners Stirling are in a surprising 4th place. However, it is very, very early days!

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