Friars Weekly Newsletter 29th September 2023

Coming up in this edition of the newsletter...

  • Update on our recent building works
  • Extended Schools Message
  • Year 5 Swimming Update in the Year 5 section
  • XC Competition reminder in the PE and Sport section

We are closing in on the end of September and when we return on Monday it is October… how did that happen so quickly?!

It has been another lovely week at Friars with the usual level of busyness that we expect! This week saw our second School Council meeting of the year on Monday, parent phonics workshops for Reception on Tuesday as well as all of the typical Friars’ fun. A big thank you to those of you who attended Miss Goodwin’s phonics workshops. We really value these opportunities to keep you informed about the children’s learning and provide advice about how to best support them.

Our building works have finished and we now have two newly revamped spaces to use. Firstly, we have our new classroom which was the old bistro. This is now a great learning space.

Secondly, the old maths room is now… the new bistro… and wow! We are so happy with how it has turned out. There is some electrical work needed during the October half-term but it will be fully operational when we return.

Extended Schools - From Monday, Extended Schools will be based in the new bistro (where it used to be last year). Please collect your children from the bistro at the front of the school building along from the office. Thank you.

Have a great weekend everyone - it looks to be a lovely sunny one. See you all on Monday.

Mr. Chris McClay, Principal

Uniform Expectations

Over the past weeks we have seen some children with long untied hair or pupils wearing oversized bands and bows of different colours and patterns. Just reminders that if your child has long hair it must be tied back during the school day and that we ask for a small band/bow of plain colour.

Please keep those lovely, fancy hair accessories for evenings and weekends.

For all of our uniform guidance please see the school website at: https://www.friarsprimary.co.uk/uniform.

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


In Nursery this week, the children have enjoyed exploring the loose parts. Using crates, tyres and a range of loose parts the children have made cars, trains and fire engines. Alongside this play we have encouraged the children to think about road and fire safety. The children enjoyed dressing up and writing out train tickets to support their play. We have also continued modelling how to use the PE equipment in the playground. Children have made obstacle courses to climb on, over and through.

Reminder: Please remember that bottles are to be filled with drinking water only.


In Reception this week we have continued our phonics journey learning ‘p’, ‘n’, ‘m’ and ‘d’. We have begun blending simple words using the letters learnt so far and have encouraged children to blend and segment (read and write) simple words. We are continuing to embed rules for the garden and classroom that keep us all happy and safe and encouraging building new friendships through circle times and guided play. We have also briefly introduced Harvest and Sukkot, building Sukkahs, singing the dingle dangle scarecrow and making paper apples. We’ll continue this theme next week.

Reminders: Please remember that bottles are to be filled with drinking water only.

Please leave toys at home to avoid them being lost, broken or borrowed by other children.

Year 1

This week we have shared the story of Grace and Family. We described how Grace looks as well as her personality. The children have discussed their own families and understand that all families are different.

In maths we have been finding different ways to make a total, using two parts (numbers) to make the whole. Next week we will continue looking at families. If possible, please email a photo of your child from when they were a baby to: Year1@fps.porticoacademytrust.co.uk

Reminders: Please ensure that your children’s jumpers are clearly labelled.

PE days – All children have PE on Monday and should come to school in their PE kits. Indoor PE: 1B have their session on Thursdays and 1MV on Fridays. Please ensure all earrings are taken out on these days.

Year 2

A wonderful week in Year 2. In English, we started the week with an extended write, where the children had the opportunity to show off how fabulous their writing is becoming. We focused on character descriptions and looked at the Big Bad Wolf! We focused on using adjectives to describe our noun. In our grammar lesson, we learned about verbs and took note of some useful verbs in our books. For the rest of the week, we planned and wrote our own traditional tale, using the Three Little Pigs as inspiration. We had the Three Little Monsters in 2S, and the Three Little Dragons in 2G! Some children challenged themselves to create their own characters and write more independently.

In maths we have continued our learning on place value and this week we looked at ordering and comparing numbers and objects. We used the >, < and = signs to compare and order numbers and this also helped further our understanding of place value up to 100. We ended the week with focus on counting in 2s, 5s, 10s and 3s, which we will continue to consolidate over the course of this year!

In topic, 2S have looked at the Good Samaritan in RE and the message behind it. In history, we looked at comparing old and new toys and it has been wonderful to see how many children brought in their grandparent/parent/carer interviews for homework to help us further compare how entertainment and other elements of life have changed over the years. In science, we had great fun investigating if a material is waterproof or not!

2G have had a wonderful week with Mr. Brady in the environmental garden for their outdoor learning, learning about firefighters, fire safety, exploring the gardens and having a blast around the campfire with songs and marshmallows!

Reminders: Next week, 2S will have their outdoor learning. The children can wear different bottoms and shoes to school, but please remain in school uniform on the top half. Please send children in dressed for the weather daily.

Please continue to practise reading their phonics books and works in their reading records each week, as well as their spelling homework in their small yellow books.

Year 3

We’ve had a great week in Year 3. In English, we continued to look at inverted commas and dialogue. We revised the rules needed to put inverted commas around speech as this can be a tricky concept. We are certainly showing a better understanding of this! Towards the end of the week, we completed our extended write which was a dialogue between two characters from our Layered Reading text ‘The Iron Man’. The children enjoyed pretending to be the characters too.

In maths this week, we have been focussed on adding ones, tens and hundreds from three-digit numbers, using our knowledge of place value to help. We also have been completing problems which require spotting and explaining patterns.

In history this week, the children enjoyed learning about life in the Stone Age. We explored different types of homes, comparing them to what homes are like now. We also explored some of the evidence that tells us what life was like. We know the children are keen to learn about Skara Brae which will be further explored for homework. In science, we investigated magnetic materials. The children enjoyed testing different objects in the class, before concluding that some metals are magnetic. In PSHE, we discussed stereotypes, challenging gender stereotypes in particular. In RE, we started learning about the Christian faith and recognising that there are also other faiths too.

Reminders: This week the focussed spelling pattern is ‘i’ spelt with ‘y’ (gym). Please practise the weekly spellings ready for our spelling test on Monday.

Year 4

In English this week, the children revised the features of a formal letter including the type of language that should be used. They wrote to Mr. McClay suggesting some different initiatives that could make Friars an even better school than it is already is – more clubs or a snack bar. In layered reading, the children learnt that Hiccup and his peers only just made it out of the cavern and were thankfully not eaten by the 3000 hibernating dragons, when one of the boys sneezed and woke them all up!

In maths, the children are rounding to the nearest 10, 100 or 1000. The White Rose visual presentations really helped them to visualise if they should be rounding up or down and to which multiple of 10, 100 or 1000.

The children learnt to write using Viking symbols, revised the Zones of Regulation and researched Viking broaches – what they looked like and how they were made – ready for when they make their own.

Year 5

This week in English, Year 5 have been revising the features of a newspaper article. On Wednesday, the children wrote an orientation based on the disappearance of Rapunzel.

Maths, has seen the children working on formal written methods of addition and subtraction. Some learners were so enthusiastic that they wanted to continue their learning at lunch time.

History was particularly fun as the year group made Top Trump cards for the Ancient Egyptian God and Goddesses. In RE, on Wednesday, the children discussed why some people belong to a religion. They formulated questions that will be posed to our visitor, David Mayne, next week on Tuesday.

It has been another great week of learning for Year 5.

Swimming - Last week, 5BW were unable to swim due to a filter problem at the Hamstel pool. As a result, 5BW will swim for one week longer than planned and 5A’s swimming will begin a week later. 5BW will now swim until Thursday 2nd November with 5A beginning on Thursday 9th November. Thank you.

Year 6

We want to say a big well done to all Year 6 students this week. We have looked at examples of previous SATs papers to familiarise children with what they look like and the timing of each of the individual papers. Everyone has worked extremely hard and demonstrated their resilience and perseverance despite finding things a little tricky at different points.

We have continued to enjoy our Layered Reading book, Kensuke’s Kingdom and discussing how the key characters feel and why they behave in the ways described within the text.

In topic work, we have imagined ourselves to be Phineas Fogg, the Victorian adventurer, who visited many locations within the British Empire. We described some of the amazing creatures he would have seen and the surroundings he would have found himself in.

In PSHE, we have displayed our understanding of stereotypes and how we perceive one another in society. We have realised that the judgements we make can impact hugely on our behaviour and our emotional well-being.

We are almost ready to produce printing tiles which will become the front of our cushions that we are making as our DT project.

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


It has been another busy week in computing this week, where some year groups have continued to focus on ‘systems and networks’, whereas others have started to expand their understanding of being safe online.

Year 1 children started the week using the Paintz.app to practise not only their mouse skills but we also spent some time this week using the text option and adding labels to our pictures of animals we may see at the farm.

Year 5 spent the afternoon learning about the history of the internet and examined how the numbers of websites has grown over the years. They were then asked to identify the difference between different search terms, dogs, then black dogs, then black Labrador dogs. We discussed how search results are ranked using web crawlers and how this affects the order of results. The task following this included challenging students to search for the Ancient Egyptians to find the lowest possible number of results.

On Tuesday Year 4 was asked to explore the CBBC website to determine some of the features and types of media included on a website. We discussed some of the important features needed for different types of websites, for example links to other pages, videos, text and or images etc. Furthermore, they used Chrome Music Lab to create a piece of music to show how this type of media can be used on a website.

Year 3 children developed their understanding of staying safe online. They watched a video about sharing videos or pictures online and the difference between posting them to friends and family and making them public. In addition to these discussions the children also started to create an informative PowerPoint about staying safe online.

On Thursday Year 2 continued to develop their understanding of being safe online, this week we looked at the importance of talking to trusted adults if we are worried or concerned about something as well as never giving away personal information to strangers. In addition to this we continued to practice our typing skills using the assessment tool. Well done Year 2!

Year 6 finished the week by continuing to research the ‘Victorians’ topic and now they have been set into small groups they worked out the different elements they wanted to include on their PowerPoint presentation and therefore spent the afternoon researching key ideas and facts to include in their collaborative presentation.

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

PE and Sport

It has been great to see so many children getting involved in sports in different ways. ‘Fun Football’ and ‘Cross-Country’ are up and running and preparations are underway for some training before the Cross-Country event next week. If your child was selected they need to attend the training sessions on Monday and Wednesday at 8:00am. You will have received a letter about this. The children must be wearing their PE kit and have had breakfast.

PE Kit - A reminder that PE kit should only be worn on your child's PE day - or if they have been selected to take part in a sports event. It important that the children wear the correct PE kit: www.friarsprimary.co.uk/uniform

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 2G - exploring the importance of fire safety inside and out.

2S will have their outdoor learning sessions in the week beginning 2nd October. The sessions will take place on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Remember to come dressed for whatever the weather in school top half and comfortable sensible bottom halves and footwear!

Singing Assemblies with Mrs. Dyer and Ms. Taylor-Brown

KS2 with Ms. Taylor-Brown

This week we came into Solo by Blanka - it was a Eurovision song chosen by one of our children! I was really impressed that the children knew about Eurovision!

Have a listen here:

We practised Autumn Days again ready for our Harvest Festival assembly- please start looking in your cupboards for those unneeded tins and packets to help us build our donation!

Practice the song here:

And then a little bit of motivational Moana - How far I’ll go.

I then reinforced the 'zones of regulation' we are using with the children as I know that sometimes we can leave our singing assemblies a bit excited and wiggly - or is that just me! The children recognised that after lots of high energy singing, we may well be in the yellow zone and need to be back in the green to be ready to learn. To help us get there we did some breathing together and listened to this beautiful song that helps me get ready for the day every morning! I hope you like it!

If your child has any calming songs- please tell them to come and put a request slip in my post box- I would love to build a green zone play list!

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Diary Dates


  • Thursday 5th - Swimming 5BW
  • Friday 6th - 9:30am start - KS1 Cross-Country
  • 112:30pm start - KS2 Cross-Country
  • Monday 9th - Flu immunisation
  • Wednesday 11th - Panathalon 10-pin bowling
  • Thursday 12th - Swimming 5BW
  • Tuesday 17th - Individual photos
  • Friday 20th - Year 5/6 Girls' Football
  • Monday 23rd - Friday 27th - Half Term
  • Monday 30th - INSET Day


  • Wednesday 1st - Year 6 height & weight screening
  • Thursday 2nd - 5BW Swimming final session
  • Friday 3rd - Year 5/6 Boys' Football
  • Thursday 9th - 5A Swimming starts
  • Friday 10th - Maths Story Day
  • Wednesday 15th - Learning Conversations
  • Thursday 16th - Leaning Conversations
  • Friday 17th - Children in Need
  • Wednesday 22nd - Year 5/6 Dodgeball
  • Thursday 23rd - Swimming 5A
  • Wednesday 29th - Boccia
  • New Age Kurling
  • Thursday 30th - Swimming 5A

2023/24 INSET DAYS

  • 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 - Pasta with Cheese Sauce - Ham Salad Wrap -Cheese & Tomato Bloomer - Peas - Apple & Carrot Flapjack

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


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

Well everyone - another wonderful week. It really is a joy to see our children so settled, happy and engaged. The children are getting more and more confident with the resources and especially the wooden blocks. This week a group of children made this wonderful toy shop!

This bridge was also brilliant and Mr. McClay could not resist testing it out!

Despite all the play its also lovely to see the children engaging with nature. These girls found a little ladybird this week and were concerned it wasn’t flying away so we thought about where we could put it safely away from stamping feet!

I am being asked by the children about the next round of play rangers- apologies for the delays with this- I will get onto it over the next couple of weeks.

This week Mr. McClay also attended an OPAL conference - so I am really looking forward to hearing about his thoughts and what we need to do next!

Donation wise - we are pretty good for toys now, but we are always looking for:

  • Scooters
  • Booster seats
  • Handbags and back packs
  • Barbie dolls and clothes
  • Baby dolls and clothes
  • Art materials for our coming soon art area: colouring books, puzzle books etc.


We are still looking for drawings of children in their uniforms on A5 paper to put on our Uniform collection bin. If your child is feeling a bit artistic, please send their drawings my way!

Also, exciting news- a new event coming this November! We are looking for anyone who might like a stall at this wonderful festive event! If you have a small business or know someone who does- please get in touch! Spaces are limited!

Celebration Assembly

The links for our Celebration Assemblies can be found below.

29th September 2023

22nd September 2023

15th September 2023

8th September 2023


Attendance was the lowest it has been in the first four weeks at 91%. This is far below our 96% target. We know that there have been a few colds, coughs and other things going around so let’s cross our fingers that everyone is better next week.

Our winning classes this week were 1MV and 3KA, with both classes achieving 95.7%. Amazingly 1MV have won the trophy every week so far… 4 consecutive weeks! We don’t think this has ever happened before. A massive congratulations to 1MV! Come on 1B, 2G and 2S… can you topple them next week?

Caernarfon had a narrow lead last week but they have extended their advantage over the past 5 school days. It will be important that Windsor, Stormont and Stirling prevent Caernarfon from building up too much of an early lead. 14 points is still a very small margin but our yellow team definitely need to be watched carefully…!


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