Friars Weekly Newsletter 24th November 2023

Coming up in this edition of the newsletter...

  • Christmas is coming...
  • PTA Christmas Fayre information
  • Parking reminder
  • PTA raffle tickets on sale

Well, it is definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas… There has certainly been more Christmas singing around the school this week and I have seen the beginnings of rehearsals for the Christmas performances in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. It won’t be long until we have lots of happy parents and carers watching those productions. Next week sees the start of our Winter Wonderland decoration making sessions – with Year 1 on Thursday afternoon. Year 1 parents and carers received a letter about this earlier. Other year groups will receive their letters next week as the other sessions are not until the following weeks.

It is of course our PTA Christmas Fayre next Friday on Friday 1st December. The PTA and our staff are putting final finishing touches together in readiness. You will remember from the letter on the 1st of November that you can pick the children up early from school at 2:00pm on the day. Please follow your usual end of the day collection arrangements. Children must visit the fayre with an adult. There will be the usual games and hot food in the Key Stage 2 Hall, stall holders in the KS1 Hall, more food, more games… and a special Christmas performance by our choir. The beginning of our fayre is always the busiest time so please do remember that if you like it a little quieter you are welcome to leave and come back a bit later on. The fayre will be up and running until 4:30pm. Where possible, please do bring small change – we also struggle with notes. Thank you.

Any children not collected by 2:10pm will be looked after until the usual home time and will need to be collected at the school office. These children will be able to visit the fayre only when collected by an adult.

Finally, we have not had any new interest for our Parent Council. If you would like to be involved, please email the school office and I will be in touch.

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

Mr. Chris McClay, Principal

Collective Worship and Religious Education Survey

It is still not too late to offer your views on collective worship and RE. If you can spare a few minutes, please complete the survey at: https://forms.office.com/e/dbipgXwuTE


Please do not park on the zigzags outside the school - even if it just for a minute or two. This helps us keep everyone safe. Thank you for your support.

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


Thank you to everyone who came along and joined us for our Stay and Play this week. We introduced how books and props are really important in supporting early literacy skills. With this in mind, we have changed our book area to offer further opportunities for the children to engage with such resources. We have seen a lovely example of this where some of the children were retelling the story of the Gruffalo using the appropriate character toys. They were retelling the story in their own words and saying the repeating sentences together. A great example of early literacy skills.

REMINDER: Our next stay and play is on Wednesday 6th December.

Letters sent out this week


Letters sent out this week

Year 1

1MV enjoyed their outdoor learning sessions this week where the children looked at how roots work, identified evergreen and deciduous trees and toasted marshmallows. 1B have written captions about penguins linked to our class book. In maths, the children have been naming 3D shapes and talking about their properties. All the children know which part they will have in our Christmas play. We hope to see you all on the 12th December!

REMINDER: Our Winter Wonderland decoration afternoon is on Thursday 30th November. We hope to see as many of you as possible at 1:45 for a fun afternoon of craft.

Letters sent out this week

Year 2

Year 2 have been working very hard on their writing skills this week. We have used adjectives and nouns to describe photographs of Shoeburyness in olden times. The children were surprised that some of the houses in the High Street looked so different today, even though they are the same buildings. In maths, we have continued learning how to subtract – crossing a 10. It’s rather tricky, but the children have really impressed us with their perseverance.

We are in full swing learning our songs for our nativity and the children now all have their parts. Full rehearsals start next week. If your child has a speaking part, please help them to learn the words. We are looking forward to sharing this with you in December.

Reminder: A letter will be sent home early next week about costumes for the nativity. We have most of the costumes in school, so it will only be the narrators and stars who will need to provide something from home.

Letters sent out this week

Year 3

Year 3 have been working hard on their maths tests this week, showing off all the wonderful number skills they have been building on so far this year. All the children should feel very proud of themselves! Next week will be the turn of the grammar, spelling and reading tests.

In Science this week, we have been learning about skeletons, as part of our ‘Animals Including Humans’ topic. The children have really enjoyed learning the names of their bones so do ask them about this! We’ve also been using the iPads to support our history learning, finding out more about hillforts in the Iron Age.

It may be only November but we’ve had fun practising our festive year group song, ‘Wombling Merry Christmas’, which we are looking forward to performing for our peers at the Christmas Singalong.

REMINDER: From Monday, we will be sending home spellings weekly, to make it easier for your child to practise before a spelling test the following week.

As the weather is turning colder, please do ensure that your child comes to school with a coat. These, along with hats, scarves and gloves should all be clearly named.

Letters sent out this week

Year 4

This week was the beginning of the NfER tests for Years 3, 4 and 5. These tests enable the children to ‘show off’ their skills and knowledge and allows the class teachers to see the skills that the children have understood well, so that we can focus on the parts that still need to be worked on. In Year 4 this week, the tests focused on English – a comprehension, grammar and punctuation and a spelling test. The children approached these tests with a very sensible attitude and all worked hard to achieve good results. Next week, the focus will be on maths.

The children continue to learn about living things and their habitats. The new program, ‘Developing Experts,’ that Mrs. Snow brought in has really opened the door for the children to experience parts of the planet that they might otherwise not visit and the activities are great. This week, the children learnt how to group animals according to their habitats, be it an ocean, jungle or icy environment. This learning then fed into their art lesson, where they chose a habitat and drew it inside a large bottle.

In geography, the children learnt about the 8 compass points. They already knew about north, south, east and west but they were introduced to north east and north west, south east and south west and in PHSE, the children learnt about what a budget is, why people have budgets and the best way to handle a budget, something that they will definitely have to get used to as they get older!

REMINDER: Please ensure that hats, gloves, coats, scarfs, jumpers and fleeces, any clothing that is often taken off, is very clearly named. If you’ve written names in, please write them in again as the names fade after several washes.

4D should have brought letters home on Friday. As of Monday, they will be leaving school at the end of the day from their outside classroom door. They will continue to arrive and come into school as they always have.

Letters sent out this week

Year 5

This week was the beginning of the NfER tests for Years 3, 4 and 5. These tests enable the children to ‘show off’ their skills and knowledge and allows the class teachers to see the skills that the children have understood well, so that we can focus on the parts that still need to be worked on. In Year 5 this week, the tests focused on English – a comprehension, grammar and punctuation and a spelling test. The children approached these tests with a focused attitude and we look forward to sharing their results. Next week, the focus will be on maths.

During our maths sessions we have continued with fractions and the children have compared and ordered fractions under 1 whole. We have seen great perseverance, particularly with some revision of key areas too.

We have had fun with our DT focus week, where children have been looking at the water transportation system back in Ancient Egypt. They have designed, made and evaluated their own ‘Shaduf’ Children have carefully thought about their prototype and referred to the design criteria.

We have continued our yoga skills where children have been learning move moves focused around strength. The children have really been enjoying practising our year group song of ‘Stop the Cavalry’. I’m sure you’ve heard at home.

Reminder: Please remind children that fidgit spinners are not allowed in school.

Letters sent out this week

Year 6

Year 6 have worked hard on using their powers of persuasion in English this week. We have examined different styles of persuasive writing and discussed how persuasive techniques have been used. The children have used persuasive phrases and complex vocabulary choices during mini topical debates in small groups. We have taken on the role of estate agents to sell unique properties, for example, igloos. We will continue with this genre of writing next week.

In maths we have followed the order of operations and moved onto the topic of fractions.

The children have thoroughly enjoyed beginning to sew their DT cushion covers and had great fun making buzzer circuit games in Science.

REMINDER: Year 6 have Outdoor Learning next week. 6B will have 2 afternoons on the Monday and Tuesday followed by 6L on the Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. The children are expected to wear school uniform tops and appropriate trousers/joggers and footwear as we will be in the environmental garden. The children will need coats as we will be outside for the whole afternoon, regardless of the weather.

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


This week we have been working hard on our computing projects.

On Monday morning the Year 1 children learned a new skill... they can now identify how to make changes to the text: to change the size, the colour, and the font. We discussed reasons for these changes, and we learned how to highlight sentences before editing them to make them look more appealing. Well done Year 1!

In Year 5, we have continued our vector drawings focusing on an aspect of Egyptian times. This week we have worked hard to create more effective drawings by modifying objects in different ways to create a new image and using the zoom tool to add extra details.

On Tuesday, Year 4 used Microsoft Word to type up their scripts for their very own podcasts which will be recorded next week. They had to think about the introduction, the main body of the podcast and the outro. They then thought about the sound effects and background music they wanted to include as well as interview questions. We are looking forward to recording this next week.

In Year 3, the classes had a chance to think about their very own stop frame animation. They used a word document to create a storyboard to plan the beginning, the middle, and the end of their animation. They then needed to decide on the setting and the characters to use the internet to find and save their choices. It is exciting to see them be creative, and we cannot wait to see what they create next week.

On Thursday, Year 2 were asked to think about changes they could make to the photographs they have already taken. They started by identifying the better photos and deleting the unclear ones. They were then shown different tools to use to edit the images focusing on the ‘crop’ tool, the saturation and brightness levels and some explored the use of additional features such as distinct colour modes - sepia, black and white, warm and cool. We have some budding photographers in Year 2 and look forward to sharing some of our photographs with you next week.

This week in Year 6 the children continued using Tinker Cad to create a piece of Friars memorabilia. Some examples were shown from the children from last year and this only added to their excitement. The children learnt to add additional objects and group them to make it easier to position them. We also learned how to ‘punch’ holes into our designs which involved several elements including measurements and accuracy.

Online Safety

Gone are the days of Black Friday only existing in the physical environment of the high street. Now, both this retail landmark and its sister event, Cyber Monday, see deals and discounts displayed across almost every online retailer. These deals also often pop up within in-app purchases too on popular games and services. The frantic dash for the best bargains online, however, also harbours several risks: chiefly, cybercriminals hoping to exploit people’s excitement and hoodwink them out of their hard-earned cash.

This week's guide has some expert pointers on keeping your both your money and your personal information safe while still making the most of the spectacular sales.

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

PE and Sport

This week children have been developing their skills in ‘sportshall athletics’. This has involved plenty of running activities as well as jumping and throwing techniques.

Can I remind children that earrings must not be worn for PE. Please ensure that they can be removed if being worn on your PE day. Tracksuit tops worn on PE days must not have hoods. Thank you for your support.

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

Outdoor Learning

Year 6 have Outdoor Learning next week. 6B will have 2 afternoons on the Monday and Tuesday followed by 6L on the Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. The children are expected to wear school uniform tops and appropriate trousers/joggers and footwear as we will be in the environmental garden. The children will need coats as we will be outside for the whole afternoon, regardless of the weather.

Singing Assemblies

KS1 with Mrs. Dyer

We are continuing to practise and get better at ‘Away in a Manger,’ and ‘It was on a Starry Night.’ The countdown to Christmas has well and truly begun.

KS2 with Ms. Taylor-Brown

This week we came into Nat King Cole and the Christmas Song.

We then practised “We three kings” and talked about the meaning of some of the words and this part of the Christmas Story.

We went out to the brilliant Michael Buble singing “Christmas”!

Follow us on Facebook

Diary Dates


  • Thursday 30th - Swimming 5A
  • Year 1 Winter Wonderland 1:45pm


  • Friday 1st - Maths Story Day
  • PTA Christmas Fayre
  • Monday 4th - Year 3 Winter Wonderland 2:00pm
  • Tuesday 5th - Year 6 Winter Wonderland 2:00pm
  • Wednesday 6th - Reception Nativity
  • Nursery Stay & Play
  • Year 5 Winter Wonderland 2:00pm
  • Thursday 7th - Reception Nativity
  • Swimming 5A
  • Year 4 Winter Wonderland 2:00pm
  • Friday 8th - Year 2 Winter Wonderland 1:45pm
  • Monday 11th - Reception Winter Wonderland 1:45pm
  • Tuesday 12th - Year 1 Christmas play
  • Wednesday 13th - Christmas Jumper Day
  • Nursery Winter Wonderland and Singalong 10:15am
  • 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

Another busy Opal week and great to see our amazing play rangers continuing to step up and be a real help to not only the children but adults too! This week, Mr. Gladdy told me he needed some more sand added to the sandpit - of course our amazing sandpit play rangers Mark and Ralph were only too keen to help and ready to spring into action! Before we knew it the tonne bag was empty and the sandpit even fuller!


Exciting news - raffle tickets will be available from Monday at a price of £1 per strip. Please send money in a named envelope with your child to their class. Tickets can also be purchased from the office or even at the Christmas Fayre! Thank you so much for the donations so far and if you have anything else you can donate or a connection to a local business who would like to help please let us know.

We have got some amazing prizes this year including:

  • A beautiful Chocolate Hamper made by one of our wonderful Reception parents
  • A family ticket to Tower Bridge
  • A £20 Grumpy’s diner voucher

…. and lots more including wine, chocolate, games and even a cuddly toy!

And a massive thank you for coming to the PTA sale- we raised an amazing £259 and 19p!

We are always looking for help and especially as we approach the fayre on 1st December so please please please drop us a line if you can help in any way no matter how small! Friarspa@gmail.com

A reminder that our wheelie bin is in position and ready to receive any donations of second hand uniform! 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.

24th November 2023

3rd November 2023

20th October 2023

13th October 2023


This week’s attendance winners were 1MV in Key Stage 1 and 5BW in Key Stage 2. You will remember that 1MV were very regular winners last half term… could they be back on form?

A 44-point lead sees Caernarfon out in front in the race for the Friars Cup. It is still incredibly tight between the other three teams with only 8 points separating second to fourth. We are not even one-third of the way through the year so it can and likely will all change…

Good luck everyone!


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