Friars Weekly Newsletter 15th September 2023

Coming up in this edition of the newsletter...

  • OPAL playground mixing
  • Food safety advice regarding small round foods
  • Letters emailed in the week - now appearing as a link in the year group sections!
  • No Coffee Morning next week, returns Tuesday 26th 8:30am.
  • Final reminders about next week's Y1-6 Curriculum Evenings

Our second week back has flown by and it is safe to say that the children have settled back into routines brilliantly. Of course, we have welcomed lots of new children through our doors with a whole cohort of Reception children starting with us as well as some new starters in other year groups. A huge welcome to Friars for every new pupil and every new family this September!

This week has been very significant in that we have seen more year groups mixing at lunchtime as part of our OPAL work. Ms. Taylor-Brown shares more about this in the OPAL section of the newsletter. It has been so lovely to see children of different ages playing alongside one another and to see siblings and friends reuniting on the playground when previously they have been unable to do so with us having separate KS1 and KS2 playgrounds.

Next week we have KS2 cross-country trials taking place before school on both Thursday (Y3/4) and Friday (Y5/6). Thank you for the reply slips. The children will be registered at the KS2 Gate at 8:00am on those mornings. The children who were interested in taking part all brought letters home. Once the team has been chosen, those selected will receive second letters regarding the Southend competition in October. We will also be taking some Year 1 and 2 children to the KS1 competition. Children for the KS1 competition will be identified in PE lessons and those children will also receive letters.

Thank you for sending in your photographs of your children with the 'Herd in the City' elephants. I have personally loved seeing these come in and they will soon be on display in the school. You might know that outside of school I am a keen runner and one morning in August I ran around Leigh, Southend and Shoebury to visit every elephant in one go. We had a lot of fun and even saw Mrs. Dyer and her family at one of the elephants... although she was travelling around by car :-)

Please continue to send your photos in to: herd@fps.porticoacademytrust.co.uk

Last but not least... we have our Curriculum Evenings next week. Year 6 parents and carers, you will have seen that we had to change your time due to an Open Evening at Shoeburyness High. Your meeting is now at 4:30pm. All of the meetings will be held in the KS2 Hall.

  • 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 / 4:30pm Year 6

Have a fantastic weekend!

Mr. Chris McClay, Principal

Food Safety Advice

Just a little reminder that it is highly recommended that, for children 5 and under, small round foods, like grapes, strawberries and cherry tomatoes are cut lengthways and into quarters to avoid choking risks. Choking can occur as children aged 5 and under have smaller airways. Please see the government's guidance at: https://help-for-early-years-providers.education.gov.uk/safeguarding-and-welfare/food-safety. There is no fixed-age for stopping cutting up these small round foods and you might decide to continue to do so after the age of 5.

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


It has been a pleasure welcoming our new Nursery members this week. They have all settled in very well and are learning our Nursery rules. I would also like to say a big shoutout to our returning members as they have been excellent role models for the new children. Lots of fun has been had this week exploring the nursery environment and playing with new toys.


What a busy week! On Monday, the children stayed for lunch for the first time and on Wednesday they did their first full day. They have been learning lots of new rules and routines this week. We have continued to explore the Reception garden in the sunshine and have been singing lots of songs and enjoying stories in the classroom.

Thank you for your patience at hometimes as we become familiar with so many new faces as well as nearly 60 children!

If you would like your child to have milk at school, remember to sign up to Cool Milk if you haven't already done so.

We hope you have a lovely weekend!

Letters home this week (emailed via ParentPay)

Phonics workshop - 13.09.2023

Year 1

This week the children have continued to retell the story of The Little Red Hen using a class story map. We are really impressed with their storytelling skills. In their writing, the children have described the main characters from The Little Red Hen. Our maths work has focused on addition using Numicon to show that two parts make a whole number.

The children had their first Computing and PE sessions this week which went really well. We have a couple of unnamed jumpers and cardigans left in class. If your child is missing one, please ask your child’s class teacher. Please do add names to clothing.

Year 2

This term we are learning about traditional tales in English, which this week included revisiting the story of the ‘Three Little Pigs’. We have used this story to support our grammar lessons in which we have been learning about nouns and adjectives. The children carried out a ‘noun hunt’ around their classroom and had to use an adjective to describe what they found. This linked with our writing task where we described the character of the wolf from this week’s story. Next week, our story is a rather strange alternative version of the ‘Three Little Pigs’ with a real twist in the tail! Hee Hee!

In maths this week we have continued to use different ways to represent two-digit numbers and have explored ways to show our understanding of ‘partitioning’. We have also been learning how to record two-digit numbers to 100 in words.

As part of our science topic, the children have explored the properties of materials and worked collaboratively to sort them using their own ideas, including, hard and soft, rigid and flexible etc.

Comparing toys from the past to those of today really grabbed the children’s interest this week in history. They found it hard to believe that computers didn’t exist when some of our teachers were children!

We now have dance lessons each Monday afternoon which are based upon well-known stories. This week, children really enjoyed exploring movements representing characters from Alice in Wonderland.

The children do not need their PE kit for this lesson, as they just take off their shoes and socks, but earrings must be removed before coming to school.

  • Spellings – New words are stuck into spelling books on Fridays and tested on the following Friday.
  • Homework – Sent home every Friday (big yellow book) and returned to school each Wednesday to be marked.

Many thanks for supporting your child’s learning at home.

Year 3

This week we have been continuing to write descriptively. We have created our own Iron Man settings, describing using our senses. The children have come up with some great adjectives and it has been great to see them using similes too!

In maths, we have continued with place value, partitioning 3-digit numbers, identifying the value of each digit. We also began finding 1, 10 and 100 more and less of 3-digit numbers.

As part of our science topic, ‘Forces and Magnets’, we completed an investigation to see whether different surfaces affect how a pull force is completed. We used force meters to measure the force. We found that it is harder to pull on rough surfaces.

The children have been enthusiastic in history this week. We have explored different threats and assets that hunter-gathers would have faced during the Stone Age period. In PSHE , we have been learning about human rights.

Just a reminder, homework is due in on a Wednesday and spelling tests are completed on a Monday. Please ensure that you practise your spellings and learn the associated spelling pattern so that the children can apply them in their writing.

We look forward to seeing you at our curriculum meeting on Wednesday 20th September.

Year 4

This week we have continued our learning about the Vikings, learning how they lived as a family unit and the jobs that they did... when they weren’t being bloodthirsty raiders.

The English focus was developing the different writing techniques that are needed for good story writing – using the senses, a variety of vocabulary and choosing interesting sentence starters.

In maths, the children are now well used to using the White Rose Maths workbooks and are continuing to embed their understanding of place value alongside that of partitioning.

This week, 4D have taken part in outdoor learning, specifically looking at how art can be created through and using nature and all that it has to offer. It has been a lovely week and we would like to say thank you to Mr. Brady for everything that he does for us. Whilst 4D have been outdoors, 4S having been learning about human teeth, how many sets we have, what we use them for and how we should look after them. Along with learning about grid references in geography and all about families in French, it’s been another busy week.

Maths and English homework will be coming home this week. Please ensure that these books are returned to school each Friday so that the children can go through their completed homework and prepare for the next homework to be brought home.

Year 5

This week, Year 5 have started an English block looking at narrative writing. The children were introduced to the Tiny Crusader animation that will inspire their writing. They have looked at how to introduce characters and settings in a controlled way. Maths has seen us continuing our learning on place value where the students have been reading, writing, ordering and comparing numbers to 1,000,000.

In art, the children transferred hieroglyphs of their names to tea-stained paper, in order to create their bookmarks. Exploring the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb was of great interest to the children in history and they story mapped the key events.

Class 5BW had their first swimming session on Thursday. A big well done to everyone on a successful lesson.

Letters home this week (emailed via ParentPay)

Thriftwood letter - 13.09.2023

Year 6

In English this week, Year 6 have continued to consolidate their understanding of grammar that will be used within their writing in the upcoming weeks. We have focussed on the use of relative clauses, fronted adverbials, prepositional phrases and expanded noun phrases. All of these will assist the pupils in enhancing the levels of description within their written tasks and hook their readers.

We have continued with place value, multiplying and diving by 10, 100 and 1,000 and moved onto the use of number lines with a wide variety of intervals.

The children are enjoying our Layered Reading book, Kensuke’s Kingdom, which is currently reinforcing our geography work that has included examining the land masses and areas of water on the globe.

We looked at ‘Victorian artefacts’ and discussed possible uses for them. The children were very imaginative.

Our research into William Morris has continued. This week, we have looked at his work in detail and incorporated some of his ideas into our own individual design plans.

Letters home this week (emailed via ParentPay)

Isle of Wight letter - 13.09.2023

"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

We came into ‘Colours of Day,’ which we continued to learn and finished with, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny,’ a great song that makes the children contemplate what the world would be like if the grass were blue or the sky was green!

KS2 with Ms. Taylor-Brown

We came and left to this weeks song - Autumn Days.

This classic hymn is one Ms. Taylor-Brown remembers well from her own 80’s childhood at Milton Hall! If you want to practise at home please follow the link and sing along!

Next week we will practise Autumn Days again and move onto another song as we move towards Harvest! So many to choose from - which one will it be?

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


A full and busy week for computing at Friars, starting the week with our Year 1's.

On Monday, they were shown different examples of technology, given their login details and were then asked to navigate the mouse to play typing games. The sooner they learn the keys on the keyboard the more fun computing will be because it takes a while to distinguish between the lower-case letters and capital letters shown on a keyboard.

In the afternoon Year 5 were introduced to the concept of systems and three key terms - input, process and output. We went through a number of examples before they were tasked with designing a talking digital teddy bear in PowerPoint. They had to design different inputs (how they would get the bear to act e.g. by pressing a button), the process - to make the arm move and the output - the bear to raise and wave his right arm.

Year 4 were tasked with learning about networks and after discussing the internet and what it is we looked at how various devices are linked to create a network. Children were then asked to read a number of different email scenarios and to decide whether the “router” should allow them to be passed through or blocked.

In Year 3 children also learned about the terms input, process and output. Before completing different scenarios to determine the output or the process. This is a very abstract concept but by relating it to their mathematical understanding they were able to solve a number of problems.

Year 2 started to identify the various uses and features of technology in the classroom and the environment. They then used Microsoft Word to create a list of what they can use a computer for.

This week Year 6 looked at the importance of internet addresses. This included them being able to identify how a computer uses specific addresses in order to access a website. Furthermore, they were also able to recognise how data is transferred.

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

PE and Sport

The children hit the ground running in PE this week, if you’ll excuse the pun! All year groups have started their netball unit for this term. This week they focused on the three main passes: bounce pass, chest pass and shoulder pass; working in pairs and teams.

Coming up, we have KS2 trials for the upcoming cross-country competition. Any children interested should be sure to return their permissions slips to their class teachers. Mr. McClay talks more about this at the beginning of the newsletter.

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 outside for 4D! Exploring some natural art. I had the chance to nip over and see them in action and must say I was extremely impressed with their focus, not to mention their amazing artistic skills. It was really interesting to see them exploring painting with the paint nature has to offer us! Great work 4D. There really is something so special about working outside- especially on a nice day!

Next week is Outdoor learning for 4S 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 warm they will need a water bottle, hat and sun cream applied before school. Additionally, if they have hayfever 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 4S! 4D really have made a wonderful start to a year of outdoor learning and I look forward to seeing your work too!

Following my plea for any volunteers to help Mr. Brady- I have yet to receive any replies. Please drop me an email etaylorbrown@fps.porticoacademytrust.co.uk

if you have any time to help with a spot of garden maintenance! All help appreciated.

Ms. Taylor-Brown

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Diary Dates


  • Thursday 14th - 5BW Swimming starts
  • Tuesday 19th - 5pm Year 1 Curriculum Meeting / 5:30pm Year 2 Curriculum Meeting - please enter through the KS2 Hall door
  • Wednesday 20th - 5:00pm Year 3 Curriculum Meeting / 5:30pm Year 4 Curriculum Meeting - please enter through the KS2 Hall door
  • Thursday 21st - 8:00am Y3/4 Cross-Country Trials - KS2 Gate (must have returned a slip)
  • 4:30pm Year 6 Curriculum Meeting / 5:00pm Year 5 Curriculum Meeting - please enter through the KS2 Hall door
  • Friday 22nd - 8:00am Y5/6 Cross-Country Trials - KS2 Gate (must have returned a slip)
  • Tuesday 26th - 9:00am Reception Phonics Meeting for parents
  • 2pm Reception phonics for parents
  • Thursday 28th - Swimming 5BW


  • Thursday 5th - Swimming 5BW
  • Friday 6th - 9:00am - KS1 Cross-Country
  • 11:45am - 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 - 5A Swimming starts
  • Friday 3rd - Year 5/6 Boys' Football
  • Thursday 9th - Swimming 5A
  • 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 - Ham & Pineapple Pizza with Baked Jacket Wedges - Margherita Pizza with Baked Jacket Wedges - Jacket Potato with Baked Beans - Chicken Mayonnaise Baguette - Cheese Salad Wrap - Sweetcorn - Chocolate Rice Krispie Cake

Tuesday - Beef Bolognaise with Spaghetti - Vegan Bolognaise with Spaghetti - Jacket Potato with Cheese - Ham Sandwich - Cheese & Tomato Bloomer - Peas - Carrot Cake

Wednesday - Roast Chicken with Roast Potatoes & Gravy - Macaroni & Cheese - Jacket Potato with Salmon Mayonnaise - Tuna Sweetcorn Baguette - Cheese Sandwich - Seasonal Greens - Vanilla Ice Cream

Thursday - Chicken Fajita Wrap - Vegetable & Bean Burrito- Pasta with Roasted Tomato & Basil Sauce - Tuna Mayo Sandwich - Cheese Salad Wrap - Steamed Carrots - Maryland Cookie

Friday - Breaded Fish Fingers - Vegetable & Bean Chimichangas - Pasta with Cheese Sauce - Ham Sandwich - Egg Mayo Baguette - Chips & Baked Beans - Chocolate & Courgette Sponge

Freshly Baked Bread:Freshly Baked Bread: Pesto Bread or Wholemeal Bread

OPAL Update

So, this week OPAL expanded again and we moved to the most year group mixing yet. This has been a huge success by and large and it really is wonderful to see siblings and friends across the age ranges playing together. Mixing in this way is a huge change in culture for our school where traditionally children have always been separated. As always with anything new and different, there will be lessons to be learned along the way - but these will continue to be addressed through our OPAL assemblies where we not only celebrate but remind all children of our expectations.

Thank you to the children who have taken these wonderful photos as I have been tied-up welcoming our new reception children!


Celebration Assembly

The link(s) for our Celebration Assemblies can be found below.

15th September 2023

8th September 2023


Attendance was slightly down on the first week, slipping just below our target of 96% to 95.6%. Let's hope next week is better once again. 5 of our 12 classes achieved 96% or better; well done to 1B, 1MV, 3B, 3KA and 5BW.

In KS1 our attendance winners were 1MV which meant they retained the trophy from last week when they achieved a perfect 100%. In Key Stage 2 it was also a double win for... 3B who walked away with the trophy with the same percentage as the week previous - 99.3%. Keep up the great work 1MV and 3B.

Come on 1B, 2G, 2S, 3KA, 4D, 4S, 5A, 5BW, 6B and 6L... let's see you in the mix next Friday!

Last week we saw Caernarfon come out victorious overall and they were our first leaders of 2023-24. A week on and the picture has changed with a new leader... Windsor! In KS1 Stirling did very well and took the trophy. In KS2 it was a shared affair with both Windsor and Caernarfon at the top.

As we said last Friday it remains very, very early days! 9 points can be closed in just a week. Who will be number 1 next time?


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