Friars Weekly Newsletter 13th October 2023

Coming up in this edition of the newsletter...

  • A reminder about the school's approach to coughs and colds and COVID-19.
  • Sports updates for both cross-country and ten-pin bowling

A very full penultimate week before the half-term break! On Monday we had a lovely visit from Becky who is our OPAL Mentor. Becky was pleased with our progress so far and gave us some tips for the future. Mrs. Bennett explains more in her OPAL section of the newsletter. We also had a team attend a ten-pin bowling competition which proved great fun. The sports report for this and the cross-country competition from last week can be found further on...

Pleasingly our attendance continued to improve this week and we were back above 95% for the whole school.

As we enter the colder months when coughs and colds usually emerge, we wanted to clarify the school's approach to COVID-19.

In line with NHS guidance, we recommend that children stay home from school if they have a high temperature or feel too unwell to carry out their normal routine. Once they are better, they should return to school. If your child has mild symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat or mild cough, and they feel well enough, they can come to school.

Children and adults are no longer required to do a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test if they have symptoms.

However, if a child has a positive COVID-19 test result, NHS guidance suggests they should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 3 days after the day they took the test, if they can. After 3 days, if they feel well and do not have a high temperature, the risk of passing the infection on to others is much lower.

Next week is our last week before the holiday and please don't forget that Tuesday is individual photograph day. Please ensure that your child is wearing their full uniform on the day. Year 4 should wear their uniform to school and bring their PE kit to change into - just this once. 3B it is your turn for outdoor learning next week. On Tuesday, please wear your uniform too. You can bring a change of footwear and bottoms to change into.

Before the half-term break, we will share the dates for all of our Christmas events so please watch this space.

Have a lovely weekend and see you on Monday.

Mr. Chris McClay, Principal

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


We have celebrated Harvest in Nursery this week. Children have learnt the meaning of Harvest and how crops are grown and gathered from the land. They enjoyed performing the Poem ‘Chop Chop Choppity Chop’ and sang this as we mixed soups using the range of vegetables on display. The children also used these to create vegetable print artwork and faces inspired by the artist Arcimboldo. It’s also been our first experience of wet weather this term, so children have been encouraged to learn our coat trick to independently be able to put their coats on.

Reminders: Please send children with coats in wet weather as we use our outdoor learning environment all year round.


We began our first Power of Reading book this week that we will study this in-depth over the rest of this half term. It initiated discussions in labels and speech bubbles which the children enjoyed making for themselves and for objects around them.

We learnt about the “twoness of two and threeness of three” in maths, allowing the children to really understand what counting 2 or 3 really means and in phonics we learnt phonemes r, u, h and b.

We are delighted to see friendships begin to blossom and some kind and thoughtful interactions between some of our children.

Reminders: Please ensure your child’s jumper/cardigan and coat are named clearly and hasn’t washed off. We have a growing collection of unnamed garments so if you are missing a jumper/cardigan, ask a member of staff if you can sift through the collection!

Year 1

We have now finished reading the story of Grace and Family. The children have spoken about families and written questions about the children in the book. In geography, the children have drawn line maps of their journey to school. In maths, we have introduced number families, looking at different ways to make the same number.

Reminders: Year 1 children will be visiting Wat Tyler Park on Wednesday 1st May. This trip will cost £16.00 per child. More information will come out to you in the spring term.

Year 2

This week Year 2 have created their own alternative stories to the Hare and the Tortoise traditional tale. The children had to decide upon both characters and plot twists. Children in 2S chose characters of an elephant and an ostrich, whilst 2G had a farmyard with a pig and a horse!

In history we have compared classrooms from times past to present day. The children were very surprised to discover that there were no computers, iPads or even white boards!

In science the children have explored materials which are opaque or transparent using torches and recorded their findings using a table.

Lots of children have learnt their keywords, so there were lots of certificates given out in assembly! Thank you for your support at home.

Reminders: Grandparent Interviews - Wednesday afternoon - 18th October - Please speak with Miss Gibbons or Mrs. Snow if your relative would like to join us for this session.

Year 3

In English this week, we have continued looking at newspaper articles. We started the week writing introductions, making sure to include the 5Ws from last week – Who? What? Where? When? Why? We then wrote the main body of the article, including factual information about an event in The Iron Man story. The children were proud of their articles, and they tried hard to include the features of newspaper that were explored last week.

In maths, we have continued to focus on addition and subtraction. We have been developing our understanding of how to use column method to help us solve problems. Each day we have focussed on exchanging across the hundreds and tens. We have focussed on ensuring our work is set out carefully so that minimal mistakes are made.

3B completed a science investigation to see the strength of different magnets. The children used different magnets to see how many paper clips could be attached. We discussed the importance of a fair test and completed a graph to show our findings. In history, we looked at some different theories of Stone Henge. The children came up with the own theories too. This week in R.E we looked at inspiration people within inspirational stories linked to different faiths.

3KA have enjoyed participating in outdoor learning. We have been looking at rope and what it is made from. We had to create a thicker piece of rope by twisting two thinner pieces together with a partner. This was a tricky task and resilience was the key to completion!

Reminders: 3B have their outdoor learning sessions next week. Please ensure the children wear suitable clothing and footwear as the sessions will continue regardless of the weather! On Tuesday the children should come to school wearing their full uniform for the photographs. They can change for outdoor learning afterwards.

Year 4

Newspapers have been the main focus in English this week. The children have learnt about the features of a newspaper, how newspapers have changed over the years – particularly with the arrival of online newspapers 24/7 news outlets – the difference between fact and opinion and they had to write the opening paragraph about the attack of a spider on Little Miss Muffet.

Moving on from addition last week, the children were tackling subtraction this week, calculations with and without exchanging numbers from different place value columns.

As well as their PHSE discussions about respect and learning the names of the countries where Vikings came from, the children received a treat on Friday afternoon, watching ‘How to Train Your Dragon,’ in line with their layered reading books. They will then be able to see and understand the differences between the content of the book and the film.

Children should not be wearing nail varnish or jewellery (other than stud earrings) to school.

Reminders: On Tuesday the children should come to school wearing their full uniform for the photographs. They can change for PE afterwards.

Year 5

This week in English, Year 5 have been revising the features of a diary entry. The students applied these to writing a diary from the perspective of an elderly lady who finds treasure in a dump. They used some great descriptive language and used the animated clip brilliantly to inspire their writing.

In maths, we moved on to the topic of multiplication and division. We learnt about multiples and common multiples and applied our prior knowledge of the multiplication tables.

History saw us learning about Ancient Egyptian homes. The children discovered the various features that they included and compared homes of the rich and poor.

5BW enjoyed yet another week of swimming on Thursday and 5A are excitedly awaiting their turn.

Year 6

Year 6 have been focussed on writing non-chronological reports this week based upon the Victorian inventor, Thomas Edison. The children have enjoyed completing research about him and his numerous inventions, a number of which we cannot live without today. We have worked on multiplying larger numbers and have been using partitioning to aid us with the formal method of long multiplication.

In the afternoons the children have enjoyed practical Science making circuit as the start of our new topic on Electricity.

Reminders: Just a reminder to sign up for the Isle of Wight residential if you haven’t already as it is an amazing opportunity for the children.

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


Another fun filled week in computing looking at online safety and our technical skills.

In Year 1 children had a go at creating a portrait in Paintz.app but using the style of Picasso. There were lots of bright colours and it involved using the fill tool, the shapes tool and being able to change the sizes of the brush to create different effects.

On Monday afternoon the Year 5 children continued working on their research projects about the Ancient Egyptians. It has been great to see them not only practising on refining their searches to achieve relevant results but also how they are reading the information and choosing the facts carefully to be placed into a word document.

In Year 4 children continued working on their PowerPoint skills to develop their presentations; this enabled them to not only add text boxes and images but also to adjust the size, style and position of various information. In addition to this they have been using the internet to research and find the information required.

Both Year 2 and Year 3 watched a short video about online safety, this week focusing on receiving a friend request from a stranger and then going to a place suggested. We shared ideas about what needs to be done in this situation i.e. talk to a trusted adult, to not accept requests from people we do not know and definitely not to go anywhere without permission. Following this we continued developing our touch-typing skills and it was amazing to see some of the individuals working on levels 4 and 5 already and watching how some are beginning to look at the screen rather than the keyboard has been fascinating.

Finally, on Friday the Year 6 children continued their presentation work... Mrs. Eastment was impressed with the outcomes from the sessions.

Next time, we will share some of the work produced in our final computing lessons of this half term.

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

PE and Sport

On Wednesday 11th October Mrs. Lynch and Mr. Brady took a team of 6 to Basildon Festival Leisure to take part in the Panathlon tenpin bowling event. The whole team were fantastic and enjoyed the event immensely. The children were excited to have the opportunity to travel to Basildon to the big bowling alley. They worked fantastically as a team and there was lots of clapping and cheering for each other. Mr. Brady was excellent at offering tips and advice as well as keeping them well informed of the groups overall score. Lots of maths was being carried out to check positions and to predict how many points were needed to improve their score and move up a place. One of the team members managed to a score a strike and finished with over 100 points! We were all very impressed! As they collected their certificates and medals there were some very happy children.

The cross-country report can be found further down 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

3KA have enjoyed participating in outdoor learning. We have been looking at rope and what it is made out of. We had to create a thicker piece of rope by twisting two thinner pieces together. This was a tricky task and resilience was the key to completion!

Next week its 3B’s turn! Come dressed and ready for outdoor learning on each day apart from Tuesday for the class photos (bring clothes to change into) and Wednesday which is PE day.

Singing Assembly with Ms. Taylor-Brown

KS1 with Mrs Dyer

This week, KS1 began to learn ‘One more step along the road I go.’ It’s quite a long song but the children listened very carefully and their first attempt at singing it all the way through was very good.

KS2 with Ms. Taylor-Brown

This week we came into a song I had never heard before thanks to one of our brilliant Year 6’s. I do love discovering new songs!

We then had a bit of OPAL news about tree climbing before singing the wonderful “Rather be” by Clean Bandit. I explained how this group combines classical and electropop and was impressed to hear the children naming some classical composers! Excellent work!

We then left to another Clean Bandit song!

KS1 and KS2 Cross Country Competition

On Friday 6th October, we headed to Garons Park for the annual Southend Cross Country Competition. In the morning it was the turn of KS1 and in the afternoon KS2.

The event is always very well attended by the schools in Southend and the level of competition is high. With typically well over one hundred children in each race – the Year 4 boy’s race had almost 140 – you can imagine how exciting it is. The KS1 children ran 900 metres, Years 3 and 4 1250m and Years 5 and 6 1600m. We had two practices beforehand and I must say you could see the improvement when it came to the actual event. Our team did a fantastic job and every single runner did their very best. Several of our team had to show real resilience after being blocked or bumped during the busy starts. They kept going and did themselves proud.

We will take part again next October, so if your child is interested in participating please do encourage them to get running over the next year. One great way for children to take part in running is to pop along to a Junior Parkrun. The closest one to us is at Hawkwell on Clements Hall Recreation Ground : Junior Parkrun sees the children run 2km and they are very well organised, super friendly and the children receive an official time.

With so many runners, photography was tricky but please do enjoy the gallery of snaps we managed to take.

We gave out certificates in today's Celebration Assembly. Well done Team Friars!

View more photos from the event here.

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Diary Dates


  • 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
  • Wednesday 8th - PTA uniform/Christmas Jumper sale
  • Thursday 9th - 5A Swimming starts
  • Friday 10th - Maths Story Day
  • Monday 13th - Friday 17th - Year 6 SATs practise week
  • 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 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

Yet another busy week in OPAL. Our mentor Becky came to visit and gave us some good feedback. Some positives and also somethings to develop further. Becky visits so many OPAL schools so always brings great ideas to share. We had a really useful working group meeting and plotted out the area we have, what comes next and even more effective ways of deploying our staff. In exciting news the trees are now open for climbing with clear 1.5m lines painted on thanks to Mr. Gladdy and Mr. Moles - showing the children the safe height they can climb too. We have also developed the mud kitchen more and its been a hive of activity - Mr. McClay seems to have become a regular customer to the café!

The play ranger applications are coming in thick and fast and interviews hopefully will take place next week- if you child wants to apply and has missed the date and does not have a form- just ask them to write me a letter telling me why they would be a great ranger- if your child struggles with writing please feel free to write their ideas down for them!


Some exciting PTA events coming up. Pop along, get involved and if you think you can help out in any way, no matter how small please get involved. Contact the PTA on our email address: friarspa@gmail.com

Celebration Assembly

The links for our Celebration Assemblies can be found below.

13th October 2023

6th October 2023

29th September 2023

22nd September 2023


A better week for attendance with the school’s average standing at over 95%. This week’s winners were 1MV and 6L – congratulations.

It really has been a brilliant term for 1MV. They have won every week except last week!

Seven of our KS1 and KS2 classes were above 95% this week – with four of them above 96%. Here’s to a very healthy final week before the holiday.

Caernarfon continue to be out in front but this week’s big story was Stormont who amassed a huge weekly total. Whilst Caernarfon won in KS1, Stormont won in KS2. This saw Stormont close the gap overall.

Approaching the end of the half-term, it is certain that Caernarfon will be the first team to break the 200-point barrier. Could another team do so too?


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