Friars Weekly Newsletter 20th October 2023

Coming up in this edition of the newsletter...

  • Year 2 Grandparents Interview afternoon
  • Collective Worship and Religious Education survey

And here we are… at the end of our first half term of 2023-24. Time really flies and it is fair to say that the past seven weeks really have. It was a bit of a shame to finish the term with such a gloomy horrible day outside but let’s hope that the weather quickly picks up for the holiday. The poor weather meant the girls' football competition at Len Forge was postponed. This has been rescheduled for Monday 6th November.

On Tuesday of this week, we had Jennifer Wathen our school photographer with us. She took lots of lovely photos of your lovely children. I know that you will be excited to see them and Jennifer will be working hard to get them ready to share with you in a couple of weeks’ time. We will send slips home when they are good to go.

This week our staff were very busy updating our corridor displays. We really take pride in our display work as they not only showcase the children's fantastic learning but they also bring the corridors alive. Thank you for everyone's efforts - they look super!

When we return after the break, the booking system for our Learning Conversation Evenings will go live. As a reminder these will be on the evenings of Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th of November. The Wednesday will have appointments up to 7:00pm and the Thursday up to 5:30pm. All of the details will follow…

Have a fantastic week and we will see you all back on Tuesday 31st October. Remember that the school is closed for staff training on Monday 30th October.

Mr. Chris McClay, Principal

Collective Worship and Religious Education Survey

We really value your views on things we do in school. Mrs. Witt and Mrs. James our RE Leaders are keen for your feedback once again. If you can spare a few minutes, please complete the survey at: https://forms.office.com/e/dbipgXwuTE

Staff Leaver

It is with sadness that we need to share the news that Mrs. Eastment one of our HLTAs will be leaving us shortly after the half term. Mrs. Eastment will be taking up a different role at Hamstel Infant School. We will miss Mrs. Eastment but we know she will be fantastic in this new role. Good luck Mrs. Eastment.


We know that parking around the school can be tricky at times and that almost everyone parks appropriately. Please may we ask that we never block any of our neighbour’s drives and that we always allow enough space for vehicles to manouevre. We have had reports of neighbours expressing their frustrations recently and that it was felt these frustrations were unwarranted. Let’s continue to do all we can to facilitate good relations with our immediate community.

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


We started our week with our first, very successful, Stay and Play. Thank you to everyone who came and joined us, the children were so pleased to show you their Nursery and what they like to do whilst they are here. Also, this week we have continued the autumnal theme and the children have enjoyed looking at, drawing and making their own pumpkins. They also enjoyed scooping the inside of them out. There was some fantastic vocabulary being used to describe how it felt, looked and smelt.


This week we have continued reading our focus book “Hello Friend” and discussing what makes a good friend. We looked at facial expressions and how they can tell others how we feel. We have learnt f and l this week and have been looking for things around the environment that begin with those sounds.

Reminders: Can you send a picture of your pet to the reception email address: Reception@fps.porticoacademytrust.co.uk please for discussion after half term.

Year 1

It has been a very busy half term and we are pleased with how much the children have learned. Throughout the week the children have written their own poem about autumn, using adjectives and nouns. Their maths work has focused on comparing numbers and using the language of fewer, more and the same. In science, the children have sorted carnivores, herbivores and omnivores as well as learning the terms predator and prey. There will be no homework to do over half term, enjoy the break and we look forward to seeing the children back on Tuesday 31st October.

Reminders: Please ensure that children are not wearing jewellery to school, this includes necklaces and bracelets. Thank you.

Year 2

The highlight of our week in Year 2 was our ‘Grandparent Interviews’ on Wednesday afternoon. The children eagerly awaited the arrival of our visitors in the hall – and they weren’t disappointed. The children sat in small groups and listened in awe to tales of school days and childhood experiences. Several of our visitors brought along some of their own childhood toys and the Year 2 children were fascinated by them. Thank you so much to our visitors for sharing their time and memories with 2S and 2G – we hope you enjoyed your time in school with the children too.

In maths, we have been learning how to add and subtract across a 10 using our number bond knowledge to solve calculations quickly.

In English, we have created instructions inspired by the story ‘The Disgusting Sandwich’. The children loved suggesting ingredients for our own sandwich including, worms, slime, rotten eggs and sand! They used imperative (bossy) verbs to write their own instructions, which also included time conjunctions such as first, next, after that and finally.

We can’t believe that we have come to the end of our first half term. The children are certainly ready for their half term break after working so hard! We hope you have a lovely week!

Year 3

It’s hard to believe we have already finished Autumn 1! It’s been a busy term and the children have settled well into Year 3.

In English this week, we have been looking at Kennings poems. We have mapped ideas, suggesting noun-noun phrases and noun-verb phrases ready to write a Kennings poem about the Iron Man.

In Maths, we have finished off our addition and subtraction unit of work. Our focus has been to master using a column method to solve subtraction calculations. Some of the children have found exchanging a little bit of a challenge.

3KA 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. They discussed the importance of a fair test and completed a graph to show our findings. In history, everyone looked at different theories for Stonehenge whilst also recreating Stonehenge with biscuits. The children thought carefully about their designs and enjoyed their treat afterwards! The children came up with the own theories too. This week in R.E there was a look at inspirational people within inspirational stories linked to different faiths.

3B have enjoyed participating in outdoor learning. The children looked at rope and what it is made from. They 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!

Year 4

It is incredible that 7 weeks have gone past already. Time flies when you’re enjoying yourself…..

The children were writing newspapers this week about the bloodthirsty and gory Viking attack on the monks living on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne in Northumbria. They had to ensure that the content of the newspaper was factual, included all the features of a newspaper and was very interesting to read.

In maths, the children have moved on to learning the division facts of the x8 and spent the week embedding their skills of adding and subtracting, with and without exchanging coinciding with the skill of estimation.

In science, the children finished off their study of teeth by looking at animal skulls, and identifying whether the skull was from a carnivore or a herbivore, depending on the length of the canines!

Friday afternoon, the children were able to paint and decorate their Viking broaches and continuing with the Viking theme, the children designed a Viking tapestry.

Interestingly, Mr. McClay is off to Northumberland this October half term as that is where he is from originally and he still has family there. He hopes to visit Lindisfarne on Monday if the weather is okay!

We hope that you have a wonderful break over the October half-term.

Reminders: Please remind the children to learn their spellings and times tables over the half term. We’ve given them the week off from homework!

Year 5

Wow the last week of Autumn 1 already! We have thoroughly enjoyed our topic on Ancient Egypt this half term.

In maths this week, we looked at factors, common factors and prime numbers. The children are confident in their knowledge that prime numbers have only two factors and numbers with more than this are known as composite numbers.

English saw the children using their notes from last Friday to write a diary entry from the perspective of Hussein (an Egyptian water boy). The students applied all of their knowledge about the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb and included alot of emotive language.

In geography, the classes acted as town planners. They used different landscapes to make important decisions as early settlers. We looked at factors such as housing, water and fuel.

Both classes continued their tennis lessons looking at the serve, focusing on consistency, accuracy and position.

We wish everyone a wonderful break for the October half term.

Year 6

Year 6 have focussed on writing newspaper reports in English. The article written was based upon the attempted assassination of Queen Victoria by a young man called Edward Oxford. The children enjoyed this piece of work and have tried to consistently write in the past tense whilst not appearing biased about the incident that took place.

In maths, we have been embedding our knowledge and understanding of division. The children have looked at different ways of approaching this, particularly, the two different methods of short and long division and the reasons behind each approach.

We have continued practical experimentation within our science lesson based upon electricity.

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


In computing each year group has had time to consolidate all of their learning in key skills from the past seven weeks.

It has been great to see the Year 1 children in the computer suite each Monday morning and they are working tirelessly to develop their own mouse and keyboard control by completing a number of different designs using Paintz.app. They are still learning how to log on to the computers and this is a process which takes time. I encourage them to use a keyboard on a computer/tablet as much as possible in order to identify where the letters lie.

The Year 2 and 3 students have shared ideas about online safety. Year 2 have also been working on their touch-typing skills

In Year 3 the children have focused on the term ‘network’ to identify how different computers in our school are connected through a network. This has then been used to think about different digital devices and how these are used to help us.

Year 4 have not only developed skills using the internet but also focused on key information about who owns the website, how reliable the information is on a webpage and have explored different content which can be found on the internet.

On Mondays, the Year 5 children have learnt about the internet and how to search effectively. They have thought about how search engines work and how they rank the results.

In Year 6 we have been learning about sharing and working collaboratively to research topics for the Victorians. We have then used this research to create a collaborative PowerPoint presentation with other members of the class using office online.

Online Safety

With children increasingly going online, the chances of them coming across content that may cause them upset also increases. Whilst carefully monitoring and the device settings will minimise this there may be occasions when you will need to talk with them. This latest guide offers you some ways to support them.

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

PE and Sport

Coming to the end of our first half term, children have enjoyed as much outdoor PE as possible. As the weather becomes inclement, more PE sessions will move to indoor activities. Please ensure your child has suitable kit for both as we will still be outside in the cold.

The girls’ football tournament was postponed this week as the weather forecast was not in their favour. This will now take place on Monday 6th November.

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

Outdoor Learning

3B had their outdoor learning this week and what a great week it was! They started the week by learning how to make their own rope, which took lots of patience and rope twisting but we got there in the end. We then learnt how to tie knots so we could tie together two pieces of wood to make some decorations. Next, we collected lots of organic materials to decorate and hang onto our wood decorations, this included things such as feathers and leaves. To end the week, we made some lovely friendship bracelets, which again took some patience as we had to learn how to braid the rope. What a lovely end to a remarkably busy term!

After half term it will be time for Nursery to have fun in the environmental garden with Mr. Brady.

Nursery parents please send your child ready for outdoor learning on Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd November. They need to be in school uniform on their top half and comfortable suitable outdoor clothing on their bottom half with trainers or shoes that you don’t mind getting a bit mucky! As we will go out whatever the weather please make sure they have suitable coats/jackets!

Singing Assembly with Ms. Taylor-Brown

KS2 with Ms. Taylor-Brown

This week a great classic garage tune chosen by one of our Yr6’s- this song from 2000 has so many great memories for me so we talked about the songs that make the children remember special times. The children were so engaged and lots of their choices were about family members and celebrations! I always love to hear about these memories so do not forget that my postbox is always there and ready for requests.

We then had a great time singing this catchy pop songs about aiming high and trusting that everything will be ok! I really love hearing the children singing along to these songs. After half term it will be time to start getting ready for Christmas - but panic not - I will be throwing in a few festive pop classics alongside the traditional carols! My favourite will always be Last Christmas by Wham!

We left to another garage classic - and this time it’s a song that really helps me to focus when I am running! I think it is the great beat and empowering lyrics!

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Diary Dates


  • Monday 23rd - Friday 27th - Half Term
  • Monday 30th - INSET Day
  • Tuesday 31st - First day back for children


  • Wednesday 1st - Year 6 height & weight screening
  • Thursday 2nd - 5BW Swimming final session
  • Friday 3rd - Year 5/6 Boys' Football
  • Monday 6th - Year 5/6 Girls' 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 until 7:00pm
  • Thursday 16th - Leaning Conversations until 5:30pm
  • 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 1

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: Pesto Bread or Wholemeal Bread

OPAL Update

A great week in OPAL. After our OPAL play assembly and a few reminders- tidying up is definitely improving as are our crate stacking skills. I have been amazed at the number of play ranger applications I have received! I am so sorry that I did not get to catch up for interviews as I had hoped! This will be my number one on priority on our first day back so please know I have not forgotten you all! I have loved reading your forms and cannot wait to talk to you more about 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.

20th October 2023

13th October 2023

6th October 2023

29th September 2023

22nd September 2023


A good end to the half term saw 1MV pick up the KS1 trophy and 3KA lift the KS2 trophy. 1MW were presented with a special certificate for managing to win six of the seven weeks since September’s start. Amazing 1MV!

Have a very healthy week off school everyone.

A very rare week this week… two teams tied in both KS1 and KS2! Well done to both Caernarfon and Windsor. For the first time we have teams above the 200-point barrier with Caernarfon, Windsor and Stormont all achieving the feat. Last year’s winners Stirling are bringing up the rear. We are only one half term into this year’s race and with five more to go, it is all very much to play for!


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