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Self-Evaluation Form October 2020

Five Elms Primary School is a co-educational school for 3-11 year-olds in Barking and Degenham Local Education Authority.

There is a stable and strong leadership team in place with an experienced headteacher, two deputy headteachers and one assistant headteacher.

The school is located in the Heath Ward, Barking & Dagenham,  (listed as the fifth most deprived local authority based on rank and 20th on the list of authorities with most income-deprived households, taken from The English Indices of Deprivation, Sept 2019, Statistical release from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.)  There are 445 pupils on roll (census October 2020) including the 3-4 year old Nursery.  The school admits 60 pupils in Reception each year and 40 Nursery children (12 FT, 14 AM & 14 PM). https://www.lbbd.gov.uk/deprivation-in-barking-and-dagenham for local IDACI information including Heath Ward where the school is located.

Five Elms is larger than the average-sized primary school. The school hosts and leads a Additional Resourced Provision for Deaf & Complex needs (N-Y6).  There are 20 places, with currently 16 of these places filled.  These are included in the pupil numbers above.   The proportion of pupils eligible for the pupil premium, is higher than that found nationally (29%), as is the proportion of pupils who speak English as an additional language (62%). The school serves a diverse population, with 15 out of 17 possible ethnic groups attending.  The largest ethnic group being of White British heritage (27% IDSR 2019).  More pupils than average leave or join the school at other than the usual times throughout the year.

Significant Groups (2019/2020 information from IDSR)

  • The percentage of pupils with SEND support is 13.7%, the percentage of children with an EHC Plan is 4.6%.  Both these percentages are above national average (EHCP significantly above)
  • 62% of pupils are learning English as an additional language (EAL) – National Average is 21%
  • 29% of pupils qualify for Pupil Premium  (National average is 23%)
  • The school has a high level of deprivation (quintile 5 of all schools)

At the last OFSTED Inspection (March 2017), the school was judged to be Good is all areas.  The areas for improvement mentioned in the report were:

  • Ensure that teachers consistently challenge the most able pupils, to maximise their rates of progress by:
    • Intervening promptly to provide the appropriate level of challenge in mathematics at key stage 1 an in English at key stage 2
    • Building on pupils’ prior learning and abilities from the start of activities.
  • Further improve children’s outcomes in the early years by developing the outdoor provision to succesffuly reflect the indoor learnin gin the classroom.

The most recent IDSR highlights that both Reading and Maths progress in KS2 has improved between 2018 and 2019 and in 2019, 55% of pupils achieved the high standard in the KS2 GGPS, which was significantly above national and in the highest 20% of all schools.

Actions taken

Since September 2018, the, following changes and actions have been implemented:

  • Reading – introduced core texts in every year group and initiated a process of reading curriculum planning driven by Question Level Analysis
  • Reviewed curriculum, rewritten medium term plans for many subjects, addressing vocabulary and sequence of learning to ensure the progression of learning through the school.
  • Reviewed classroom display and layout in order to optimise the learning environment and ensure it meets the needs of learners more effectively
  • Achieved Arts Goldmark (Oct 18), Science Quality Mark (Oct 19), ESafety Mark (Oct 17, Oct 20)
  • Bronze Healthy Schools achieved Sept 2018
  • Developed SEND provision in school house for mainstream autistic children January 2019
  • Introduced free breakfast provision for all pupils in the school from Nov 2018
  • Careers programme for KS2 began April 2019
  • YesFutures building resilience programme with disadvantaged Y4 and Y5 children April – Dec 2019
  • Structured conversations (AfA initiative) to engage parents of disadvantaged children/ lower attainers from April 2019 – October 2020.
  • Bow Arts 3 year partnership with local artists began Sept 2018
  • Mental health and wellbeing programme, Mind Up, implemented Y1-6 Sept 2019
  • Votes for Schools programme delivered weekly to engage children with current affairs and topical issues via their online debate platform.
  • Developed parental engagement strategies in EYFS, via homework clubs and workshops, and via cultural/social school events celebrating diversity.

Next steps

  • Achieving at least national average for outcomes at all measurable stages and ensuring sustainability of this
  • Ensure progression across the curriculum allows children to develop fully as well-rounded, academically able citizens for the future.
  • Develop the internal learning environment to facilitate good learning and support children’s language development.
  • Improve the skills of support staff to ensure the needs of pupils are met more effectively.
  • Develop parental engagement in order to raise parental aspirations and learning expectations of all children.
  • Improve attendance.
  • Develop the Governing Body role in determining curriculum intent.
  • Develop a robust blended and remote learning curriculum to ensure continuity of learning for all children.

Overall effectiveness:

We judge the overall effectiveness of Five Elms Primary School as good.

This is because:

The quality of education is good.

  • All other key judgements are good.
  • Safeguarding is effective.

The Quality of Education

We judge the quality of education at Five Elms Primary School as good, and feel the actions being taken have led to sustained improvement across the last three years and provide the school with the capacity to further improve children’s achievement.

The strengths of the quality of education are:


  • Leaders have reviewed the curriculum to ensure it is ambitious and designed to give all pupils, particularly disadvantaged pupils and including pupils with SEND, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
  • The school curriculum has two drivers in addition to the statutory National Curriculum offer:
  • a contextual offer which is tailored to meet the needs of our children and the particular challenges presented by the community context e.g. the mental health programme, specified trips and experiences for each year group, the specific focus on vocabulary given the high level of speech and language needs in the school; 
  • an enrichment offer based around extra-curricular opportunities, sports provision and community involvement
  • Senior leaders and Subject Leaders are working collaboratively to ensure that the school’s curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment.
  • Leaders are reviewing the curriculum to ensure it is successfully adapted, designed or developed to be ambitious and meet the needs of pupils with SEND, developing their knowledge, skills and abilities to apply what they know and can do with increasing fluency and independence. In the Additional Resource Provision for deaf and complex needs the curriculum is already very successfully adapted. Review work is focussed on meeting with greater impact, the needs of SEN Support children in the mainstream.
  • Pupils study the full curriculum; it is not narrowed. A broad range of subjects (exemplified by the national curriculum) is taught in key stage 2 throughout each and all of Years 3 to 6.
  • NOTE – Between September 2020 and April 2021 the school is operating a recovery curriculum whose aim is to recover lost learning from lockdown. The intent statements above are being adhered to as closely as possible dependent on necessary Covid 19 restrictions in place.


  • Teachers have good knowledge of the subjects they teach. Leaders provide effective support for those teaching outside their main areas of expertise.
  • Teachers present subject matter clearly, promoting appropriate discussion about the subject matter being taught. They check pupils’ understanding systematically using in-class AfL, identify misconceptions accurately and provide clear, direct feedback. In so doing, they respond and adapt their teaching as necessary.
  • Over time, teaching is designed to help pupils to remember long term the content they have been taught. Medium term planning in some curriculum areas has been sharply focussed on integrating new knowledge into larger ideas. Long term planning maximises the links between subject areas.
  • Teachers and leaders use assessment well, for example to help pupils embed and use knowledge fluently, or to check understanding and inform teaching. AfL techniques are used in the classroom for immediate feedback. A sticker system is used in books to encourage a range of assessment routes. Summative assessment uses Rising Stars and data is collected termly for reading, writing and mathematics. Other subject areas are assessed twice a year. Additional reading assessment is put in place as required, but particularly in Key Stage 1. Assessments are used in tracking and discussions with teachers in order to identify underachievement swiftly and therefore inform planning, provide intervention or improve teaching to meet the needs.
  • Leaders understand the limitations of assessment and do not use it in a way that creates unnecessary burdens on staff or pupils. The quantity of assessment has been reduced.
  • Teachers create an environment that allows pupils to focus on learning. The school is devoting a large proportion of CPD time to the planning of the curriculum, which, once complete, will enable teachers to routinely concentrate on developing the most effective resources in order for pupils to cumulatively  achieve sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment.
  • The work given to pupils is demanding and matches the aims of the curriculum in being coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge.
  • Reading is prioritised to allow pupils to access the full curriculum offer. Improvements have been made and reviewed over the last three years and reading continues to be a whole school priority. Data shows a 3 year upward trend and progress improved significantly in 2019. Internal data indicates this upward trend will continue. A continued focus on greater depth is key in KS1 and KS2.
  • A rigorous and sequential approach to the reading curriculum develops pupils’ fluency, confidence and enjoyment in reading.  Medium term reading outcomes are in place which detail specific skills and knowledge. Core texts have been identified for every class Y1-6 to provide challenging contexts in which children can apply their reading skills. Children have a whole-class reading half-hour every day. English lessons focus rigorously on vocabulary and the specific teaching of retrieval skills.  Question level analysis at KS2 shows that these skills in particular have raised standards in reading. Inference and deduction skills have also improved, but remain a focus area. More effective links between reading and the wider curriculum have resulted in broadening children’s knowledge which they are then able to apply in their comprehension of texts.
  • At all stages, reading attainment is assessed and gaps are addressed quickly and effectively for all pupils. Termly assessments are in place which inform tracking and intervention processes and planning. Children self-assess regularly in class with their peers and the teacher so feedback is immediate. In Key Stage 1 benchmarking is used to identify children for intervention. SEND children with reading difficulties are supported intensively according to their needs.
  • Reading books connect closely to the phonics knowledge pupils are taught when they are learning to read. EYFS and KS1 use Read Write Inc as a phonics based scheme, supported by Book Bands to provide a variety of reading materials. Other specific phonics based schemes are used in Y2 and Y3 as needed. Texts in reading sessions provide ample opportunities for children to apply their phonics knowledge.
  • The sharp focus on ensuring that younger children gain phonics knowledge and language comprehension necessary to read, and the skills to communicate, gives them the foundations for future learning.
  • Teachers ensure that their own speaking, listening, writing and reading of English support pupils in developing their language and vocabulary well. Joined handwriting is modelled in all resources including IT and is used from Y1 upwards. Teachers have good subject knowledge and model the grammatical use of English both orally and in writing.
  • NOTE REGARDING RECOVERY CURRICULUM: The focuses of the recovery curriculum are core areas, physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Where possible these aspects are being taught within other curriculum areas to provide as broad a basis as possible. In addition the school is developing a robust blended and remote learning curriculum with the intent to provide a continuous and rigorous continuous learning offer.


  • Pupils develop detailed knowledge and skills across the curriculum and, as a result, achieve well. Results from national tests demonstrate a three year trend of improvement, including the combined measure where the school now broadly meets national for both expected and at greater depth. Maths and Reading progress have both improved significantly in 2019 and Writing progress is improving after a dip in performance in 2018.
  • Pupils are ready for the next stage of education. They have the knowledge and skills they need and they have had the opportunities to experience a broad range of activities and challenges which enable them to find interests and aspirations they will follow in the future.
  • Pupils with SEND achieve the best possible outcomes.
  • Pupils’ work across the curriculum is of good and improving quality.
  • Pupils read widely and often, with fluency and comprehension appropriate to their age and are able to apply mathematical knowledge, concepts and procedures appropriately for their age.

In order to secure a good judgement:

Maintain the current curriculum provision and continue to improve outcomes for pupils so they are consistently meeting national standards.

In order to achieve an outstanding judgement, the school needs to focus on:

  • Embedding the curriculum intent and implementation consistently and securely across the school
  • Ensuring teaching and learning in all lessons delivers the curriculum intent
  • Ensuring disadvantaged children achieve highly and consistently

Behaviour and attitudes

We judge behaviour and attitudes at Five Elms Primary as good.

The strengths of behaviour and attitudes are:

Pupils behave respectfully towards each other and school adults.

  • Pupils consistently have very positive attitudes and commitment to their education. They increasingly see the value in their learning.
  • They are motivated and resilient in the face of difficulties. They relish challenge in their learning and are persistent in problem-solving. The school has worked consistently to improve children’s independence and risk-taking in their learning and specific programmes (eg YesFutures) and strategies have been provided to support children’s acquisition of independence and resilience.
  • Pupils make a very positive contribution to the life of the school and the wider community.
  • Pupils are taught to recognise and evaluate their own sense of well-being and that of other pupils. Mental health sessions are taught on a regular basis and the school implements the Mind-Up programme across the school.
  • Pupils behave consistently well, demonstrating high levels of self-control and consistently positive attitudes to their education. PASS data which is collected twice a year consistently shows that children feel safe in school and are very positive about the school and the staff.  When a child has difficulty with their behaviour or attitudes (or PASS data indicates a concern), the Pastoral Team use a variety of strategies to swiftly identify reasons and address issues to support them to succeed in their education.

In order to achieve an outstanding judgement, the school needs to focus on:

  • Ensuring pupils demonstrate self-efficacy in all areas and are able to fully appreciate the value of their learning.
  • Ensuring pupils are independent learners with full resilience.
  • Ensuring pupils can take responsibility for their behaviour and attitudes so they know how to explain their needs and when to access support.












Personal Development

We judge the quality of personal development, at Five Elms Primary School as good.

The strengths of personal development are:

  • The school provides a range of experiences in the curriculum which enhance social, moral, spiritual and cultural understanding and experience.
  • The curriculum and the school’s effective wider work support pupils to be confident resilient and independent and to develop strength of character.
  • There is a good take-up by pupils of the opportunities provided by the school.  Disadvantaged pupils consistently benefit from this provision.
  • School provides a wide range of opportunities to nurture develop and stretch pupil’s talents and interests. Pupils appreciate these and make good use of them.
  • The school provides high quality pastoral support led by our Pastoral Team.
  • The school successfully equips pupils in a variety of ways with the knowledge about how to eat healthily, maintain an active lifestyle, keep physically and mentally healthy and understand about healthy relationships. Specific programmes in the school effectively address these areas and children have regular opportunities to explore these concepts.

In order to achieve an outstanding judgement, the school needs to focus on:

  • Further improving the enrichment and extended curriculum offer to ensure all pupils are equipped with the experiences and knowledge they will need to progress and fully develop as young people through the secondary phase of their education.

Leadership and management

We judge the quality of leadership in and management of Five Elms Primary School as good.

The strengths of leadership and management are:

Leaders share a clear and ambitious vision for providing high quality education and collaborate to ensure curriculum provision is reviewed and implemented to give pupils the best curriculum experience.

  • Our strong core values (CREAM) are shared through our policies and practice in the school.
  • Leaders focus on improving teachers’ subject, pedagogical and pedagogical content knowledge, through Continuous Professional Development and other in-school training, in order to enhance the teaching of the curriculum and the appropriate use of assessment.
  • The school has a fully inclusive culture.
  • Senior leaders have worked closely with middle leaders to improve skills and distribute leadership more widely in the school.
  • Senior leaders have strong relationships with staff and workload is reviewed regularly to ensure demands are not excessive or onerous.
  • Governors understand their role and carry it out effectively, including safeguarding in the school, statutory duties and holding leaders to account for the quality of education.
  • The school has rigorous and effective safeguarding in place in order to identify and help pupils in need of Early Help, reduce and manage risks of harm to pupils.

In order to achieve an outstanding judgement, the school needs to focus on:

Strong succession planning to develop future leaders both at middle and senior levels.

  • Ensuring middle leaders have excellent and thorough knowledge and understanding of their subjects and achieve impact through their leadership across the school.
  • Continuing to improve governance knowledge, skills and understanding to provide the strongest possible challenge and support for the school.

The quality of early years education

We judge the quality of Early Years education at Five Elms Primary School to be good.

The Early Years curriculum is ambitious and designed to give children, particularly the most disadvantaged, the knowledge, self-belief and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. Coherently planned and sequenced, it builds on what children know and can do, towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for their future learning.

Low levels of speech and language on entry, identified through Speechlink, drive a sharp focus on ensuring that all children acquire a wide vocabulary and communicate effectively. Lessons focus on language development and acquisition at every stage of Early Years education.

The school’s approach to teaching early reading and synthetic phonics is systematic and ensures that all children learn to read words and simple sentences accurately by the end of Reception.

The school has the same academic ambitions for almost all children. For children with particular needs, such as those with SEND, their curriculum is designed to be ambitious and to meet their needs. 

Children benefit from meaningful learning across the curriculum. Staff are extremely knowledgeable about the areas of learning they teach. Learning needs of the children are promptly identified and met via the curriculum planning.

Staff create an environment that delivers our ambitious curriculum. The resources are chosen to meet the children’s needs and promote learning.  Outdoor learning is considered as valuable and important as classroom based practice in order to provide children with a wide range of rich experiences.

The curriculum and care practices promote and support children’s emotional security and development of their character. Leaders and staff are particularly attentive to the youngest children’s needs. 

By the end of Reception, children have the personal, physical and social skills they need to succeed in the next stage of their education. Most children achieve the early learning goals, particularly in mathematics and literacy. 

Outcomes in wider areas are good.

In order to achieve an outstanding judgement, the school needs to focus on:

  • Further improving provision and outcomes for more able children at Exceeding standard.
  • Further improving parental engagement in the Early Years.
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