Our Lady's & St Mochua's Primary School

Reaching for the future, a voice for today’

Our Lady and St Mochuas are a rural school, set in the heart of the community of Derrynoose, Armagh. Visit their website here.



While they do have a management structure within the school, all staff champion the skills of leadership. This is promoted through various committees; Pupil Leadership Team, Eco-Committee and Changemaker Committee which involves members of both teaching and non-teaching staff. All staff members are encouraged to award Changemaker marks in relation to the 4 key principles of Changemaker status. Many of the staff members are also leaders within the community and these skills are transferred into our school environment. Their ethos of inclusion allows all staff to feel that they can contribute to the overall management and running of the school.


The school motto: Reaching for the future, a voice today means that they promote leadership qualities with their students. Their voice is heard through the Pupil Leadership Team, Changemaker Prefects, House Captains, and members of various committees. The children know that they have a role to play in the school and that their opinions are important and valued. This idea is cultivated from Primary 1.



The staff in the school lead by example and teamwork is the bedrock on which their school has been founded. They support each other in their various roles and ensure that all work is a team effort. The expectation is that the children will also support each other, both in and out of class. They are also encouraged to support the staff in their various roles within the school.

They are proud of the opportunities they have developed to allow the children to be active participants in our school. The children vote for their representatives on their committees with the older children able to speak to their class about why they would like others to vote for them. The children can also nominate other children for a weekly Changemaker mark and explain how they demonstrated one or more of the key principles. Each classroom has a Suggestion Box, and these suggestions are brought forward by the class representatives to the Pupil Leadership meetings. Their pupils lead assemblies, special occasions, and House groups. As a staff they are always looking for opportunities to commend the children for acts of kindness and using their initiative. This was epitomised this year when Sarah was elected to the Pupil Leadership Team by her classmates. As she had already served on a committee, she decided to forgo her place for a child who had not yet served on a committee. Since she would not be able to serve on this committee again, she was asked to discuss her decision with her family before a new election. Her family agreed with her, and another child was elected in her place. They feel we are empowering our children to make these critical decisions and to understand the consequences of their actions.



Each year the school have tried to build upon the practices which mark them out as a Changemaker School. For the last 6 years they have developed the 4 key principles of Changemaker status: empathy, leadership, teamwork, and creativity. They are now looking at how they can innovatively build upon their progress and are seeking new ways to move forward as a Changemaker School. They would like to expand the ideals of a Changemaker into their wider school community, particularly with our parents and the extended family circle.



They are a flagship school for the Young Enterprise program which educates and develops their children’s knowledge and understanding of business, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility. In 2012 they won the prestigious Young Enterprise Award, A Centre of Excellence. This has been followed up by the Best Business Award, 2019 which the Primary 7 children won for their business, Oakers’ Enterprise. This business was set up in 2015 and each year produces a product which can be sold in the community. Part of the profits raised go to a nominated local charity. Last year they collaborated with Clontibret National School, as part of our Shared Education Partnership to produce Sweet Treats in time for the Easter market. Their Swop Shop Day has been running for many years and is one of the highlights of our school year. Children donate or sell new, second hand or handmade goods to each other in a stock market trading scenario. When the bell rings trading begins. Children are encouraged to donate some of their profits to a designated charity. In one particular year a child donated all £20 of her profits to the charity. Equally they have had children who sold all their goods and ended up with less money than when they began trading. All learned important lessons