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Cumran Primary School opened its doors in May 2005 to replace and amalgamate Clough and Downshire (Dundrum) Primary Schools. Situated in Clough village, the school enjoys a quiet and rural position overlooking the Mourne Mountains and Dromara Hills.


As a learning school we aim to set the school at the centre of the community. Opportunities will be given to all children to learn and share together, and to realise their full potential in a positive environment. Pupils will be empowered with the core learning skills, based on Christian morals and values, through a broad and balanced curriculum. The school provides a caring environment in which every child can feel secure, work happily and benefit from a curriculum, rich in stimulating experiences.


We have been graded outstanding in our recent Inspection Report by ETI (2019). This is the second time the ETI has graded Cumran as outstanding and is affirmation of the standard of all round education offered in our school. The school was graded outstanding in all areas: quality of the education it provides, the quality of the children’s achievements and standards, the provision for learning, the leadership and management and pastoral care.


The accommodation is excellent and purpose built, providing bright and spacious classrooms, equipped to a high standard, for each year group. All classes have interactive white boards/Activ Panels and we have “Cumran Children’s TV” in the central reception area. Each class contributes items to be shown on the screen making their work available to a wide audience and enhancing their ICT skills. A multi-purpose hall is used for assemblies, school productions, school meals and PE. Two general resource areas provide for playbased learning and a computer suite. We have a bright, spacious, well-stocked full-time school library and a stimulating learning support room. Our learning support team offers support to pupils as needed. Integrated within the main school are 2 special needs classes for pupils with social communication difficulties. The school also offers disabled facilities.


The safe, sheltered grounds and locality provide opportunities for studies in ‘The World Around Us’. We have a giant bird table, log pile, bug hotels, bird watching areas, and a willow dome, and planting provides opportunities for pupils to learn about growth and change. We have been awarded our ECO flag for the ninth time and are always keen to support related initiatives. We are one of only a small number of elite schools who have been awarded Eco Schools Ambassador status recognizing our best practice and we share this with other schools to help develop their Eco culture. We won the Best Kept Primary School, South Eastern Region and ‘Best of the Best’ Best Kept Primary School NI. We are part of the Sustrans Active Travel Programme which encourages active travel for everyday journeys and have achieved bronze and silver awards. With the support of Sustrans we run events throughout the year encouraging our pupils to walk, scoot or cycle to school. Sustrans also provide our pupils with invaluable workshops on cycle skills, bike maintenance and lessons linking active travel with the curriculum.


We were awarded ‘Thinking School’ status by the University of Exeter in June 2017. We are the ONLY SCHOOL IN NORTHERN IRELAND to be recognised as a ‘Thinking School’ and have presented to other schools in NI. Cumran is at the forefront of technological cultures. We believe in developing pupil’s Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities to provide them with lifelong skills for this ever changing 21st century world.


Cumran is at the forefront of technological advances. We were the first school to win the prestigious C2K/Capita ICT Excellence Award recognising us as one of the top schools in Northern Ireland transforming teaching and learning through technology. This competition involved all types of schools – primary, secondary, grammar and special schools. The award recognises the high quality learning and teaching happening in Cumran on a daily basis where ICT is used as a tool to enhance the experiences for the children.


The school has achieved the Naace ICT Mark. This Award recognises the school’s success in developing the strategic use of ICT and that Cumran Primary meets and exceeds national standards in ICT.


Cumran Primary School is delighted to have been awarded the ‘Digital Schools of Distinction’ Award. This is a prestigious, flagship awards programme which recognises best practice and excellence in ICT in Northern Ireland primary schools. Mrs Moles and one of the pupils were asked to contribute to a video promoting the awards for schools throughout Northern Ireland which was a great honour for Cumran!


We are also the proud recipient of the prestigious Third Millennium Learning Award from Naace. We are one of only six Primary schools in NI to have achieved this award. This award demonstrates how Cumran has a firm focus on learning - we are providing an education fit for the 21st century by creating an ethos that enhances learning and teaching, making full use of the opportunities presented by technology.


Cumran Primary has also received an award from Young Enterprise in recognition of the school’s work in promoting life skills and education for employability. This is a partnership scheme which promotes the idea of business and enterprise amongst our pupils. In addition, Cumran Primary School was delighted to win Down County Council’s Enterprise and Employability Across Learning Award. This award celebrates the success of pupils in developing the necessary skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work.


We have been awarded Silver Rights Respecting School Status. The Rights Respecting Schools Award supports schools across the UK to teach children about their rights and feel empowered throughout their education. We are currently working towards our Gold Level. As a health promoting school we encourage a healthy lifestyle through our school meals, which are made on the premises. We have been awarded Gold Action Cancer Awards and were recognised as the highest scoring school in the South Eastern Region (2019). We offer a wide and varied programme of after school activities that develops the children’s personal interests and skills. These clubs include football, rugby, cricket, hockey, choir, drama, French, ICT, art club, cycling proficiency, film club, ECO club, speech and drama, cookery, basketball, dance/gymnastics and multi-sports. Piano, woodwind and vocal tuition are available during school time. The extensive school grounds are used as an outdoor classroom to extend children’s learning. We have three playground areas, a large adventure playground, a wooden Timbertots area, outdoor staging and seating, digging areas and a sandhouse. In addition, our outdoor multi-purpose games area is used by the school and community to promote sport and the PE curriculum. After school clubs further enhance this provision. Specialist tuition is available for many activities – football, basketball, dance/gymnastics. Swimming lessons are provided for years 4 to 7 at the local swimming pool.


Parents are encouraged to take an active role in their child’s/ children’s education through attendance at Open Events, parent workshops, Book Fairs, assemblies and information meetings throughout the year. Parent/teacher interviews are held in the first and second terms. Monthly school newsletters and the school website keep parents informed and we encourage strong home/ school links.


A Reading Partnership programme assists pupils with their reading and we invite preschool children to our story time each week in the third term.


The school implements its Pastoral, Child Protection and Positive Behaviour Policies in line with Department of Education recommendations. There is a strong pupil voice expressed through an active School Council, ECO Council, prefects, librarians, buddies and Rights Respecting School Steering Group.


The Board of Governors supports the school and is involved in its managerial role. It is the responsibility of the Board of Governors and the Principal to apply the admissions criteria. Application for enrolment is available online.





On behalf of the Board of Governors and Staff of Cumran Primary School, I would like to congratulate our Principal, Mrs Rhonda Moles, on being awarded an MBE for Services to Education.  I am sure the entire community, of which Cumran is an integral part, would wish to join us in celebrating this remarkable achievement.

Over the years Mrs Moles has been instrumental in leading Cumran Primary School to its current position of being a centre of excellence, one of Northern Ireland’s leading Primary Schools, recently recognised by the Educational and Training Inspectorate as being ‘Outstanding’. Being an inspirational leader, her commitment to the development of pupils and staff is second to none. Her ability to think outside the box is reflected in the wonderful initiatives and programmes that have inspired and motivated pupils and staff. The children are at the heart of her motivation and she fully involves them in decision making. She encourages our pupils to direct their own learning, fostering a curiosity that will stick with them for life.

As Chair of Governors, I have watched with interest as she has led and inspired others to push themselves beyond their comfort zone. Her inspirational leadership has had a positive influence on those around her and has resulted in the provision of an extremely high quality education for all pupils. Cumran is at the forefront of education, leading the way in ICT and in Thinking Skills, fuelled by her enthusiasm, vision and unstinting commitment to the school community. Mrs Moles is passionate about preparing children for life in the 21st Century and has been instrumental in securing the status of Cumran as ‘Outstanding’ in all areas, not just once, but twice.

More recently, the school has come through the pandemic, and I know that Mrs Moles has worked constantly, evenings, weekends and holidays included, to ensure that the pupils of Cumran are both safe and able to continue learning. Mrs Moles’ capacity to think and prepare us for the future, meant that the school was already ahead in the use of technology and this led to a smooth transition to online learning.

As well as her work as Principal of the school, Mrs Moles has also worked as an Associate Assessor with the Education and Training Inspectorate, inspecting primary schools across Northern Ireland. She has worked with Stranmillis University College as an associate placement assessor, working with students to develop and flourish into confident, well-informed teachers of the future. She has also mentored first time principals for the Education Authority.

Mrs Moles should also be commended for her role in sharing good practice across the education community. She is an experienced contributor to many conferences both in Northern Ireland and in England, to local and international audiences, on subjects such as ICT, Assessment and Data Analysis, Growth Mindset, Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities.

I know that Mrs Moles has been both delighted and humbled in being honoured with this award. She has stated that when she goes to Buckingham Palace, she will be representing the school, her colleagues and her Governors who work alongside her. She will be accepting the award on behalf of the whole school community. She is also thankful for the unending support of her family- her husband Adrian and her two sons Joshua and Lukas, who have been behind her every step of the way.

This is fantastic news Mrs Moles, a very well deserved award, and again, congratulations from all of us.


Colin Campbell

(Chairman of the Board of Governors)


Poem: Mrs Moles By Year 6

Still image for this video