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Celebrating the new A3 tunnel

Four primary schools on the Surrey/Hampshire border near Hindhead came together to celebrate a major new landmark, the A3 tunnel, built by Balfour Beattie. Children worked with sculptor Diarmuid Byron O’Connor, exploring the demands of designing a sculpture for their own school grounds.

Who was involved

  • Teachers and children from Beacon Hill Community Primary, Surrey; Camelsdale Primary, West Sussex; Grayshott Primary, Hampshire; and Liphook Junior School, Hampshire
  • Creative practitioner: Diarmuid Byron O’Connor


How might schools come together to celebrate their local environment through sculpture?


  • To engage whole school communities in their local environment through a creative design process
  • To gain greater understanding of the positive experiences to be found in longer term creative projects, and filter this greater understanding into school practice
  • To begin to engage the wider community through their interaction and inspiration


This was a challenging project for the children: they had to push themselves to find solutions, applying their ideas to a real world design project and working with a professional sculptor. Through confronting a series of design challenges, the children’s confidence and determination increased and they developed creative resilience. Sketch books were used throughout to encourage creative freedom and problem solving.

Practitioners and teachers noticed advanced thinking during the project. Young people considered a wide range of ideas, presented their own inspiration in practical ways and worked through these to produce drawings and models that would work.

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It was hard but in a good way. He made us keep going; to think about things and to make changes.


I loved keeping a sketch book it was like making my own book with all my ideas in it.


It was really good to be able to concentrate on this over a longer time span. This meant that we could focus and build up a better understanding.


Yes I feel that I could do this again and could build on the ideas. It has been really good to understand the design process better.


slatter tree maquette