Skip to content ↓

The Downley School

“Learning, Growing and Succeeding Together”

Our Values Sculpture!

We are so proud of our Values Sculpture! 

Our Values Sculpture was officially opened last week and we are thrilled with it!

Funding grants were received from The Big Lottery Fund, Ernest Cook Trust and Wycombe District Council which enabled The Downley School to commission artists Alex and Pete from Xceptional Designs and to form a fantastic partnership.

The brief for the project was for the pupils to engage in a process of creative outdoor learning, with children working alongside professional artists to explore how the sculpture might reflect our inner and outer worlds – the values that guide our behaviour, and the way in which we care for the land as a consequence of these values.  For our pupils to learn specific new skills and knowledge about how public art is made, to think about how to respond artfully and sensitively to a location, and also to make explicit connections between the values focussed on in school and the impact of our actions on the environment.

The project was led by the children; a panel of children and staff interviewed a selection of artists who had applied to work on the project.

They chose Xceptional Designs from Hull, because they said that every child would be involved in the design and the creation of the sculpture. Their website showed some of their work in other places and was very impressive – you can now see our work on it!



Focussing on our school values, children from all year groups created 2D designs which they turned into 3D models with Alex and Pete’s guidance.

These models were grouped and a favourite one from each group was turned into a scale model. 

The whole school community then voted for which model they would like to be turned into the sculpture.

The tree was the most popular one!


Alex and Pete returned to Hull with the scale model and made plans! They had some complicated mathematical challenges to work out as well as the actual design.  

When they returned for the next part of the process, every child was able to help create a part of the actual sculpture. Some children and staff helped to lay mosaic tiles and the rest of the children worked in groups to design one of eighty values leaves!

Back to Hull and the actual construction. We Skyped Alex and Pete and watched them pressing and riveting metal leaves in their workshop. It looked like very hard work!

Finally they returned to install the sculpture....


It is so beautiful! Every leaf tells a story and the tree seems to change as the sunlight strikes it from different directions.


We learned so much and now have an amazing piece of public art which means so much to us and represents everything our school is about!

Well done and thank you to everyone involved in this awesome project!

Click on the links below to see more photos of each stage...

The First Visit - 2D Designs to 3D Models

Alex and Pete's Workshop

The Leaves

The Mosaic

The Installation