Derbyshire celebrity officially opens new outdoor play facility at Laceyfields Academy

January 25, 2024


Articles, News


Derbyshire celebrity officially opens new outdoor play facility at Laceyfields Academy

Derbyshire celebrity Tom Chambers has officially opened a new outdoor play facility at Laceyfields Academy.

The actor is best known for his roles in the medical television dramas Casualty and Holby City and originates from Derbyshire.

Tom is currently performing on stage in the newly written play Murder in the Dark, which is touring theatres nationally until 31st March 2024.

His other television credits include Waterloo Road, Father Brown, now showing on BBC1 on Fridays and BBC iPlayer, and Strictly Come Dancing, which he won in 2008.

Tom visited Laceyfields Academy in Heanor where a class is named after him. Each of the school’s classes are named after Derbyshire heroes.

The school, which is Ofsted graded ‘good’, has 84 children aged 3 to 7-years-old.

Pupils and staff welcomed Tom to the school, based on Laceyfields Road, where he officially opened the new facility and met children in the class named after him.

The new woodland area is equipped with an outdoor classroom, a hide-out wooden hut, mud kitchen counters and planters.

Children, parents and staff were involved in suggesting ideas for the design of the new play facility. The final decision on its design was made by the school’s ‘pupil parliament’.

Shelley Rogers, Headteacher of Laceyfields Academy, said: “It was fantastic to welcome Tom Chambers to our school to officially launch a new woodland play area.

“We are fortunate to have an amazing outdoor space that we can transform into an exciting woodland area, and which will support our pupils’ learning and enhance the curriculum.

“It has been great to see the children so involved in the project. This launch event came about after pupils in Chambers class wrote to Tom Chambers to invite him to the school.”

Tom said: “It is totally unexpected and a great honour to have a class named after our family. My parents are over the moon and I think it will go down in history as one of my greatest achievements!”

“The school was an absolute delight with wonderful, caring and happy staff and, therefore, the children were too. It was so impressive and far better compared with my early school days.

“This school, Laceyfields, really is the next level. With so many sensory and imaginative areas of play and discovery, it is a school to nurture and be proud of. It’s a 10 from Len!”

Laceyfields Academy is part of Djanogly Learning Trust, which has provided the funding for the outdoor play area. The launch event took place on 19th January 2024.

Djanogly Learning Trust, based in Nottingham, runs nine schools in the East Midlands and has a strong track record for raising aspirations and achievement.

Mark Mallender, Chief Executive Officer, Djanogly Learning Trust, said: “Having the freedom and space to play outdoors nurtures children’s creativity and inspires them to become successful learners. We are delighted to see the new facility officially open with a visit from Tom Chambers.

“Our investment in the new woodland area at Laceyfields Academy reflects our commitment to ensuring that every child has the best opportunity to succeed, prosper and thrive.”

Pictured: Derbyshire celebrity Tom Chambers with Laceyfields Academy pupils.

Post by Holly