A SCHOOL in Bolton will become one of the first in the country to launch its own childminding agency.

St Bede’s Academy in Morris Green will set up its own agency this September.

The school currently runs three nurseries and seven out-of-school clubs with three new venues opening in October.

Headteacher Jack Hatch said: “Some parents will want a nursery for their child, and others will want a childminder.

“But all of them want to be confident they are getting the best quality care for their child and we feel we can offer this to them at an affordable cost.”

The school is one of two taking part in the department of education pilot.

The academy will offer its services from September, and has already met with Ofsted inspectors. It is now recruiting childminders.

Mr Hatch was described as a hero by Elizabeth Truss, parliamentary under secretary of state for education and childcare, for overcoming red tape to set up childcare from 7am to 6pm, 52 weeks per year.

Parents will be able to call the school’s childminding agency in the same way they would call any other childminder.

Kimberley Dearden, who is the agency’s manager, said: “St Bede Childcare strives to keep up with, and ahead of, current trends in the community.

“It is with this in mind that we want to provide affordable quality childcare to all families.

“Our aim is to be able to fit in with what families need, being consistent with quality early education and being open and involved in new initiatives.

“We need to be constantly looking at what is needed both nationally and locally.”

She said that childminders would be able to benefit from the school’s resources including training, IT support, a sensory room and more, with St Bede Services offering sickness and holiday cover.

Some 20 organisations, which are mostly local councils, will trial the new Government scheme to support childminders with training and advice to provide parents with easy access to quality childcare.