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Franche first school, near Kidderminster, Worcestershire

(Photograph) - Franche first school, near Kidderminster, Worcestershire, began offering extended-hours childcare from a mobile classroom to five pupils in 1993, James Sturcke writes.

More than a decade later it caters for more than 900 youngsters, aged three months to 14 years from 10 schools. The facilities include a breakfast club, after-school care and a homework club and holiday care.

Val Weddell-Hall, the headteacher, said: "We call it Franche 726 because it's open from 7am to 6pm for 50 weeks of the year."

She said the key to success was thorough consultation to find out the local community's needs, and a partnership with the council's social services and other agencies about the goals of the project.

Parents pay around pound;2 an hour for childcare or pound;15 for full-day supervision during school holidays.

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