Considerable work has been undertaken over several years to establish primary schools as community hubs in the City of Hume through the Hubs Strategy Group for the Hume Communities for Children Initiative and, more recently, the Supporting Parents Developing Children project. This work has highlighted the need for a primary school community hub toolkit. The purpose of this review is to inform the development of a resource (e.g. a toolkit) that can be used by other schools so that they can also establish themselves as community hubs.
An agreed definition of schools as community hubs within the literature has not been reached. Rather, the notion of schools as community hubs seems to be understood in a variety of ways. For the purposes of this review we will draw on the definitions provided by Black (2008) and the Hubs Strategy Group for the Broadmeadows Communities for Children Initiative (2009). Black (2008) describes hubs as involving 'collaboration between school education systems and the other sectors (community, business, local government and philanthropy) to support the learning and wellbeing of young people, especially those facing disadvantage' (p. 6).
These collaborations can range from sharing, co-locating or joint use of physical facilities, through to schools as the centre of a hub or precinct that offers multiple services for the whole community.
In the City of Hume, the Hubs Strategy Group have conceptualised a hub as, a welcoming place for families that engages key service providers to work collaboratively. A hub can be a single location or a network of places working together to provide services, such as schools, kindergartens, maternal and child health, and other relevant agencies. Hubs facilitate connections between key services and professionals and represent a paradigm shift in the planning and practice of service provision. Services and their staff are required to rethink existing practice to move to an inclusive practices framework at a professional and community level.