How does the expression of interest process work?

Primary schools are invited to submit an Expression of Interest to be considered for inclusion in the National Community Hubs Program.

The EOI covers:

  • whether your school meets the compulsory eligibility criteria of:
    • being a primary school
    • having a dedicated space available
    • committing to co-fund the community hub after two years
  • whether you commit to attending regular principals’ meetings
  • your current activities to engage with newly arrived migrant families
  • whether you agree to actively advocate for the community hub within your school, and to create an inclusive environment for your hub leader
  • the diversity of your school’s local community, and what are the top three geographic regions represented.

What are the benefits of hosting a community hub for schools?

A recent evaluation of the National Community Hubs Program found that it led to a number of benefits for the school and the wider community. A hub enhanced the schools’ capacity to form collaborative partnerships with families, and to respond to the needs and aspirations of families.

Principals and school staff also reported that their awareness of, and connections to, early years and other community services has increased as a result of having a hub. Furthermore, most local community service staff and principals reported that as a result of the hub, the school and community services were working collaboratively to develop shared plans to work with migrant communities.

How does the National Community Hubs Program work?

Hubs are supported by the school Principal and the school community, a hub coordinator and other hubs, and nationally, by Community Hubs Australia. The success of the hub relies on the collaboration of the hub coordinator, hub leader, and school principals and leadership team.

Each community hub is different, because each hub responds to the needs of its local community, available services, and characteristics of its host school.

How is a community hub managed?

Each hub is managed by a hub leader. The hub leader is employed by the school and reports to the school Principal. The hub leader acts as a liaison between the primary school’s staff, women and children and their families. They connect them to other community organisations and key stakeholders, such as local migrant resource networks, health and community services, to establish the best possible interface between families and services.

Community Hubs Australia supports professional development of hub leaders and support agencies, and provides opportunities for support and engagement of principals across the hubs network. A coordinator supports hub leaders by providing training, facilitated workshops, coaching, and advice on building hub capacity and linking with the local service system around the hub. They also provide material to support network meetings and quality improvement activities. The hub coordinator will work closely with each school principal and hub leader.

How are community hubs funded?

The National Community Hubs Program is funded by the Australian Government, state and local governments and the Scanlon Foundation. Schools are expected to co-fund the community hub after two years.

What do schools need to be eligible for a community hub?

The following are key to the success of a community hub:

  • Your school Principal and leadership team must be committed to actively supporting the hub, its programs, and the community hub leader.
  • Your local community must have a diverse population.
  • You must be able to provide a designated space, such as a classroom, for the exclusive use of the hub. The space must be big enough to run group activities, and be accessible to the community during the day (subject to standard school visitor processes). The hub leader should be able to access other spaces in the school where possible and within reason (e.g. a kitchen, library or hall).
  • Your school Principal must be committed to attending quarterly principal meetings to be hosted by your local support agency, and to releasing your hub leader to attend regular network meetings and professional development events.

Why do we need community hubs?

Migrant and refugee families are among Australia’s most vulnerable residents. They can quickly become isolated from the rest of the community, particularly parents caring for preschool children. These young children are undergoing a critical stage of human development. Without access to early childhood learning and development experiences, they are at risk of starting school developmentally behind their peers. Early intervention to reach and support these families, and especially their children, is the best investment in moving people out of poverty into self-sufficiency. Evidence indicates that the best way to achieve successful settlement outcomes for these hard-to-reach families is to establish trust-based relationships that engage them at the local level.