How the Hub came to be...

Schools as Community Hubs - An Introduction

Kirklees Council is changing the way it works and will be increasing the focus on health and wellbeing, economic resilience and strengthening early intervention and prevention. This will help to support families sooner, prevent problems arising and reduce the demand for more costly interventions at a later date. These changes are taking place against the backdrop of significant reductions in public spending and changes to the role of local authorities.

Schools engage with families and children every day and they have a unique and hugely valuable position within our communities. It is therefore critical that the council, schools and their partners work more closely together as we begin to shape future services. The Council is committed to working differently with communities and schools in order to make best use of scarce resources.

There are many good examples of collaboration between schools and council services across Kirklees, but there is scope to go much further. School leaders are keen to develop a greater role for schools within the wider community, and already contribute significant resources to supporting children and families beyond the traditional role of teaching and learning.

Between January and March 2015 briefing sessions led by the Chief Executive were delivered to school leaders and governors to describe the way the Council and its relationship with schools is changing and how new ways of working based on partnerships and co-production between schools, the council and the wider community are being developed with a small group of enthusiastic and committed school leaders to explore a future role for schools - and in particular their role as co-ordinators and commissioners of a wide range of services for children, families and communities . In July 2015 at the ‘Building the Future Together’ Conference the Chief Executive, Cabinet Members, Senior Officers and Head Teachers described their vision for schools as community hubs.

The Council's Vision Statement for all Hubs

...something we are really buying into

Vision Statement

Strong partnerships/clusters/collaboratives of schools (hubs) will be the vehicle for delivering a range of services for children, families and the wider community.

The vision for hubs is to:

  1. Secure the delivery of a seamless offer of early intervention and prevention from birth (via children’s centres core offer) through to support for adults (via adult services).
  2. Have strong executive leadership with clear, transparent governance, accountability, commissioning and performance management arrangements.
  3. Secure sustainable models of governance and operation which extend beyond the life of individual head teachers/ leaders.
  4. Have fluid and flexible geographical boundaries defined by what makes sense to schools and their communities (i.e. school catchment areas/pyramids/academy Trust). These may or may not be co-terminus with previously used ward/locality boundaries. Schools may belong to other ‘partnerships’ in addition to being part of a defined hub.
  5. Ensure that schools, parents and the community will be participants and influencers in the shaping of services to meet identified local need. Not all hubs will be the same- there will not be a one size fits all model.
  6. Have co-located and integrated early intervention and prevention teams which will respond quickly to address need.
  7. Ensure that key workers provide consistency for children and families, they will build relationships with them and other professionals to ensure that needs are met.
  8. Intelligence and data will be shared between statutory agencies and schools to ensure effective service planning.
  9. Data sharing protocols will exist which ensure effective tracking of children and families and reduce duplication and ‘gaps’ within service delivery.

Testing new ways of working

...for the families of our locality

In order for the vision for community hubs to be realised a number of schools are trialling and testing new ways of working with the Council and other partners. This work is not intended to be a stand-alone activity but will be part of a larger portfolio of inter-dependent change programmes which all contribute to the delivery of New Council by 2018.  This programme of activity as a working title of ‘Schools as Community Hubs Programme’.

Trialler and Tester Hubs

The ‘Trialers and Testers’ are working with the local authority and other partners in health and the voluntary and community sector to co-produce and test new ways of working; developing new models of children, family and community services.

Emergent Hubs

A number of schools have expressed an interest this work and the council are developing capacity to be able to offer support and facilitation to these groups of schools too. 

We are an EMERGENT hub.

Our Approach to Developing Hubs

A Council led facilitation and support programme will be underpinned by the following values and principles:

  1. Positive working relationships and trust between stakeholders will be built on, supported and facilitated.
  2. Vulnerable children, families and communities will be safeguarded during any service redesign.
  3. The focus on raising school standards, improving learning outcomes and supporting health and wellbeing will remain paramount.
  4. Work will proceed at pace to demonstrate change is happening.
  5. Learning from local trialling and testing, regional and national research will be shared to secure an evidence based approach to service re-design and change management.
  6. Re designed service will be replicable and built for spread and sustainability.
  7. Service redesign will be community/school-led, use co-production, asset based approaches and will take a ‘whole family’ approach.