Lessons from the hubs – accelerated change and collaboration

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To slow the spread of COVID-19, the Scottish Government declared all local authority early learning, childcare and schools closed from 20th March 2020, except for critical provision for vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers.

These ‘hubs’ are strategically placed within each local authority to serve local primary and secondary schools. While the Scottish Government announced that local authorities must offer this service, the design and delivery of the hubs was driven by individual localities resulting in different operating models.

Some local authorities are working alongside private or third sector organisations, others foster closer collaboration between primary and secondary teachers, and some are delineating activities offered during typical school hours (run by teachers) and after school (run by CLD, librarians, active school and after school workers).

This diversity in provision means that the levels of access for children and young people from vulnerable families and from families of key workers varies. While operating models differ, all hubs are open to pupils from primary to early secondary, with specialised provision for early years, and pupils with additional support needs, also in place.

Lessons learned from the hub model:

  • Speed of development—interviewees all commented that the speed with which the hubs were established and new ways of working set-up under highly unusual circumstances should be celebrated. The pandemic was described as creating a ‘perfect storm’ for bringing about rapid change. The lessons learnt from the set up of the hubs offer a valuable opportunity to review change processes and the associated bureaucracy.
  • Creation of new collaborative ways of working—the successful operation of the hubs has in large part relied on both new and strengthened working relationships across different sectors and organisations in the public and third sector. Interviewees commented that COVID-19 had ‘forced the agenda’ of joined up working in their local authority and challenged siloed ways of working.

You can download the full briefing here: Early Insights into the COVID-19 response 15 June 2020 (pdf)

Logo of the Creative Commons licence Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)Written content is published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence.

To cite this briefing: The Network for Social and Educational Equity, Early insights into the COVID-19 response – 15 June 2020, the Network for Social and Educational Equity, 15 June 2020, https://nsee.online/lessons-from-the-hubs/




We are the Network for Social and Educational Equity, based in the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change at the University of Glasgow. We work with governments, educational institutions, local authorities and teachers to promote educational change.

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About NSEE

The Network for Social and Educational Equity (NSEE) is part of the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change (ROC) at the University of Glasgow.

It works in collaboration with schools, local authorities, Education Scotland and partner services to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap in young people’s education.

NSEE helps schools to use appropriate evidence and data within collaborative working approaches to critically examine context and current arrangements, make changes based on evidence, monitor the impact of these changes and reflect on what they learn.

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