Emotional labour and developing schools as community hubs

Philippa Chandler, Sarah Backhouse

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


The benefits of schools as community hubs for students, teachers, families, and the wider community have been documented in Australia and internationally. Indeed, connecting with community is now a key performance indicator for many Australian school principals. Nevertheless, planning, designing, and sustaining community-facing schools can be time-consuming and demanding for the professionals tasked with their delivery. Successful hub projects rely on the creation of trusting partnerships and establishing and communicating shared visions, as well as deft management of entrenched attitudes, resistance to change, and at times conflict. This chapter examines the experiences of professionals involved in delivering schools as community hub projects. Data is drawn from a workshop, post-workshop survey and seven in-depth interviews with school principals, architects, hub partners, policymakers, and others tasked with delivering ‘school as community hub’ projects. Rewarding as hub projects can be, the findings suggest that they can place high demands on the emotional resources of those involved. Our evidence suggests a strong theme of emotional labour, with implications for wellbeing, job satisfaction, and burnout. As a counterbalance, we argue that hub partnership mediators, dedicated hub staffing, and training pathways for leaders may help sustain more schools as community hubs to benefit children, their families and the broader community.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSchools as Community Hubs
Subtitle of host publicationBuilding 'More than a School' for Community Benefit
EditorsBenjamin Cleveland, Sarah Backhouse, Philippa Chandler, Ian McShane, Janet M. Clinton, Clare Newton
Place of PublicationSingapore Singapore
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9789811999727
ISBN (Print)9789811999710
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Schools as community hubs
  • Vision
  • Leadership
  • Emotional labour
  • Principal wellbeing
  • Social infrastructure
  • Community schools
  • Community facilities
  • Learning environments

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