We recently launched the NSN Hub, a new website and app which will provide school leaders a safe space to discuss and share best practice. On our blog this week, we explain the rationale behind it and what's next.

Before the NSN Hub was released in late August, we had a conversation with a headteacher who recounted a story where he had travelled back from an event. On the train home, he started speaking to another school leader by chance, about their schools and the challenges they both faced. They swapped their personal details and over the coming months, compared notes and helped each other out. 

And that is why we created the NSN Hub: to give school leaders the opportunity to reach out to their peers and find solutions to their day to day (or larger) problems. We feel that this has been missing in the free school space and hope that the Hub can add real value to the sector. Every school leader we have spoken to has been effusive with praise for the Hub: some have told NSN they wish we had built it earlier! 

Exclusive to Hub members, we host a weekly ‘Sofa Session’ – an informal chat with a free school leader about the challenges they’ve faced and how they overcame their issues. Over the last few weeks we spoke to leaders who opened their school in 2019 about their initial months as a head. Our guests told us the importance of setting a school’s culture from day one. During another session on managing growth in the second year, our school leaders shared their recruitment strategies and spoke about the importance of forward planning.

In the coming weeks, we will speak to school leaders on topics such as remote recruitment and building management during COVID-19. In addition, we’ll host a special roundtable on 5th October, where 2020 openers will have the opportunity to share their experiences of the first months at their new free schools. 

Via the Hub, members will also have access to online events, training and networking sessions – focusing on the specific challenges facing free schools. 

Currently, the Hub is only accessible to school leaders who opened their school this year and last. In the coming months, we will integrate school leaders who opened in 2018 and those who are planning to open for the first-time next year. 

By the end of the 2021-22 academic year we want the Hub to be a free school leader’s first stop to go to for information, inspiration, and support in these challenging times. 

The Hub is available through either web browser or mobile app, it is a private network and completely free to use. If you would like to join, contribute or learn more about the Hub, please do not hesitate to contact us here.