NEW – Create beautiful SharePoint Hero Banners with Cloud Design Box

The CDB Hero Banner is the latest addition to our customer-exclusive Webparts for SharePoint, allowing you to create a captivating and interactive hero banner for any SharePoint site. 

With the Hero Banner Webpart you can: 

  • Captivate your audience the moment they land on your page 
  • Promote messages and call to actions 
  • Embed news and information 
  • Keep everyone in the loop with the most recent updates and stories 

Let’s take a look at the Webpart in action:

video placeholder


Add an eye-catching Hero Banner to SharePoint 

  1. Head to the SharePoint page you wish to add the Hero Banner to. 
  2. Tap Edit. 
  3. Tap the plus button (+) to add a new Section.  


We’d recommend choosing Full-width section for the CDB Hero Banner Webpart to get the full impact.

4. Tap CDB Hero Banner to add the web part to your new section. A default Hero Banner will be added to your page, ready for you to customise it (see below). 

5. When you’re happy with your new Hero Banner, hit Republish to save your changes.  

Customise your CDB Hero Banner for SharePoint  

You can customise the CDB Hero Banner by tapping Edit. 

Below are some of the great customisation options: 

Welcome message with user’s display name 

Add your own Welcome Text and choose whether to show the user’s display name. 

Add a personalised welcome message to SharePoint for every user

Welcome paragraph  

Add a short welcome paragraph that will appear underneath the main welcome message.  

Call to action link  

Add a call to action button that links to a specific action/page.  

Background image  

You can select from a list of stock images or enter a link to a custom background image. 

animation of cdb hero web part banner


You have the option to include news on your Hero Banner. Simply toggle on and off the News option.  

news in cdb hero web part

By default, News will show the three most recent news items from every site within your tenant that the user has access to. 

However, you do have the option to Restrict news to this site only and also link to a custom SharePoint news source site.  

The CDB Hero Banner for SharePoint is a Cloud Design Box customer-exclusive feature. Find out more information about Cloud Design Box and how we can support your organisation with SharePoint. 




Microsoft Classwork | A Teacher’s Guide

As we delve deeper into the digital era of education, teachers and students alike seek more efficient ways to manage and access learning resources. Enter Microsoft Teams’ latest classwork update, a game-changer in educational technology. Biology teacher and edtech trainer, Mr Exham, provides a comprehensive walkthrough in his insightful video, addressing common frustrations and showcasing how this update simplifies and enhances the educational experience.

Exploring the Key Features:

  • Organising Resources into Modules: Teachers can effortlessly compile resources such as assignments, links, and files into distinct modules. This systematisation is a significant leap from the previous scattering of materials across different locations.
  • User-Friendly Interface: The ease of dragging and dropping files, creating new assignments, and embedding links to channels or external websites, as shown in the video, emphasises the user-friendly aspect of this update.
  • Accessibility for Students: From a student’s perspective, these modules are a gateway to a more organized and accessible learning experience, as they can easily find all their course materials in one place.
  • Direct Video Recording: An exciting feature that Mr Exham highlights is the ability to record and directly add instructional videos to the modules, adding a personal touch to the digital learning space.
  • Integrated Assignment Management: The integration of assignments into modules is a thoughtful addition, allowing for a cohesive educational journey within the Teams environment.

Anticipating Future Features:

Mr Exham also gives us a glimpse into the future with the upcoming feature of reusing modules, which promises to save time and effort for educators in subsequent years.

The classwork update in Microsoft Teams is not just a tool but a transformation in the way educators and students interact with course materials. It aligns perfectly with the needs of modern education, where efficiency, accessibility, and organisation are key.

Stay ahead in the ever-changing world of Teams, OneNote, and SharePoint by subscribing to our newsletter.

Cloud Design Box finalists in Hull Live Business Awards 2023

Cloud Design Box is celebrating nominations for two categories in this year’s Hull Live Business Awards.

As a company, we have been shortlisted for Best Place to Work, while our IT Operations Lead Joe Bannister is a finalist for Rising Star 2023.

Hull Live Awards

We are thrilled to be shortlisted for Best Place to Work, as we always say Cloud Design Box is more than just a team, we’re a family.  

With a close-knit group of 19 individuals, compromising both office and remote workers, everyone knows one another, and each member is valued for their unique contributions. 

Cloud Design Box TeamCloud Design Box Team at the Company Conference 2023

Our company is dedicated to improving education. Every member of the team shares the same common goal of enhancing educational and business experiences, whilst simultaneously providing excellent customer service. This shared purpose creates a strong sense of unity and drives the team to deliver exceptional results.  

We place great emphasis on individual progression, and all staff members take mandatory Continuous Professional Development (CPD) time.   

mental health wellbeing

We are dedicated to promoting awareness, and educating staff on the importance of wellbeing, mental health, and self-care. Our Staff Wellbeing Officer ensured that all Wellbeing Champions and Managers are trained to not only deal with matters related to Wellbeing but also to recognise signs of struggle. Additionally, Wellbeing Champions conduct monthly Wellbeing catch-ups with each member of staff. 

We are proud to have achieved Gold Standard in the Mind Wellbeing Index 2023, which is a testament to our exceptional efforts in creating a supportive and healthy work environment. Additionally, our Staff Wellbeing Officer was awarded Mind’s Wellbeing Lead of the year, further exemplifying their commitment to wellbeing. 

James Emmett Wellbeing Lead Award Mind

Joe Bannister shortlisted for Rising Star

We’re equally delighted to announce that our IT Operations Lead is one of three Rising Stars at this year’s Business Awards.

Beginning his journey at Cloud Design Box in 2020 as a Support Engineer Apprentice, Joe’s innovative spirit shone brightly from the outset.  

Joe Bannister Cloud Design Box

After proving himself as an outstanding mentor for new staff members, he paved his way to becoming Deputy Support Manager, making him the youngest manager at the company.

Find out more about the Cloud Design Box team on our About Page

You can see the full list of finalists for the Hull Live Business Awards 2023 here.

HOW TO: Import assignment settings into a Microsoft Teams Class

For educators juggling teaching and administrative tasks, every minute is precious. Microsoft Teams offers a practical feature to streamline your workload: the ability to import assignment settings from one class to another.

Picture this: You’re setting up your digital classroom in Teams for the new academic term. The structure of your assignments largely mirrors those of the previous term or another class – the same guidelines, submission deadlines, and even notification settings. Rather than duplicating efforts by setting up each assignment from scratch, Microsoft Teams allows you to seamlessly import these settings, ensuring consistency and saving you a substantial amount of time. This function is not just a shortcut; it’s a strategic tool to enhance your focus on what truly matters – your students and their learning experiences.

In this blog post, we’ll walk through the simple steps to use this feature. Whether you’re tech-savvy or just getting comfortable with digital classroom management, this guide is designed to help you streamline your workflow, leaving you with more time to focus on creating impactful learning journeys for your students.

Find assignment settings

First, find an assignment that has the settings you’d like to copy. Simply:

    Select Teams.
    Choose a Team.

Screenshot of teams window in MS Teams

3. Open up Assignments.
4. Hit the Assignment Settings Cog in the top-right corner of the window.

A screenshot of the assignment settings cog in MS Teams

This displays your current assignment settings. These include:

  • Assignment Timeline – Set assignments for future dates.
  • Calendar – Add future assignments to calendars.
  • Notifications – Receive notifications (e.g. if a student hands in a piece of work late).
  • Parent/Guardian Email – Send a weekly email about assignments to parents/guardians.
  • New Students – Allow new students to receive assignments created before they joined the class.
  • Fun Stuff – Enable turn in celebrations for this team.

You can also view Grade Settings on this page, including:

  • Average Grade – Allow students to view their average grade and trend over time in the Grades tab.
  • Weighted Grading Categories – Establish assignment types and assign weights to reflect their importance.

Import assignment settings

To import the settings from your chosen assignment:

1. Select Import Settings From Another Class.

Assignment settings in MS Teams

2. Scroll down the list of classes and select the Class you’d like to import the settings from.
3. Hit Next.

A screenshot of a list of classes from which to import assignments settings

You can also import settings from a previous year’s class. Just scroll down until you find the relevant class.

The next box will give you a breakdown of the assignment settings that will be imported, including:

  • Assignment Timeline
  • Calendar
  • Notifications
  • Parent/guardian email
  • New students
  • Fun stuff

4. Tap Import Settings.

Confirmation of imported assignment settings

Now, the settings will be imported into the current assignment. Don’t forget to import the settings for all your other classes that have identical assignment settings!


Import assignment settings allows you to easily copy the assignment settings without having to manually set up all of your individual assignments’ settings. This can save teachers a lot of time as educators often find themselves setting up new assignments time and time again. As this is such a frequent task for educators, streamlining this process can seriously save a lot of time in the long-run, allowing teachers to spend more time focussing on creating effective teaching materials and lesson plans instead of administrative tasks in Teams.

Contact Cloud Design Box to find out how we can help you supercharge Microsoft Teams for education.

Cloud Design Box Staff Wellbeing Officer to speak at Mental Health at Work Conference

James Emmett, Cloud Design Box’s Staff Wellbeing Officer and Onboarding and Adoption Manager, is speaking at the Mental Health at Work Conference hosted by Westminster Insight.

James Emmett Onboarding and Adoption Manager and Staff Wellbeing Officer

About the Mental Health and Work Conference 

Taking place on Friday 1 December 2023, the conference brings together employers, leadership teams, managers and psychologists to discuss the vital part employers play in the prevention, identification and provision of support for people experiencing poor mental health.   

The event delves into a range of topics, including the impact of government reforms on mental health in the workplace, legal responsibilities of employers, and strategies to improve disclosure of mental health needs. Speakers will also address crisis response and challenging conversations surrounding suicide and addiction. 

Mental Health at Work Conference

About James Emmett  

At Cloud Design Box, James has played a pivotal role in shaping a workplace culture that prioritises staff wellbeing, creating a resource-packed wellbeing intranet for all staff to access from any connected device, setting up monthly wellbeing chats for every member of the team and dedicated staff training to help managers spot the signs of poor mental health.  

His talk will focus on three key areas: 

  • Identifying trends and changes in employee productivity  
  • Tackling the causes of absenteeism and presenteeism 
  • Monitoring stress and fatigue to reduce burnout rates 

James’ dedication to staff wellbeing has not gone unnoticed.   

Earlier this year, he was awarded the prestigious Wellbeing Lead Award at Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Awards, while Cloud Design Box was honoured with the “Achieving Excellence” in the charity’s Workplace Wellbeing Index. 

James Emmett Wellbeing Lead Award Mind

“For me, the Mental Health at Work Conference is a great opportunity for people to come together and share what works in practice with others looking to improve staff wellbeing,” says James in anticipation of the event. 

“Staff wellbeing is, and has to be, at the heart of everything we do. We can’t succeed and embody our Company Values – one of which is ‘Friendly and Supportive’ – if our staff are not thriving and performing at their best. It means creating a work environment that fosters positive relationships, supports personal and professional growth and provides resources and tools to help our employees manage stress and achieve work-life balance.” 

Book your place at Westminster Insight’s Mental Health at Work Conference today.  

Meanwhile, connect with James Emmett on LinkedIn.

Visit Cloud Design Box at Schools and Academies Show 2023

Cloud Design Box is attending the Schools and Academies Show at the Birmingham NEC on Wednesday 22 November 2023.  

The conference takes place twice a year and attracts over 6,000 attendees, representing Schools, Academies, MATs, Local Authorities, Central Government, Specialist Charities and the wider education sector. 

About Cloud Design Box 

Cloud Design Box will be on Stand A10, and our team of Microsoft Education experts will be on hand to demonstrate how we’re currently supporting over 450 schools, academies, colleges and MATS to: 

  • Encourage communication and consistency 
  • Onboard everyone at your school or MAT 
  • Dedicate more time to teaching and learning 
  • Streamline senior leadership  

As established Microsoft Partners, we help you build a powerful central hub in SharePoint and Microsoft Teams that promotes collaboration and ignites teaching and learning.  

Meanwhile, our experience with hundreds of schools and trusts allows us to create a clear, long-term strategy that maximises user adoption across your entire organisation.  

Cloud Design Box Team Training Session Microsoft Experts

Visit us at the Schools and Academies Show 2023 

We’re looking forward to joining the education community at the Schools and Academies Show 2023, which promises inspiring content and practical resources helping to improve outcomes for pupils and teachers.  


Register for free for the Schools and Academies Show if you work in a school, academy, MAT, local authority, central government or the wider education sector. 

Managing Email Notifications in Microsoft Teams

Some people love receiving Microsoft Teams notification emails. Others prefer them to be turned off all together. Notification emails allow us to:

  • Be instantly aware of updates on Teams.
  • Be updated even if we aren’t logged into Teams.
  • Prioritise messages based on sender, urgency or content.
  • Manage overwhelm by reducing the amount of notifications we receive.

In this blog, we take a look at how to enable and disable this feature within Microsoft Teams. We also look at what email notifications look like and how to tailor them to our own preferences.

What do notification emails look like?

  • The title gives a brief summary of the notification details.
  • A link provides a direct link to the Teams page.
  • Links to the mobile apps are also available at the bottom of the email in case the user wants to see the Teams notification and is using a mobile device which does not yet have the Teams app installed.

Email view of MS Teams notification email

Remember, once you come back into Teams, you’ll see a number of notifications in a red circle on the Activity option. Once you select Activity, you’ll be taken to a feed with a list of previous activity. This means you can still see all of your previous activity history, even if you delete or don’t have access to your notification email.

Find out how to spend less time in your email inbox with Microsoft Teams and SharePoint here.

Set up email notifications

Setting up email notifications in Teams is easy. Simply:
1. On the Teams tab, hit the three dots in the top-right corner.

The three dots in the right-hand corner of MS Teams

2. Tap Settings.
3. Select the Notifications tab.

Notifications setting in Settings in MS Teams

4. Under Email, you’ll find a Missed Activity Email section.
5. Hit the dropdown box.

An image of the MS Teams setting interface where email notification settings can be tailored to your personal needs

Email frequency

1. Choose the email frequency that suits you.

  • As soon as possible
  • Once every 10 mins
  • Once every hour
  • Once every 8 hours
  • Daily
  • Off

2. Hit the ‘X’ in the top-right corner of the window. There’s no save button so your changes will be made automatically.

Appearance and sound

  • Toggle Show Message Preview.
  • Toggle Play Sound for Incoming Calls and Notifications.

Teams and channels

Choose between three options for the following desktop and activity notification types:

  • All Activity – New messages, reactions and all mentions.
  • Mentions and Replies – Personal mentions and replies to your messages.
  • Customised – Tailor the desktop and activity notifications to your personal preference.


Edit whether you want to be notified by email for chat:

  • Messages
  • Mentions
  • Reactions

Meetings and calls

Control notifications and reminders during your meetings and calls.


Keep track of:

  • People’s statuses.
  • People’s online or offline statuses.


Edit the assignment experience for classes.


Get education insights to help learners thrive.


Get recommendations, tips and prompts from Teams.

Find out more info on personalising your notification emails here.


Personalising your email notifications empowers educators to prioritise their work and keep up to date on the latest developments on their Team’s channels. This can be a hindrance for some so others may wish to disable the email notifications all together.

Contact Cloud Design Box to find out how we can help you improve collaboration and communication with an intranet.

How senior leaders in education can make the most of Microsoft Teams and SharePoint

Microsoft Teams and SharePoint have emerged as powerful platforms for schools and multi academy trusts (MATS), facilitating collaboration, improving communication and driving up the quality of teaching and learning. 

In this guide, we showcase some of the ways in which Microsoft 365 is supporting our MAT customers in accelerating digital transformation and streamlining senior leadership. 

Here’s an example of one trust-level intranet site we’ve created:


Build trust-wide communication

One of the biggest challenges for MATs is managing trust-wide communication, whether it’s distributing resources, informing staff of new policies, sharing best practices or publishing news and announcements.  

It’s challenging in two key ways: 

  • Getting information out to the right groups of people. 
  • Delivering the content in an engaging way.  

With SharePoint, you can bring together your entire trust with dynamic central hubs where you can tailor and share content for specific groups of staff, students and even parents.  

A centralised SharePoint intranet allows you to create a place where everyone can get the latest news, updates, announcements and resources.  

Not only does this help senior leaders to communicate the important stuff, but it also cuts down the amount of emails being sent, received and forgotten about in people’s already-overloaded inboxes.  

A main school or trust homepage can be created in SharePoint; this can be a central hub for school news, announcements, events and resources everyone needs on a regular basis.  

Design a SharePoint homepage

Here’s a full guide on how to design a great SharePoint school homepage, but here are some ideas to get you going: 

*Cloud Design Box customer exclusive. 

Meanwhile, areas for specific departments, subjects, year groups, and more can be created, with user permissions set up only to allow access to those who need it. 

Again, you can fill these hubs with all the information staff and/or students need about that specific topic. For example, a list of quick links to resources, a section for upcoming dates, links to resource libraries, an FAQs section and more. 

You can use a combination of SharePoint and Teams to have a designated place for each type of update or announcement.  

Add a news feed to your SharePoint homepage to share announcements and news.

The Call To Action SharePoint Web Part is a Cloud Design Box exclusive feature that allows you to quickly create professional-looking and eye-catching call to actions on your SharePoint sites. 

call to action banners in SharePoint

And, with the CDB Section Breaks Web Part, you can make sure your sites look interesting and professionally designed.

CDB Section Breaks


Here’s a guide on how to easily share news onto a SharePoint site and post documents as news in SharePoint. 

Create Eye-catching announcements in Microsoft Teams

Alternatively, you can share important announcements to specific groups in Teams.

Facilitate collaboration and improve quality of learning resources

Centralising learning resources in SharePoint and Teams allows your trust to build a powerful library of materials that can be shared, reused and improved year after year.

Instead of ten teachers creating ten versions of the same document, you can pool together your resources and free up time to spend on other areas, like grading, working with students or professional development (or even just taking a break!). 

centralising resources

With Microsoft 365, teachers can co-author Word Documents, PowerPoints, Excel Spreadsheets, and more in real-time with colleagues.

Why spend hours creating a resource from scratch that your colleague has already spent time making?   

Instead, easily and securely share, edit and co-create documents with others in your school, academy or trust.   

sharing resources

And, when everything is centralised in the cloud, resources can be used and improved upon year after year.

Here are some more ways that your teachers can save time creating learning resources with Microsoft Teams and SharePoint. 

With our Cloud Box solution, we manage your end-of-year process, so you don’t have to.  
Using our subject and department teams, you don’t need to start from scratch every academic year. It helps save teacher time by having a single approved set of resources. SLT can easily keep track of the quality of resources being used in their department.
We use Microsoft School Data Sync (SDS) to start a rollover and clean-up process; our centralised resource areas allow you to reuse resources year after year, while the Class Dashboard enables students to easily access archived Teams from previous academic years.

Connect across different schools

Getting everyone from the different schools in your trust in the same room can be difficult for MATs.

Microsoft Teams empowers MATs to function as one unified entity, regardless of physical distances between schools.

For example, you can create dedicated Teams channels for certain staff groups to instant message colleagues to discuss the latest projects.

Meanwhile, video calls in Teams bring everyone together and reduce the need for in-person meetings.

What’s more, you can record and store Teams meetings in OneDrive for rewatch later or if colleagues cannot make the call.

meeting recording

OneNote is another great tool for staff collaboration. You can create a Staff Notebook that sits within Teams that facilitates collaboration, saves time and keeps everything organised and in one place.

Create a Team Staff Notebook

Find more time in your day

As SLT in a MAT, there’s always something to do, whether it’s strategic planning, staff management, curriculum development, policy management, budget management or looking after student and staff welfare.

With a combination of tools in Microsoft 365 and Cloud Design Box’s purpose-built education solutions, senior leaders are able to find more time in their day to focus on the important stuff.

Check in with students and staff

Reflect check-ins in Class Notebook are a brilliant way for teachers to get a good understanding of which students may need additional support or guidance. 

Find out more about Reflect here.

Check Reflect check-in responses

Get insights into teaching and learning

Microsoft Teams Insights can help in providing detailed information on student engagement.

In these video guides, we take you through adding the insights tab to Class Teams and how to use it to track student usage, assessment trends, digital activity and much more.

Manage class cover quickly

Cloud Design Box’s Class Cover Manager allows SLT to quickly and easily organise class cover, making sure the member of staff has temporary access to the right learning resources and Class Team within seconds.

Here’s how to get started with our Class Cover Manager tool.

Organise class cover quickly in Microsoft Teams with CDB Portal

Search for student assignments

Our new Student Assignment Search allows you to effortlessly search for a student and view all of their Microsoft Teams assignments. As a head of year or registration group teacher, you can use this tool to support students with their workload or quickly check the status of assignments.

This feature not only displays current assignments but also allows you to view all past assignments. You will see the name and status of each assignment, as well as the class name and subject.

Assignment Search Feature

Select an assignment to delve deeper, where you can easily access teacher comments and view the assignment grade. The user can easily start a Teams chat with the person who set the assignment or send them an email.

Speak to our team today to find out how your school or MAT can make the most of Microsoft Teams and SharePoint.



We’re at The MAT Growth Conference 2023 

Cloud Design Box are attending this autumn’s MAT Growth Conference, hosted by The Multi Academy Trust Association (MATA).  

The one-day conference focuses on “leadership for growth” and features a variety of keynote sessions and workshops focusing on:  

  • Growing into a sustainable trust 
  • Improving the onboarding process for schools 
  • Understanding the latest in Ofsted’s role for MATs 
  • Growing beyond your locality, breaking barriers to further regional growth 
  • Creating a shared vision, ensuring all stakeholders and the organisation are on board 
  • Improving the outcomes for RI/inadequate schools when joining your MAT 
  • Strategies to improving your collaboration across the trust 

MAT Growth Conference

The day concludes with an interactive panel discussion, which explores the strategies and best practices for building strong interpersonal relationships and promoting effective collaboration in a MAT.  

The expert panellists, which include Sam Henson, Director or Policy at the National Governance Association and three representatives from several multi academy trusts, will share their experiences and perspectives on how to foster communication, trust and a shared vision.  

Who are MATA? 

The Multi Academy Trust Association (MATA) is ran by MAT leaders and is on a mission to support the growing community of trust leaders to collaborate and network with one another.  

Cloud Design Box Team Photo

Speak with Cloud Design Box at The MAT Growth Conference  

Our team will be on hand to speak to MAT leaders about streamlining communication across the trust and providing a solution that ensures quality across the MAT with a consistent set up as new schools are onboarded.  

We support trusts across the UK in creating a powerful central hub that fosters a culture of collaboration and communication, streamlines senior leadership and gives teachers and students the tools they need to teach and learn inside and outside the classroom.  

The MAT Growth Conference 2023 takes place on 3 October 2023 at 15Hatfields in London. Tickets are free for education professionals.