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.
Here’s a full guide on how to design a great SharePoint school homepage, but here are some ideas to get you going:
- A main hero banner linking key resources and documents.
- A news feed to share updates and announcements.
- An events section displaying upcoming important dates/events.*
- A school/trust Twitter feed.
- An eye-catching call to action banner.*
- A word of the day/quote of the week.*
- A message from the Head.
- Interesting designs and section breaks. *
- Links to other SharePoint sites/document libraries.
- FAQs sections.*
*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.
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.
And, with the CDB Section Breaks Web Part, you can make sure your sites look interesting and professionally designed.
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!).
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.
And, when everything is centralised in the cloud, resources can be used and improved upon year after year.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.