Creating a visually appealing yet functional homepage for your school or trust is challenging. It isn’t easy to strike the right balance between including all the information, links and announcements and making it look engaging and fresh for staff and students.
What’s more, creating and maintaining SharePoint sites can be time-consuming. You want to make sure your school homepage is updated with the latest news, announcements and resources, but you don’t want to be tied to manually updating it every day.
We’ve created this ultimate guide, so you have all your bases covered, from must-have web parts for schools and trusts to simple design tips that will transform how your pages look.
The best part? Once set up, a lot of the content automatically updates, pulling information from other SharePoint sites, document libraries and external web pages.
Get started creating a school homepage in SharePoint.
Your SharePoint homepage is made up of different web parts. Web parts are essentially widgets or content blocks that can be configured to display different types of information.
You can add web parts to the sections of your SharePoint homepage.
How to add a section to your SharePoint homepage.
Hit Edit at the top-right-hand corner of your SharePoint homepage.
Select the plus icon in the top left corner of your homepage to bring up a list of Section types to choose from:
- One column
- Two columns
- Three columns
- One-third left
- One-third right
- Full-width section
- Vertical section
Tip: Use several different section types on your SharePoint homepage to make them more visually interesting.
How to add a new web part to your SharePoint page.
- Hover over a section, and a plus icon will appear.
- Hit the plus icon to bring up a list of available web parts.
- You can use the search part to look for a specific web part, or filter by category.
- Select the web part you wish to add to your page.
Note: Some web parts are only available in certain sections.
Some top tips for creating a beautiful SharePoint site:
- Use different section types to make your site look more interesting.
- Stick to a specific colour scheme.
- Use the Spacers web parts to spread out content on your page.
- Stick to high-quality images that are either taken by your school or trust, or from the Microsoft stock image bank.
We have created a full guide on how to make SharePoint sites look great here.
Must-have web parts for your school or trust SharePoint homepage.
Sharing links, resources and documents in SharePoint.
With the Hero web part, you can add up to five links on a hero-style banner with clickable tiles.
You can pick 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 links.
Some example destinations you could link to on your school or trust homepage are important documents and policies, key areas of the SharePoint site or external links to other frequently used sites.
Customise your Hero banner by:
- Editing the title of the link.
- Adding a background image – you can use a colour block, add your own image or choose from one of the many stock images from Microsoft’s library.
- Add alternative text to assist usability and accessibility.
- Add/remove a call to action such as “Learn more” or “Visit now”
Jump to the Hero Links section in the video.
This is a Cloud Design Box exclusive web part.
The Promoted Links web part helps you navigate the key document libraries within the current SharePoint site.
You can add a different title – for example, “Libraries” or “Resources” and configure it to show certain libraries.
Save time by checking “Include document libraries from the current site automatically”. Doing this ensures that any new libraries created in this SharePoint site are automatically shown in your Promoted Links section.
Tip: Users with permissions can add a new document library by selecting New and Document Library.
Jump to the Promoted Links section of the video.
The Quick Links web part allows you to add a list of links to internal or external pages.
It’s easy (and quick) to add a link, and you can rename the links and customise their icon or image.
Jump to the Quick Links section of the video.
Sharing news and announcements on SharePoint.
Add a news feed to your SharePoint homepage to share announcements and news with the rest of the school or trust.
You can configure the News web part to pull in news from different sources. For example, the current SharePoint site, multiple SharePoint sites or news that is tailored to the current user (this pulls news from any sites that the user is a member of).
The filter tool is handy if you want to only show news with certain keywords. For example, “Sports” if you are designing a sports homepage.
Pick from several different view options, including a list, side-by-side, tiles or carousel.
There is a slider option to choose the number of news items to display, and you can also choose whether to display info, such as number of views, author and publish date.
Tip: Users with permission can add a new news post or link. Select New in the top-left-hand corner and News link or News post.
Jump to the News web part section of the video.
The Events web part enables you to post important events to your site.
Similar to the News web part, you can configure it to display events from certain sources. For example, “Events from this site”.
You can also narrow down your events by category or date range.
On top of this, you can choose whether to display your events in a film strip or grid style.
Add a new Event by hitting Add Event at the top of the web part.
From here, you can add a title and image, choose your start and end times, and a location or meeting link if it’s online.
You can also set a category, add a description or invite and tag people.
Jump to the Events section of the video.
Another way to ensure your school SharePoint homepage isn’t static is to embed social media feeds.
The Twitter web part can be used to display tweets from any account. We’d suggest using it for your school or trust’s Twitter account.
Simply type in the username to start displaying Tweets from that account.
Jump to the Twitter section of the video.
Personalised SharePoint web parts.
The My Profile web part automatically creates a profile banner that is tailored to the user who is logged in.
The profile includes the user’s photo, name and a list of handy links that are relevant to them. For example, My Classes, My Assignments and OneDrive.
Jump to the My Profile section of the video.
The My Events web part gives you a quick glance at your upcoming events by showing your calendar events from Outlook. This is exclusive to Cloud Design Box customers.
With this web part, you can flick back and forth through the days of your calendar.
You can also select Open My Calendar to open a full view of your calendar in Outlook.
Jump to the My Events section of the video.
My Class Teams.
The My Class Teams web part brings in all the Class Teams you’re a member of, whether you’re a student or teacher. This is exclusive to Cloud Design Box customers.
You can click on a Class Team, which will take you directly to the class within Microsoft Teams.
Jump to the My Class Teams section of the video.
My Assignments is great for student homepages as it allows students to see all their current and upcoming assignments. This is exclusive to Cloud Design Box customers.
The student can see what assignments are coming up, what class they’re for and when they’re due. The ones that are overdue are highlighted in red.
Jump to the My Assignments section of the video.
Add media and other content to your SharePoint homepage.
YouTube and video.
You can embed a YouTube video by inserting the YouTube web part and copying and pasting in the YouTube link or embed code.
Tip: If you want to embed a video into SharePoint that is hosted on another platform (i.e. not YouTube), you can use the Embed web part.
Jump to the Add Video section of the video.
Word of the Day.
The Word of the Day web part updates every day of the year with a different word. This is exclusive to Cloud Design Box customers.
You can select our pre-populated word banks, or create your own list of words. The Word of the Day web part could also be used for a “Quote of the Week”.
Jump to the Word of the Day section of the video.
If you want to share our helpful teaching and learning guides with your staff and students, you can use the CDB Blog Post web part to automatically pull through our latest blogs, guides, podcasts, videos and resources.
Depending on the page you’re creating, you can filter our blogs to focus on student tips, teacher guides or parent guides.
Jump to the CDB Blogs section of the video.
Found these tips useful? Share this guide with your colleagues.