Tag Archives: staff notebook

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.



A guide to OneNote Staff Notebooks in Microsoft Teams

A OneNote Staff Notebook in Microsoft Teams is a digital notebook that helps teachers facilitate collaboration, save time and keep everything organised and in one place. 

At Cloud Design Box, we provision Staff Notebooks in Teams, automatically placing the right staff into their departments and subjects so they can always access their Staff Notebooks from any connected device. 

Staff Notebooks are very simple to set up and can help you increase efficiency by keeping all your essential information in one central place. 

This guide looks deeper into Staff Notebooks and shows you how to set up a new Staff Notebook in Microsoft Teams. 

How to set up a Staff Notebook in Microsoft Teams.

Head to the Teams channel you’d like to set up a notebook for and select the Staff Notebook tab at the top of your Teams window. 

If the Staff Notebook isn’t already set up, you can select Set up OneNote Staff Notebook

Set up OneNote Staff Notebook

Note: You must be the owner of the Staff Team to do this. The default owner is the head of the department. If you need to add another owner, contact your IT administrator.  

You can create a Blank Notebook or make one From existing notebook content

Tip: Consider using one you’ve already created if you’re creating notebooks for multiple sites. This can serve as a template you can edit for each subject rather than wasting time starting from scratch for every notebook.  

OneNote Staff Notebooks

The main features of a Staff Notebook include the following:

Staff member notebooks.

Staff member notebooks are private and only shared between staff leaders and individual staff members. You can use this space to take notes on professional development, evaluations and lesson plans. 

Content library.

The content library is a designated space where team leaders can share read-only documents with the rest of the team. It’s ideal for sharing subject resources, policies, procedures, school planning and more. 

Collaboration space. 

Keep your team connected with a collaboration space.  

A collaboration space allows your team to work together in real-time. This is a great way to share ideas, work on lesson plans and create meeting agendas and minutes.  

Leader-only section.

Designed to be accessed only by staff leaders and Team owners, the leaders-only section is excellent for drafting meeting agendas, planning materials and any other confidential information that team leaders should only see. 

Staff Notebook Leader-Only Section

What we love about Staff Notebooks in Teams:

Everything is in one place. 

Your Staff Notebook is automatically added as a tab to your Teams channel, so you can simply stay in the Teams app to get the resources you need for that particular department or subject. 

Organise everything in sections.

Add colour-coded sections to your staff notebooks to organise the content and make everything easy to find. You can add as many sections as you’d like at any time. 

For example, you could create a section for resources, one for different year groups, classroom feedback etc.  

Sections in Staff Notebooks

Create engaging content for your Staff Notebooks.  

You can create engaging content within your Staff Notebooks thanks to the many familiar Microsoft Office features, including charts, graphs and tables. 

OneNote Staff Notebooks Tables

Take time to reflect. 

Reflect is a relatively new tool in Teams and is great for checking on the welfare of both staff and students. Within Staff Notebooks, you can add the Reflect tool so staff can check in with their progress and wellbeing. 

We created a guide on Microsoft’s Reflect feature here

Reflect in Staff Notebooks

Notify your staff of important announcements. 

As items are added to a Staff Notebook, all Team members receive a notification. This is brilliant for saving time manually creating emails and messages to update your team, and it also reduces the number of emails your teachers and staff need to sort through. 

Distribute your staff notebooks. 

Share information with ease and confidence. You can distribute your notebooks to the whole Team or choose individual members in just a few taps. 

Access your staff notebooks from anywhere.  

Staff Notebooks in Teams can be accessed from your desktop or the Teams app on your smartphone, meaning all the information you need about a department or subject is at your fingertips. 

Found this helpful? Share this guide with your colleagues.