Using OneNote in Schools – a very brief guide for staff

Moving to OneNote

Now, any move and change within a school will face difficulties. Whether that’s being met by staff who believe there’s no reason to change, or general hiccups along the way.

That’s not to say that change can’t be fun or really improve your procedures for the better. With a little work, and some “OneNote” heroes, you could find the benefits of OneNote massively worthwhile.

We’ll take you through a few steps that could help you get to grips with using this fab-u-lous Microsoft tool. First off, it’s always worth remembering that if you use something frequently you’ll always improve. Whilst it may be terrifying to start your students off before you’ve fully got to grips with the tech, bear in mind that they’ll probably find the entire experience massively intuitive – and they’ll be teaching you how to at the end of it!

For Staff

Using OneNote as a collaborative tool

  • Basic Use (note sharing)

    The leadership team decide to introduce OneNote to improve the way your school shares notes from meetings. These notes become immediately accessible to everyone who was required at the meeting. Once actions have been taken, you can filter the notes down to the wider team quickly and easily. Due to the collaborative nature of OneNote, if there’s a query about a particular comment from the meeting one can highlight and question it on the fly. It’s easy enough to simply write a question next to the note. This central notes record also improves the efficiency of follow-up tasks and forming the agenda for the next meeting.

  • Intermediate Use (lesson planning)

    Each week your year group or stage group meet to discuss the planning and resources required for the following week. Wouldn’t it be great if the notes you make, and the resources you choose, and the planning you set are all available within one “workbook”? Well, use the free Class NoteBook add-in to create content libraries and resource banks filled with helpful content that teachers and TA’s have access to. There’s no more endless files of printed paper, and certainly no more relentless to-and-fro emailing. OneNote puts collaboration at your fingertips so you can change, manage, and edit planning as you move through the week.

  • Advanced Use (cross-school sharing)

    Once you’ve implemented successful teacher-year-group-sharing, extend this to your entire school. In the same way you’ve seen the success from lesson planning, you could see your subject coordinators with their own large “class notebook” devoted to science. This way, they can keep curriculum changes up-to-date with resources they may find quickly put into the content library. By sharing this with all staff in the school, you can reducing the time (and cost) associated with printing lots of documents and posting them in pigeon holes, but you’re not going to miss anyone out from the information. A big added benefit here is being able to prove to Ofsted that you have a “whole school, consistent approach” when it comes to extensions, resources, and curriculum.

  • Super Use (all admin in OneNote)

    Now, this idea could take some getting used to. If you’ve fully got to grips with the other uses of OneNote for staff above, it’s time to take the biggest dive. That being said, if you’ve got the hang of it, this will probably already be on your agenda.
    It’s time to move all your admin-based needs into OneNote, and quickly improve efficiency and reduce staff workload. This can include areas such as staff handbooks, coordinator files, data monitoring and even Intervention Tracking. Just create a whole school “Class Notebook” and give each teacher/member of staff their own notebook. The content library allows you to share your handbooks, and each staff Notebook can have collaborators as they see fit. This means daily activities become more collaborative. As a result, morale improves and it’s a better environment for teaching and learning.

Please be aware that these are all suggestions for helping you to create a fun and efficient implementation of OneNote. You can, of course, use any number of ways in your own implementation. For more information and guides on using OneNote in schools, please visit the Interactive Guide area for teachers.


You can find out more about OneNote here, and don’t forget to contact us or make an enquiry about getting OneNote (or any other O365 cloud services) up and running in your school.

Stay tuned, as next week we will be looking at implementing OneNote in schools for students!