Sharepoint in School - Best organisational practice.

Nov 21, 2007 at 2:53 PM
I'd be grateful for advice on how people go about organising their Sharepoint Learning Kit sites in schools. In Class server I have developed an automated system for updating teachers and their classes from SIMS (the school's MIS system) and I want to do the same for Sharepoint 2007. The provision from Excel code makes a great starting point but I want some advice.

The obvious way to sort things is to give each class it's own site and add teachers/students appropriately, but when the class changes I would want the site to be destroyed - as I understand it this will destroy any learning resources in it's document storage is gone too - not desirable.

One alternative would be to create a single site and set up each class as a group within the site but this will make an unfeasably long list of groups - let alone learners.

Between the two is the possibility of a site per year group - but we have vertical tutor groups (several years in each) and post 16 classes with various year groups in them too.

Finally I am wondering would I be best to set up each teacher with their own site, their classes as groups within the sites but this makes shared classes difficult to manage.

Any advice please!

Nov 22, 2007 at 12:45 AM
SLK was designed to support separate sites for each class, and to tie site membership to class membership. Support for groups was added to enable easy assignment to subgroups within a class. I recommend that you use a separate site for each class.

For learning resources, I recommend you create one or more sites separate from the class sites to house them, and ensure that students do not have access to these sites. SLK allows you to assign from one site to another, so you could (for e.g.) have one site that contains all your Learning Resources (and doesn't allow students to access it), and assign from that site to any of a number of class-specific sites. At the end of the year, you can delete or archive the class sites without impacting the original learning resources.

To make this work, you need to enable the SLK feature on both the site that contains the LRs, and on the sites that you'll be assigning them to.
Nov 22, 2007 at 1:26 PM
As always the best solution depends on how your users are going to use it. If there's going to be a lot of class specific use such as discussion lists etc, then one site per class will enable this best. As David has recommended above, you don't need to store the learning resources within the class site, they can be in 'library sites'.

If there's not going to be any use of the individual sites then you may be better off with a site covering multiple classes.

Other possibilities to keep the number of sites down which I've implemented are:
  • A Site per Subject Year combination e.g. Maths Year 7, Maths Year 8, English Year 7
  • A Site per Subject
  • A Site per class, but these are hidden so no-one can access them. They are then purely used to populate the list of sites to choose to assign an assignment to.

One other thing to consider is that different parts of the school may have different needs, for example in Year 7 if everyone is doing similar work you may only need a site per Subject Year, but higher up years have individual sites per class.

Finally, for those not interested in developing their own, the product which I have developed handles all the possibilites discussed and more. If you would like more information, please visit or email me at

Nov 22, 2007 at 2:41 PM
Thanks to both of you for this. I'd realised that library sites could be used but I'm grateful for the knowledge that students don't need read permissions on these and to Richard for the idea of sites which only exist for assignment of assignments (so to speak).

I would have gone for a site per department but Sims doesn't recognise departments at the moment and I'm too lazy to have to maintain those lists for myself. As I pointed out above, year group sites would cause problems.

I'd also like to pay special thanks to Richard because visiting his site pointed me in the right direction to give a teacher a site link in the assignment process.

At the moment I'm going for the site per class route. As my system creates sites and assigns student and teacher permissions it also records these in duplicate tables so that it can update each night by only looking at the differences between the recorded sites and the sims info which is automatically replicated each night. I expect to get this done early next week so if anyone is interested I'll post documentation later on. The system will then also delete any sites and teacher or student mappings which are no longer appropriate.

To discourage teachers from putting their documents in the site document store I'm using a site template which doesn't have a document store. I might look for ways to prevent them creating one too.