From my experience as both a teacher and a frugal mummy, I know what things are essential for your kids to take to school and what they can do without. My comprehensive checklist details what every child should have and some things that certain schools might ask you to provide, or only older kids will need. I hope it helps in your preparation for a new term at school.
Uniform gets a lot of wear – at least 30 hours a week, plus any time spent at home still wearing it. It’s important to buy enough spares for in-between washes, so you’ll need two sets of bottoms (skirts or trousers) as a minimum and more tops as they tend to get dirtier. If polo shirts come in optional colours, always go for dark ones as they stay looking good for longer.
I’d recommend getting one set of uniform with the logo on for school photos and trips, but if the school allows it, get the rest of the school clothes from Tu as uniform shops can be pricey. Try to buy well in advance as shops start clearing uniform items around the end of August.
At the beginning of term you’ll probably still be able to get away with a lighter coat, then can invest in a winter coat as the cold sets in. Don’t forget to stock up on essentials like socks and tights too.
Good school shoes are worth paying a little extra for, but you needn’t break the bank as there are some very good quality leather shoes out there at reasonable prices. For younger kids try and get ones with scuff-resistant coatings and/or reinforced toes as they’ll last longer.
If your child is starting in reception, check when they’ll begin PE as often they won’t need a kit in the initial months. They might not require plimsolls at all, as little ones often do gymnastics and similar activities barefoot.
Sometimes a swimming kit will be needed, but the school will let you know when your child will be taking swimming lessons. They often require kids to wear a swimming cap and boys to have close-fitting shorts for safety reasons.
With all that new kit, you should definitely get some name tags so things don’t go wandering – you can buy sew-in, iron-on and stick-on ones.
The age that children will need their own pencil case varies between schools – some junior schools ask you to provide stationery, others not until secondary school. For many older kids, having cool stationery is an important way to express their personality and interests, as the rest of their uniforms are, well, uniform!
Our go-to for notepads in the latest funky prints is Paperchase. In around year three when kids learn fractions, a protractor will be handy, even if it’s just for at home – complete Oxford Maths sets only cost a couple of pounds.
Infant and junior schools generally ask you to buy a book bag with the school logo on, but older junior school kids may ask for a backpack as its cooler – keyrings and TY toys optional!
For those that don’t get free school meals, a lunch bag is essential. Smiggle do some nice designs on really practical and hard-wearing bags. Also check for leaking water bottles and lunchboxes that don’t seal anymore before the kids head back to school and make sure you have plenty of healthy food and snacks in.
Please do ask questions about anything I haven’t