Back to school essentials -A Parents guide.

So the summer half term is drawing near to an end and we are now at the point of getting the back to school essentials. That Time of the summer holidays where we get our kids ready to embark on another school year. But what exactly are the back to school essentials?

Here is my back to school essentials guide – image credit Deleece Cook Unsplash

Whether your child is entering their first ever school year of primary school, their 3rd year, final year or even taking the leap into secondary school or high school. There will sure be something they will be needing, hopefully they may be able to stay in school for whole terms compared to when panic was set with covid reaping like I covered in my post of the return to school – is it needed or panic stations? This is a completely different topic though compared to this one.

Back to School Essentials.

Now I have you thinking, what are the back to school essentials, well let’s not point out the obvious here, but uniform, PE Kit, School Shoes. There is also stationary, backpacks, lunchboxes and I can’t leave this one out as my girls wouldn’t be very happy but hair accessories. I know a heap of things to remember. Most schools will specify in a letter or email what they may require for their school year, if not then just ask, the school staff and teachers will do their best to help.

School Uniform

I bet you never thought there may be such a large array of options out their for something you would think so simple.

Some primary and high schools may require a branded uniform, an item of clothing such as a jumper, cardigan or blazer with the school emblem. The options for this are usually either direct from the school, a schools recommended supplier or a specialist uniform shop in the area you live.

George at Asda cater for the majority of the back to school essentials you will need for your children.
George at Asda have everything under one roof for the kids when they go back to school. Image credit George Asda.

If your child’s school is similar to my girls where it is a generic set uniform such as a colour for a jumper or cardigan, a shirt or polo shirt and trousers or dresses and skirts then there is a heap of options available for you.

TU at Sainsburys cater for the majority of the back to school essentials you will need for your children.
TU at Sainsburys also have a large array of back to school essentials all under one roof- image source Flickr

Generic uniforms can be bought through many high street retail outlets and supermarkets. With my girls uniform, for quality, style and durability and as well as keeping costs low I swear by the likes of TU at Sainsburys, Marks and Spencer and George at Asda. Find links to take a look at the websites below. Now there are other retailers also but these are the go to stores we mainly use for our tribe of 5 daughters.

Lunch boxes.

The school years are a lot different to how they once were since covid happened. With some returning to ways before and most adapting to new ways, your child may well be having a Packed Lunch during the school day. That is if it is what you decide for your child as school dinners are still on the menu.

Who remembers the good old jam roly poly and school custard? Mmm yum, let’s get back on topic shall we.

Your everyday supermarket and high street stores all seem to cater for your needs with packed lunches but they are sometimes a fail safe, always the same style and sometimes a pain to clean. I know my girls love their lunch bags from Smiggle – take a look through the choices and designs of their lunchboxes and bags on the Smiggle Website.

Smiggle are a popular brand and design for kids young and older with fab designs and ideal for the back to school essentials.
Just a few of the choices from Smiggles Large array of Lunchboxes and bags.

Backpacks and Bags

Even in daily adulting life a bag or backpack is super handy. So for any student a backpack, bag or satchel should be an item for their back to school essentials and something that will be important for them to have. I have added a few various ones below from an online outlet that reached out and asked for their products featured.

I usually do like to check out a product like this and give it a thorough going over but as you can imagine samples were limited. I have scoured the Web though and have only found positive things about these products.

These backpacks from JanSport are aimed at School Students and even Adults.

A pretty floral design of one of the JanSport Backpacks.

With an array of various Backpacks either having organisers inside for books and other back to school gubbins and some with a specific pocket for a laptop – You can take a look through the range over on the JanSport Website.

A massive selection of styles, colours to suit every need from JanSport.

Smiggle again here are popping up, they do a whole array of items from both kids and grown ups too. My girls love their backpacks and their colourful designs so I had to add them back in for backpacks too.

With fun and Exciting designs and a large range Smiggle is a great choice.

You can also get them in a set – a backpack, matching lunch bag, drinks bottle and pencil case. How cool would they be rocking up with all this matching – take a look here at the range of backpacks and sets on the Smiggle website.

School Shoes

The large stand out store and brand in this department has to be Clarks wouldn’t you agree?

Clarks have always been a standout brand for school shoes.

But with one problem, even though they are of excellent quality and stylish, they are rather expensive. I know for how shoes fit for Mouse we have to get her shoes from the likes of clarkes as their sizes cater to her excellently – take a look at the school shoes range and back to school offers on the Clarks Website.

Where as for Titch and Pig, active kids who drag their feet a lot in the playground, Clarks are out of the question financially the way they go through school shoes. For them we tend to go to the supermarket, again TU at Sainsburys and George at Asda.

They offer a nice style shoe, good quality, comfortable and best of all they are reasonably priced (£10 to £20) for a pair so it isn’t so bad when the toes of the shoes end up scuffed and not looking there best, another pair can be purchased without breaking the bank.


Stationary, who doesn’t love stationary shopping. Everywhere does stationary don’t they, the likes of Hobby Craft, Supermarkets, amazon and we can’t forget Rymans. But stationary is a back to school essential, especially if your child is a more mature student in the ks2 years at primary school or on their journey of education throughout high school or even college.

Stationery is a useful addition for any child or student returning to school – image credit Annie Spratt Unsplash

Helping our Kids to Learn at Home.

There are lots of resources available to aid our children with learning at home, more so especially since the whole Home schooling and lockdowns.

I remember the girls using these, especially in Key Stage 1. Mathlink Cubes, a great way to help them with their numbers and sums, something physical to help them grasp it. I wanted to add these in here as I thought they would be a great help for parents at home with their kids and doing extra learning.

Number Blocks Mathlink Cubes

A great set and even better it is characters your kids will recognise, yep thats right – NumberBlocks. Those that are responsible for the regular ear worms us parents get from the show.

Also this Tackling Tables set is a fun way to help with Multiplication and Division by playing a card game, handy for both ks1 and ks2 students.

Tackling Tables Card Game

Both of these are available from Learning Resources.

Back to School Essentials hopefully sorted and ready for the Return to School.

So that is where I will end my Back to School Essentials guide, I hope some of these will be useful for you and your child. It can be quite stressful preparing for the return to school and worrying if you have all the right stuff and they are equipped and ready to go.

The big question here though is, are you ready for the return to school? No more sneaky lie ins and having to embark on the school runs once again.

I know for me I am certainly ready to get back into that routine once more and I think the kids are too. You can follow me as a school run dad over on instagram, may be worth it for a giggle, some odd rants of school runs and playground parent politics, find me at Yorkienotjustfordads.

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14 Thoughts to “Back to school essentials -A Parents guide.”

  1. Ian Northeast

    A great list! My lot are needing to go back in their old shoes. We haven’t managed to get the ones they wanted due to being out of stock…

    1. I think a lot of retailers are like that at the moment. Luckily we got lucky with the shoes but apprehensive with the 9yr olds uniform 🤦🏼‍♂️

  2. Great read Eddie.
    Really informative too!

    Last week of august is always a mad rush for us. I don’t see the point in buying school stuff too early. But an annual trip to clarks is always on the cards. Along with a mad rush around every shop to find ‘the right’ bag for the kids just to fit in!

    1. Its one of those where you don’t want to prepare too early and you don’t want to leave it too late where you can’t get anything.

      Ended up with a mad dash for my 9yr old as uniform we got 2/3 weeks ago, her skirts no longer fit 🤦🏼‍♂️ sainsburys to the rescue thankfully they had 2 left in her size 😂

      Thanks Damion.

  3. I’m so ready for them to be back at school. No more random trips across town to a different school for holiday club. And no more loud thumping and shouting from upstairs when I’m trying to concentrate. 3 days in and it’s lovely.

    1. I am more than ready for them to go back to school and the youngest to venture back to nursery. Its been a tough 6 weeks.

      Sounds like a busy one for you smell. At least you can work in peace. Are you still working from home?

      1. Yep, always have worked from home, even in the “before times”. Himself is just off to work on site today though. Going to have the WHOLE house to myself.

        1. Now that is Heaven smell, Sarah is still home this week until Friday, then its time for her 2nd year as a student nurse.

  4. School uniforms make things simple. . . and complex! I love that some stores stock all their school supplies in one place. Most of the ones I go to have everything scattered about in all the different sections and this definitely takes up time when it comes to gathering notebooks, pens, and clothing.
    Thanks for sharing a complete list of essentials!

    1. Thank you Jaya, hope the list may be helpful. I’m sure like every parent there will surely be something I have forgotten 😂.

      Sooo much easier when they are organised and stocked in one place.

  5. What a comprehensive list – sorry, no pun intended! I think we’ve had items from every last one of those retailers over the years. All good, reliable brands.

    1. Puns are always welcome. At least we aren’t the only ones. The amount spent in smiggle when we have been into the store and the kids want everything, we could have been major share holders.

  6. Great suggestions. I find the issue is keeping the kids realistic. “Dad, I need a new school bag.” “It’s only a month old, you’re not getting one.” “No, means, no!”

    1. Absolutely John especially with smiggle bags, my 9yr old collects them, I think she has over 5 or 6. Usually get them at birthdays or special occasions

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