Back to School Essentials Checklist


Children sitting at desk in elementary school

The summer holidays have flown by and it’s almost time to start a brand new school year. That means it’s time to start getting organised and stocked up with back to school supplies.

Whether your child is starting a new school or just moving up a year, it can be all too easy to forget that essential piece of kit in all the excitement. But with our back to school essentials checklist, you’ll have everything that’s needed packed and set up, so your child will be fully prepared and ready to learn. Plus, we’ve included some top tips to make sure the first day goes smoothly.

Stationery for School

Some stationery will be provided for your child at school but it’s best to send them equipped with the essentials, especially if they’re in secondary school where less will be supplied.

They’ll need a couple of pens (it’s best to always include a spare), pencils, pencil sharpener, eraser, and a pencil case to store everything. They’ll also probably need a ruler and colouring pencils. They might also find it helpful – or it might be mandatory, depending on their age and school year – to have a maths set with a protractor, compass, and scientific calculator.



Stationery for Homework

As well as having their basic stationery to take to school, your child will also benefit from having stationery at home. The right study tools will help them to complete their homework to the best of their ability, as well as supporting their revision if they’re taking exams. They could need scissors,  a tape dispenser, glue stick, highlighters, and a pen pot to keep everything organised.

Older children might need some more equipment so they can set up an effective study space at home. They could benefit from storage boxes or lever arch files so they can organise their work and exam revision. A whiteboard can also be helpful, so they can create a dedicated study area and plan out their revision timetable and exam deadlines.


Some schools might provide your child with paper or exercise books, but equipping them with their own notebooks gives them more freedom to organise their own work. Think about what your child will be using the notebook for – if it’s for taking notes, make sure to get ruled notepads. If they need more flexibility, for example, to make diagrams or draw, go for a plain notebook.

You should also consider which size will be best. A5 notebooks will fit be easier to fit in a school bag, but an A4 notebook gives more space and can be better when lots of notes will be taken. You could get different coloured notepads to act as different subjects’ revision notebooks, so it’s easy for your child to find the one they need when they’re packing for class.

Ring Binders

Ring binders are perfect for taking work between home and school, keeping everything neat and tidy. As with the notebooks, you can get different colours to help organise different subjects.

If your child is using ring binders, you’ll also need the right accessories so they can properly manage their work. Pockets can be used for the work that can’t be hole punched and folder dividers will help to file paperwork within the folder. Don’t forget spine labels to make it clear what each folder is for.



Lunch Box

If your child is taking packed lunches to school, a good lunch box is a must. Bento boxes have become popular recently, consisting of different compartments to keep food separate whilst also helping with portion sizes. You can get smaller ones for younger children or bigger versions for older children.

An insulated water bottle is another back to school essential. Our Cosy water bottle keeps cold drinks cold for 15 hours, so your child can keep hydrated all day long whilst they’re at school. Plus, the lid fully seals to prevent leaks, keeping their school work and equipment safe from spills.

School Bag

Once you’ve got the back to school supplies, you’ll need a school bag so your child can carry everything. Ideally, you’ll find a durable school bag that will be able to withstand bumps and scrapes and will last longer than just the school year. A bag with different compartments will help your child to keep their items organised throughout the day. You could also look at waterproof bags, so their schoolwork stays protected from the rain.



Older children and students might need a laptop bag if they’re planning on transporting a laptop to and from school. Our laptop bags include separate compartments, so they can also take their notebooks and paperwork along with them.

School Uniform

Kids grow quickly, so it’s likely you’ll need to replace at least a few items of their school uniform before the new term starts. Check your school’s policy for what uniform is needed, what clothing won’t be allowed and where you’ll be able to buy items from.

They’ll likely need a jumper, blazer, or cardigan, a shirt or t-shirt, trousers or skirt, socks, and comfortable shoes. They’ll also need the relevant P.E. kit, and some schools will require a tie to be worn. In many schools its mandatory, but it’s always a good idea to ensure every item of clothing has your child’s name on it, either sewn on in a label or written in wash-proof marker.

They’ll need suitable outerwear too, such as a winter coat (which would ideally be waterproof), scarf, gloves, and a cosy hat. They may also need a hat for the summer, as well as sunscreen.

How to Prepare for the First Day of School

Most schools will have sent pupils home with a newsletter at the end of term, which includes all the necessary information for the new school year. If this has been misplaced over the summer holiday, most schools will have all the information on their website, so be sure to look there.



Before the first day of school, you should check the start time and date. Some schools will have staggered start times for different school years, so make sure to double-check what applies to your child.

You should make sure the child has all their school equipment packed and ready to go, including any forms or paperwork that will be needed for the first day. If your child will be commuting to school by themselves, it can be helpful to do a few practice runs beforehand, so they’re confident of the route. You should also give them an opportunity to talk through any worries or concerns they have about their first day of school, to prevent any tantrums or tears when it’s time to start.


Leitz has a range of back to school essentials to help your child keep organised and study effectively. 

Read more about best practices and tools for studying:

How to Study Effectively at Home