Somehow, children miraculously seem to lose most of the contents of their school bags across the school year, every year. Whether your child is starting their first year of school or they’re returning for another year, it helps to know exactly what equipment they’re going to need for the year of studying ahead of them.Do an inventory check to see what they already have and what needs replacing, and check their school or college’s guidance to see if there are any additional items they might need to take with them this year.Here we look at ways to ensure you don’t forget anything. Not only will this significantly aid your child’s learning, but it will also help keep them out of trouble for missing equipment.

School bags

What to pack for a standard primary school day

It’s also important to make sure your child is happy with and likes the look of their school bag. All children like to ‘fit in’ with the other pupils, and this starts as early on as primary school. Fortunately, we offer a wide range of primary school bags for boys and girls of all ages and needs.

Girls playing

School essentials checklist for pupils & parents

  • Books: try packing these with the bind facing upwards so your child can see from a glance which one is which.
  • Reusable water bottle: most primary schools have water fountains available. Packing a reusable water bottle is environmentally friendly and means your child can refill their water bottle during break times, so they won’t need to be excused from class to go and get a drink. Many schools have rules against pupils leaving classes for this reason, so a reusable water bottle will mean your child can stay hydrated without disrupting their classes.
  • Lunch bag: if your child will be taking their own lunch to school with them rather than buying it on site, a quality lunch bag is a better idea than a paper bag as they’re reusable and airtight so will keep your child’s food fresh and stop it being crushed by other school supplies in their bag. You could even purchase an insulated bag and include an ice block in their lunch box to keep their food cool.
  • Stationery: it almost goes without saying that your child will need to take their own stationery. Help them keep their equipment safe by buying them a pencil case to store all of these items.


How to pack a school bag

The way you pack your child’s bag will all depend on the style of bag they are using. If you have bought your child a rolling bag that they will likely wheel around behind them, it is a good idea to pack the heaviest items at the bottom of the bag and their lighter, more delicate possessions at the top. If your child is taking technology with them, such as a laptop computer or mobile phone, you will want to take special care to ensure that these items are packed safely. We recommend checking what technology your child’s school expects them to have and what they allow on site. Some schools today have bans on mobile phones. Our top tip for packing your child’s school bag is not to leave it until the night before your child goes to school to try and pack it all in. Ideally, a week or so before they are due to start (or start back), do a trial run and ensure that all of the belongings your child will need to take to school comfortably fit inside the bag you’ve bought for them. This way, if you find that things don’t fit properly, you have time to return the bag you’ve bought and replace it with something more appropriate.



If off to college or high school for the first time, get hold of the reading list as early as you possibly can. The more time you have to search for your books, the better bargains you are likely to find. You can often keep a lookout for books at car boot sales, flea markets, in charity shops, on sites such as eBay or AbeBooks, or even purchase pre-used editions if you know of anyone who studied the same subjects the previous year. Some high schools and colleges even have programmes or stores where new pupils can purchase pre-loved copies; ask your school in advance if they have something similar. Once you’ve got the books you need, it’s time to check your child has the equipment they’re going to need to get through the day. Below we have compiled a high school and college checklist that might help you when you’re shopping for equipment.

Teens backpack
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