The move from primary school to secondary school is a huge one for kids. They go from being the biggest fish in a tiny pool, to being the little tiddlers in an almighty ocean! But they soon find their feet and each and every one will quickly settle in to the swing of things.
One thing we can do as parents that will help them to settle in quickly, and to avoid any panic, is to make sure ahead of time that they know you have bought everything needed before they start.
Obviously uniforms and various gym kits are a necessity and each school will have their own rules. But having put three kids into secondary school and also speaking to mums with teens in different schools there seems to be a trend on the essential items children need to take, or have available.
1. Sticky back plastic book covering
I absolutely hate this stuff, but secondary schools seem to literally be held together at the seams with it! If your school doesn’t require every book be covered in this abomination of nature count yourself extremely lucky!
Even if your not sure that you will need it, go out and get some NOW.
I’m being serious run quick! I’ll wait till you get back…
Done? So why did you need to run off to buy this vile and sticky item?
I can guarantee that within 24 hours of the schools starting back there will be a UK shortage*. You have been warned! I bought three quite large rolls in B&M bargains weeks ago, just to be on the safe side! You have to remember also, that not all exercise books are standard size and some can be as big as A4.
*please don’t hold me to this slightly iffy fact, but this is true locally 😉
I swear I have dictionaries coming out of my nose!
The chances are your child will need an English dictionary and possibly a thesaurus. My children are in a Welsh Medium school so also need Welsh ones. If they don’t need them for in school, they always come in handy for that pesky homework they seem to be inundated with! They will also need a dictionary for whatever modern language they take. In year 7 & 8 my girls had French, in year 9 the top set also have to take Spanish.
3. A scientific calculator
This will be invaluable. A lot of maths lessons now seem to push mental arithmetic and showing the workings out, but there are times when your child will need the scientific bit.
4. Pens and colours etc.
If your children are anything like mine, they will lend out their pens or misplace them all the time. Even though I only give them one or two at a time I try to keep a good stock at home. They will also need a full set of colouring pens and pencils including the rubbers, sharpeners and a small and large ruler.
5. A pencil case
My girls actually use two pencil cases. One small one for the things they use in every lesson: pens, pencils, small ruler, rubber etc. Then a large one, seriously they are huge, like A4 size, for all the colouring and drawing stuff.
6. A maths set
You know the ones, maths was never my strong suit so I don’t know the names, but the triangles and half circle thingies, and a compass. Be warned those compasses find their way into the worst of places!
7. A plastic folder
For a world that is supposed to be ditching paper, I swear our school seems to doling out a tree’s worth every week! I find that a plastic envelope folder or two helps keep letters and worksheets from getting crumpled and destroyed in their bags. This year the girls have actually decided to have one folder per subject so that they can keep the books and worksheets together and won’t risk leaving anything at home, well that’s the plan anyway!
8. A4 Notepad
I originally bought E&Ff small notepads but it soon became clear they needed an A4 pad.
9. A3 Paper/card
Not to take into school everyday, but we often have homework where they need to make a poster or do a project on A3 paper. They sometimes get given one piece from school but inevitably end up needing another after the millionth rubbing out and changes of ideas. Wilkinsons are pretty reasonably priced for this sort of thing.
10. A big enough bag
As you can see from the rest of this list there are lot’s of things secondary school age kids need to lug into school and back. You also have to ensure they will fit A4 books and folders in. We have found the best bags are the ones designed to carry laptops. They usually have two large pockets so are ideal for keeping all of their books and papers nicely in the rear one whilst their lunch and gym kit etc. can fit into the front.
This photo contains the majority of the supplies bought for going back to school. The top two piles are E&Ff’s, the bottom right is LM’s with the extra bits that E&Ff already own. Bottom right is LV’s tiny little pile. He doesn’t really need to take anything to school but he also didn’t want to be left out. So I wasn’t going to argue for the sake of some colours which he usually has no interest in at all.
Do you have a child in, or moving up to secondary school? Is there anything I have missed off the list that you see as an essential?
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