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School starts in September, and with a fresh new school year comes the feeling of anxiety amongst so many parents. That is because it is usually the time when parents have one of the biggest outlays of finances for their children as it means buying new school uniforms, school supplies, and black school shoes. But rather than it feeling like a supermarket sweep, I wanted to share with you the school uniform shopping checklist to help you stay on track, budget for school supplies, and have everything you need for your children to start their first day of term. This is the Secondary school edition.
Shopping checklist for secondary school uniforms
The uniform basics
First of all, let’s cover the basics of the school uniform and the things your child will need to wear daily. Secondary school often means that are a few essentials that are needed Here are a couple of reminders for some of the things that your primary school child might need:
- School blazer – Most secondary schools have a school blazer these days, and this can often be the most expensive purchase. They are usually at designated school uniform shops.
- School jumper or cardigan – This might be a school jumper with their logo, which might need to be bought from specialist school uniform shops. But if the school requires a specific colour, you can pick up jumpers and cardigans in most supermarkets. Although it is worth checking if this is a mandatory item, if not, then have a conversation with your child about whether they want to wear one – saving you purchasing one just for it to hang in the wardrobe.
- School shirts – Your school may require a shirt to be worn, or polo shirts and blouses might also be acceptable. These are usually a specific colour. This means it opens up supermarket shops for you. It might be advisable to get 3-4 items.
- School tie – Many secondary schools that have shirts will require a school tie to be worn, usually purchased from their chosen school uniform store or directly from the school.
- Trousers and skirts – You might need to purchase some new trousers or skirts, especially if your child has grown. Usually, two pairs of trousers or two skirts are sufficient and these can be purchased in most stores or supermarkets.
- Socks – Socks go missing, and you may be left with a lot of odd school socks or feel that your child has outgrown them. Pick up a new pack of socks so that you are ready – get the same design so that they are easier to pair up after washing.
- PE Kit – The PE Kit is usually something we forget to check so now is your reminder to check shorts, tracksuits, t-shirts and trainers. Your secondary school may have a specific policy where school logo items must be worn. Check their mandatory school uniform list to make sure.
- School shoes – Just like primary school, many secondary schools request that children wear black school shoes. Your child may want specific shoes, so take time to consider what your options are and get them involved where possible.
Ultimately, it will be a battle between practicality, longevity and design but shoe manufacturers such as Start-rite have a wide selection of teen school shoes which should tick all the boxes. Be sure to take a look for top features such as Air Rite technology which allows air to flow around the shoe, helping feet to regulate their temperature and reducing sweating.
Don’t forget to practice tying laces for those who are making the step up from velcro fastenings to laces!
Now that you have covered the basics it might be time to think about the accessories that your child may need for school. Here are some of the things to think about:
- Rucksack or school bag – Your child might need a new rucksack or school bag. One big enough for textbooks and stationery.
- Lunchbox – If your child doesn’t have school meals it might be time to replace the lunchbox. You can pick up some great options at places like Amazon or eBay.
- Water bottle – Your child might be permitted to have a water bottle with them throughout the school day.
- Sharpie pens, stamps, name tags – The big issue parents face is losing school uniforms in those first few weeks. While your child might not want names on all items, it is advisable to try and add a name in a more discreet area to ensure nothing goes missing. However, secondary school children are less likely to take things off and leave them like they may have done in primary school.
- Swimming kit
- Textbooks and stationery – Now that they are in secondary school you may need to supply specific textbooks, stationery and workbooks. Your school should provide a list of what they might need. However, there are a couple of staples that you might want to consider such as a blazer buddy which fits inside standard-size blazer pockets and protects them from leaking pens – plus hopefully enabling your teen to be organised at all times with a pen-to-hand.
For those of you who have teens who are approaching mocks exams and GCSEs pick up a revision stationery bundle that comes complete with an array of pens, highlighters, revision cards, a clear pencil case and an A4 refill pad.
Preparing for winter
Winter is coming, so there are some other considerations that you need to make to get your child ready for the start of school. Here are some of the things to think about:
- A waterproof coat
- Hat, scarf and gloves
Although be prepared for your child to deem it uncool to be wearing a coat etc for school.
Other things your secondary school child might need
There are lots of other things you need to think about when it comes to your child starting a new year at secondary school. Here are some of the things to consider:
- School planner – This can be useful for homework deadlines or after-school clubs.
- Lunch money or money loaded onto a card or school money system – If they pay for school dinners they may need to have money uploaded onto a card or school money system. Set reminders for this.
- Bus money or passes – If they get themselves to school you may need to consider purchasing a bus pass.
- Their own house key – It might feel like a big step, but they may end up letting themselves in after school or leaving after you go to work. Their own house key will be essential if this is the case.
The last thing to think about would be to get yourself a decent diary if you haven’t got one already. Or set up a family Google calendar so you can colour code and share events to keep everyone organised (or as much as possible). The start of school means fresh term dates and dates for the diary, so it helps to be organised.
I hope this school uniform shopping checklist will help you to be prepared for when your child returns to secondary school.