Starting School Checklist

Starting school?  We've compiled a check list of School Essential items. Better still, we've included a free printable version for you to use at home.


Free Printable Back to School Checklist

Starting School Checklist:

  • School bag
  • 3 pair of trousers - boys
  • 3 skirts or pinafores or dresses
  • 3 shirts
  • 2 ties if required 
  • 2 sweatshirts or jumpers
  • A blazer if required
  • 5 pairs of school socks
  • School sport socks
  • School sport shorts 
  • Pencil case and a small amount of black lead pencils, eraser and sharpener 
  • Gym/ sports bag - ideally personalised
  • Plimsoles or gym shoes labelled inside with vinyl shoe labels 
  • Change of underwear and trousers/skirt/dress/pinafore just in case in their first year
  • Rain jacket/warm coat depending on the weather!
  • PE top or tshirt
  • Swimming kit if required
  • Waterbottle
  • Lunch box

Checklist tips and hints:

School bag

It’s important to find a supportive and adjustable backpack for starting school. Something that can withstand a bit of rain and maybe being dumped at the side of a play park on the way home from school. Wipe clean is ideal. If you’re planning to walk or cycle home in winter months a bag with a reflective strip is even better for road safety during those darker months. If you’re looking for some inspiration on how to distinguish your child’s bag from everyone else’s a bag tag or a smaller jacket tag is a great idea. Personalise with a name or class of your choosing, add a fun icon and attach with the keyring provided.

3 pairs of trousers

It inevitable your child will be running around, kneeling or cartwheeling in these trousers so best to find the most durable within your budget. Snappy tags are a great way to label trousers because they can easily withstand a boil wash.

3 skirts or pinafores or dresses

Some schools have a length that you must strictly adhere to so make sure you’ve checked what your individual school’s guidelines dictate. Another thing to consider is pockets. Pockets are handy but aren’t a feature in many school pinafores or dresses. If you are handy with a sewing machine and have the time adding this might come in handy.

3 shirts

Shirts are a school staple but in the changing room they look alike. So, it’s important to mark which ones belong to your household otherwise they are very likely to get swapped or even lost! Iron on clothing labels are a great solution because they can withstand a boil wash.

2 ties if required

Ties can be tricky because they don’t always have a care label to write initials onto. Or the initials come off in the wash which is why we designed our stick on labels. Peel and stick, simple.

2 sweatshirts or jumpers

If you’re able to find jumpers with a high cotton content more the better so they are as breathable as possible. Make sure you wash these before school starts so the kids aren’t left with bright red or black bobbles on their lovely new white shirts. You can get away with buying these roomy for them to “grow into”.

A blazer if required

Just a word of warning, blazers can be expensive so it’s worthwhile warning the kids to try their best not to lose or damage these. Many schools now do “second hand” options where you can buy these used which is also a great option for saving some pennies. We have classic sew on labels which are perfect for blazers. It’s also worth checking if your blazer can be machine washed or if they are dry clean only. 

5 pairs of school socks

Socks are something that can fall apart in a week or can stand the test of time. Again, it’s best to get high cotton content or merino if you can for breathability. Good news is you can pick up pretty good school socks in most supermarkets now. So, it’s easy to grab these while doing the weekly food shop. Socks are a bit trickier to label because they need to stretch which is why we have our very special stretchy iron on sock labels which have the give you need to label socks.

School sport socks

As with your normal school socks above, it’s best to get good quality sports socks. If you’re child is part of a school team these might have to be purchased from a specific retailer in your local area or be a specific colour so it’s best to double check before grabbing any. Press and click labels are a handy way of distinguishing your child's socks from the rest of the team. They can easily tuck underneath the cuff of a football or rugby sock. 

School sport shorts

Some schools are very particular about the P.E kit that they allow whether it be due to colour pallet, length or branding. Lots of school won’t allow brands to be on show so Nike tick logos or Puma jaguars on show might be a no, no. If in any doubt, plain is always best.

Pencil case and a small amount of black lead pencils, eraser and sharpener

This will become a regular supply you’ll need to top up over the years of school but a pencil case is something that can be kept year after year. To mark your pencil’s, we have actually developed our mini labels which can be applied to lots of items of stationary to make sure they come home day after day.

Gym/ sports bag - ideally personalised

The average child can have a socialite’s calendar between all the afterschool clubs and sports that they can get involved with! So, keeping track of items taken to and from clubs is important otherwise you’ll end up buying new kit every month. It’s a nightmare for scout leaders or football coaches to find owners of items unless they are clearly marked up. We offer personalised boot bags, dance bags and even drawstring P.E bags which you can personalise with your child’s name, class or leave blank. In fact, lots of sports teams’ order matching sets of bags. For quantity discounts feel free to contact our friendly customer services team at:

Plimsoles or gym shoes labelled inside with vinyl shoe labels

The whole point of a school uniform is for the children to look alike. Which is great for them to be able to focus on their learning. However, when it comes to black or grey plimsoles half a class can be the same size and before you know it you’re coming home with another child’s shoes. For speed and comfort the velcro fastening plimsoles are often best because they are adjustable unlike the elasticated slip on versions which can become stretched. Our easy to use shoe labels are ideal to distinguish your child’s shoes from the rest of the class. We even have a left/right option for those still learning which shoes go on what feet.

Change of underwear and trousers/skirt/dress/pinafore just in case in their first year

Simply put, accidents happen and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Rain jacket/warm coat depending on the weather!

If the kids are planning to walk or cycle to school, then it’s worthwhile investing in a good waterproof jacket suitable for all weathers. Something with a substantial hood that stays up in the wind can be a life saver on a rainy commute. You certainly don’t want your kids arriving at school sodden and uncomfortable for the rest of the day. If you already have a waterproof coat for your child but it’s a bit old, you can even replenish the waterproofing instead of buying a new one. You can pick up a waterproofing tablet or wash from supermarkets or online for less than a new jacket might cost.

PE top or t shirt

As with P.E shorts there might be specific requirements for P.E which you should be aware of. Regardless, it’s important to have something clean and fresh for your child to change into for P.E so they are unrestricted during their physical activity. An old polo shirt can sometimes be a solution but really, a plain t-shirt is often all they need. For these types of items, really any of our clothing label range would do the trick.

Swimming kit if required

Not all schools have swimming facilities but if your lucky enough to have this a costume, goggles, arm bands if appropriate and a swim cap will all be necessary. Don’t forget the towel!

Water bottle

Keeping children hydrated can sometimes feel like a challenge. However, a personalised water bottle might make your life a bit easier. Trends and fads change so instead of getting a water bottle with the latest TV character on or their new favourite colour why not try something with their own name on which should last them?

Lunch box

A nutritious lunch is a very important part of the school day if your child will be bringing their own food. Plain tupperware can easily get mixed up so a personalised and insulated lunch bag can be useful, especially if your child has specific dietary requirements. It’s important to be aware of any school rules for suitable lunch box additions. Allergy awareness is important to keep all children safe so best to steer clear of nuts for example. We have allergy labels should your child have specific requirements which school staff should be alerted to which can be stuck to boxes, bags etc.