Back to School Shopping: Preparing to Start Secondary School

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By In The Playroom

With the first week of the Summer holidays already behind us, I’ve been starting to think about the back to school preparations. There’s always a lot to get ready, but even more so this year with our eldest child starting secondary school.

The transition from Juniors (or primary school) to secondary school is a big jump, and it hardly feels like any time at all since he started in reception! There is so much to stock up on, from the school blazers and ties, to bags, shoes and stationary. I’ve found it really helpful to make lists so that nothing will be missed.


One of the most important parts of back to school shopping is getting the school shoes. For my younger children who are still in primary, they tend to go for kids footwear with velcro, preferring school shoes that have a slightly sporty look as these are really comfy and easy for them.

However for secondary school, my eldest will need something a little more formal as their uniform code is stricter. I have been told by my child that Kickers are one of the preferred brands for their shoes these days. All of the footwear brands you need can be found at Very with Kickers, Clarkes, Lelli Kelly and Dr Martens. If your school allows black trainers they’ve also got plenty of styles and brands to choose from.

For our secondary school, we also need to buy PE trainers and football boots.


If your child will be walking to school, then a really decent bag is important especially as they can become quite heavy with all of the books and folders they need to carry. My boy will have a much longer walk to secondary than he had to primary school, so comfort is going to be very important for his bag but of course he would also want it to look cool.

We need to buy a PE bag and a back pack, and also a little padlock for the school lockers so that he does not have to carry his bags around with him all day.


Secondary school means a full supply of stationary, as they will need to bring all of their own pens and equipment to each lesson. As well as the usual pens, pencils, colours, rulers and rubbers, you might also find things like scientific calculator on your stationary supply list as they will be useful for maths and science lessons all of the way through secondary school


A lot of the time for secondary school, you will need to buy the branded school uniform rather than being able to buy generic school jumpers in the correct colour. This definitely made my back to school shopping more expensive this year, so it’s worth planning accordingly. We had to buy school logo blazers, jumpers, and PE kits, along with ties in the school colour. A few of the items on the shopping list were more generic though – black trousers and white shirt, which means I can stock up on those from any store of my choice rather than the official school supplier.

Quantity-wise we decided to go for two blazers, three jumpers and two ties and time will tell whether that ratio works out well. Even though the kids are growing up, going off to high school, I am sure they are still capable of losing a jumper or two as the year goes on!


This is a tricky one, as my child is not usually keen to wear a coat (I have heard many teenagers and tweens are similar…) so with already having a school blazer, I’m not sure whether this is something that he would actually wear. I think this may be worth leaving until the weather gets slightly colder, rather than preparing ready for the first day of school. That would also give us a chance to see which coats are in fashion in the school, and what coat he would be more willing to wear.

Getting Ready

It’s such an exciting time getting ready for secondary school, and buying all of the uniform and equipment definitely makes it feel more real. Soon, all of our primary finishers will be on their way setting out for their first day and I’m sure these school years will fly by just as quickly as their primary school years!

Do you have a child starting secondary school this year? What else do you have on your back to school shopping list for them?

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Anna Marikar, mum of four and seasoned blogger, has spent over a decade sharing her parenting journey and passion for kid-friendly crafts and free printables.
Her easy-to-follow craft ideas and practical parenting advice have transformed In The Playroom into a cherished resource for parents.

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