All good starts to the school year are preceded by a solid shopping trip. Whether your child is starting at secondary school, heading off to primary school for the first time, or simply moving up year, you’ll probably need to stock up on a few term-time consumer durables. Here are a few tips on the kinds of things you’ll need to bear in mind when buying them, alongside rough price points.
A good water bottle £5-£15
Plenty of schools require their pupils to arrive with a full water bottle, especially for school trips and during the hotter months of the year, so it’s worth investing in a good one. However, there are lots of bottles that aren’t really made for school; some are designed to be sipped in the car, while others are made for dissolving sports supplements. Make sure you get one with a good solid lid that won’t pop off easily and ruin school books, and also out for bottles that are free from PBA plastics – some research indicates these plastics are bad for children’s health. A double-walled, stainless steel bottle might be a little more expensive than a standard bottle, but these will probably last longer than plastic bottles, and they can also keep drinks cold for around 24 hours.
A new backpack, £10-£40
It’s going to take some punishment, so it’s worth getting in a bag that suits your child. Plenty of kids’ models come with smaller straps, which leads to a better fit. If your child is biking or walking to school, consider a brightly coloured backpack, perhaps with reflective patches. If they’re carrying a laptop to school, ensure the backpack’s laptop compartment is padded. Plenty of models also come with a water bottle slot, which is handy too.
And, if you can, try to avoid a bag that ties into the latest popular movie franchise; your child could well be carrying this to school for a year or two, and might have a new favourite film in a few months’ time.
A maths set, £1- £8
Most secondary school maths classes will require a 15cm ruler, as well as a compass, and a protractor – that’s that semicircle of plastic you may remember from your school days. You can pick these up very cheaply from some of the bigger supermarkets, but it might be wise to spend just a little bit more to get a set that will last being banged about in a school bag for ten months of the year. Some maths sets also include pencil case staples, such as a pencil, pen, sharpener and rubber, as well as a tough case, so it might be worth paying a little more for these ones.
A roomy pencil case, £5-£15
It might be worth going for one of the bigger models, as pupils have to get quite a lot into these things. Primary school children may well have to fit a whole set of coloured pencils into their case, while secondary school kids may have to have a good set of highlighters, as well as the maths set stuffed into this case. Get one with a tough zip, as kids often rush and force these closed at the end of a lesson. Also avoid a light coloured, textile case. Pens leak (especially when kids leave the kids off), and that cream, peach or off-white case will soon be a murky, mottled bluey-gray by the end of the term.
A Rooster Card, from £1.99 a month
Giving your child NatWest Rooster Money’s Rooster Card is a great way to start the school year. This prepaid debit card is made for children aged six and up. It works on public transports, in canteens, in shops, online and abroad. You can top it up, check on your child’s spending via notifications or via statements in the app, and freeze the card instantly, or restrict its use at ATMs, in stores, online, or abroad. At the start of this term, give your child a head start with money, and sign up for a Rooster Card.