The Viking Blog

Back to school shopping checklist

Back to school shopping checklist


School bag

Kids love to start the academic year with a new school bag. Let them pick their own design – just make sure it complies with the dress code and is a suitable size for all their equipment.

Pencil case

Again, let them choose their own pencil case, but make sure it’s a practical choice. Show them the fun colours and designs available in our pencil case range.


Pupils old enough to use pens should be equipped with ballpoints,
which are inexpensive and easy to use. Buy a bulk pack, as they’re sure to lose
and break a few this term. Black ink tends to be best.

Pencils and eraser

The classic HB pencil is a must for school, and a 12-pack should easily last the academic year. Make sure you get an eraser too.

Highlighter pens

Older children might use highlighter pens when studying text. Yellow Stabilo Boss highlighters (available in packs of four and ten) tend to be a top pick, but other colours and brands are available.


A good-quality sharpener will help prolong the life of pencils. Those with a canister, which catches the sharpenings, will prevent them having to get up for the bin – particularly handy during exams.


A 15cm ruler is essential for underlining and measuring. If your child needs a 30cm ruler, make sure it’s shatterproof or flexible, so it’s less likely to get broken in their school bag.

Maths set

The classic Helix maths set contains all the equipment pupils need for trigonometry and pie charts. It features a compass and pencil, protractor, 15cm ruler, 45-degree and 60-degree set squares, a sharpener and an eraser. These come packed together in a handy plastic case.

A more durable, high-quality alternative is the Mapped maths set. Remember that you don’t need a separate 15cm ruler, sharpener or eraser if you buy one of these products.


Younger children may only require a four-function pocket calculator, which does the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Secondary-school pupils are more likely to need a scientific calculator, which has functions that assist with trigonometry and algebra.

Try to choose a calculator with two-way power. These use solar energy and a backup battery, saving you money on replacement batteries while ensuring there’s no power outage during maths tests. Also look out for products with protective hard cases.

Write your child’s name on their calculator with a permanent marker, so it doesn’t get mixed up with those belonging to the school or classmates.

School uniform

You may need to go to an official uniform supplier for garments featuring school logos. Otherwise, you can shop online or on the high street.

Always try to choose a size that’s slightly too big, so there’s space to grow without them being swamped. And be on the lookout for practical features such as no-iron shirts and stain-resistant trousers.

The number of sets you need depends on how mess-prone your child is, and the frequency you’re willing to do laundry. You’ll probably want three jumpers, five polo tops and five trousers or skirts for little ones. Older kids can usually make one jumper/blazer, five shirts and three bottoms last the week.

Use a laundry marker to label every item, so they don’t get mixed up with other kids’ clothes in the cloakroom or changing room.

School shoes

Measure your child’s feet as late as possible, and choose a half size larger so there’s a little room to grow. Always choose durable school shoes that will withstand playground wear-and-tear, and make sure they comply with the dress code. It’s likely that you’ll need to choose flat black shoes.

PE kit

Again, you may need to go to a uniform supplier for this kit. It’ll need to be cleaned after every wear, so it’s a good idea to have a set for every PE class of the week.

While primary-school kids may only need pumps, older pupils are likely to need trainers and football boots too. Finally, get them a drawstring bag so they can keep their smelly PE kit separate from their school bag. Reusable bags from sports shops will usually do the trick.

Other items

Of course, there may be some other items you need depending on your school. Get in touch and ask for an equipment list, or ask the kids if they need anything else. You can then rest assured that getting back into the school routine will be less stressful.

Are the kids excited to go back to school, or will they be kicking and screaming on that upcoming school run? Share your comments below! 


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