7 secondary school essentials every kid needs

The transition to high school can be a stressful time for both pupils and parents but it can be eased with a few secondary school essentials. The move involves a whole new routine, a new uniform and a lot of extra ‘stuff’. I’ve been through this three times now and have finally got my head around which items are actually useful. Here are my top recommendations.


secondary school essentials

The secondary school essentials you probably haven’t thought of

#1 – A4 Display Book Folder

Year 7 homework often involves the production of posters, mind maps and plans. I’m not a teacher but I’m guessing this is because they are not that taxing to produce and ease the kids in gently. It also gets them used to summarising information in a concise format. The problem is that these precious pieces of A4 paper are incredibly vulnerable in a school bag. They have a tendency to end up bent or crushed and even covered with squashed banana in extreme cases! These folders don’t take up much room but give much needed protection to any loose A4 pages that in the school bag.


#2 – USB Flash Drive/Memory stick

The reliance on computers to complete homework increases a lot once kids get to high school. They can often submit homework by email or take it in on a flash drive. They may also need to download projects from school and bring them home to work on. Flash drives are also useful for transferring work to a friend’s house if they are working on a joint project. They give peace of mind when a precious history project can be backed up just in case Mum and Dad’s computer crashes!

I would not recommend spending a huge amount of money because they can get lost! However, they make ideal presents for primary school leavers and there are an endless array of novelty versions. You can choose from various capacities but 8GB should be fine for a Year 7 student. Here is just a small selection of what is available. I could get very carried away including these because they are so cute!

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#3 – Pop Sockets for mobile phones

At some point most parents of high school kids get the dreaded call.

‘Mum, I’ve dropped my mobile phone and smashed the screen!’

Whilst this is obviously a lot less worrying than them getting hurt, it is an unwelcome development! You now have the hassle (not to mention the expense) of finding a replacement. I would liken some smartphones to a wet bar of soap; they just can’t wait to leap out of your hand and hurl themselves at the nearest hard surface. In the early days of high school, you child will have plenty to worry about and could be rushing from one place to another, trying to engage with new friends and juggle a lot of books, lunch and PE kit. So, can we do anything to cut down the chances of a smashed screen happening? There are the obvious things like protective phone cases and screen protectors but my daughters have found that a pop socket helps you to securely grip a phone. It fixes on the back surface and you can tuck your fingers around it.

#4 – Collapsable lunch boxes

Space is at a premium in a high school student’s bag! If they want to take a packed lunch, there is no point in a bulky container taking up precious room once the food has been eaten. A collapsable lunch box is the ideal solution! They are available in all sorts of styles and colours to suit all tastes.


#5 – Drinks bottles with absolutely no leaks

I have been very concerned about how dehydrated students at secondary school can become so I have included this in my secondary school essentials. My experience is that students are participating in more sport (in lunch time clubs and in PE lessons) and more vigorous forms of exercise compared to primary school. At the same time, I have read worrying accounts of girls purposely avoiding drinking so that they don’t have to use school toilets. The importance of hydration in children and adults of all ages has been well documented. So most of us would like our children to take a drink to school with them. In support of the campaign to reduce the use of single-use water bottles, my preference would be re-usable water/drinks bottles. However, they must be 100% leak proof. I’m sure I don’t have to explain what happens when a leaky water bottle is mixed with a precious piece of homework or PE kit!

#6 Sticky back plastic

The policies on covering books varies from school to school. My experience is that teachers give students the task of covering their books during the first couple of weeks. I’m not sure why this is because by the time they get to Year 9, no books are required to be covered at all! Notwithstanding this shift in requirements, I have experienced a shortage of  sticky back plastic in my home city. I have even had to travel several miles to find some because all the local secondary schools were asking kids to cover their books and parents were panic buying! So, ask around and if your local schools are likely to make this request buy this stuff early. Preferable in July!


#7 – Plastic bags

No purchase required for these secondary school essentials. Save your plastic bags and pop a couple in the school bag. They can come in handy for several purposes. They are somewhere to put a wet umbrella so that it doesn’t soak everything else in the bag and are handy for muddy football boots or trainers to name just two.   And they won’t cost you a penny!


So, that’s my list. I’m sure you can come up with a few more secondary school essentials, please do pop them in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.


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  23 comments for “7 secondary school essentials every kid needs

  1. October 24, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Reading this took me back to when my children were starting at secondary school, they didn’t need a memory stick then though
    Karen, the next best thing to mummy recently posted…Review of Ilias’ mountainMy Profile

    • November 9, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      No my eldest daughter didn’t either Karen. I think it started when she was in Year 9. How things change! xx

  2. October 25, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Some great suggestions! My daughter has a pop socket on her phone and I never even really knew why! I like the idea of the collapsible lunch boxes.
    My suggestion of what NOT to get would be anything on the uniform list described as optional. I bought both of my boys school jumpers that they never wore, as well as PE jumper for eldest and tracksuit bottoms for younger son which didn’t get worn. With my daughter, I’m waiting until she asks me for these things! (And as they were at three different schools, we couldn’t even pass the unused items down!)
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…Teaching young people about credit and debtMy Profile

    • November 9, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      Thanks Sarah. Oh yes, I have several items of school uniform which were a complete waste of money. All mine went to the same high school so I have wised up by number 3 and refused to buy them! xx

  3. November 7, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Another great informative post. I can just about remember this time in the kids’ lives. Our school doesn’t require book covering so that’s the only item we didn’t require #TweensTeensBeyond
    Midlife Dramas in Pyjamas recently posted…Not by the hair on my chinny, chin, chin!My Profile

  4. November 7, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Have seen those pop sockets around, they look very useful. Wish mine would have some protection on their phones! Like the reminder about water bottles too, a never ending battle to get them to drink enough water!

  5. November 7, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    We listened to your advice and got the clear film Sharon before it sold out but we still haven’t covered the books yet. That’s my fault though because we haven’t had a chance. Well we have but it’s been a bit full on. I love the memory stick. Wouldn’t mind one for myself actually! Touch wood we have also secured a secure water bottle! My heart is in my mouth every time is goes in the bag though. We don’t have a good track record!! Great ideas here and I would certainly take your advice as an ‘expert’ in these matters. I shall show this to Lily in case there are any further needs #tweensteensbeyond
    Nicky Kentisbeer recently posted…Joining the Exclusive 50 ClubMy Profile

    • November 9, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      Thanks Nicky, I too have had major incidents with leaking water bottles! I hope Lilly is loving secondary school is not dropping her phone! We seemed to go through a phase of this last year when all three of mine did it over a period of a few months. xx

  6. November 7, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Great post! I laughed at the smashed screen!! Yes! I agree about all of these. #tweensteensbeyond
    Oldhouseintheshires recently posted…#MyGloriousGardens Link up Party! Remember, remember it’s now November!My Profile

  7. November 7, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    A non-leaking water bottle after two weeks feels a bit like the holy grail. I’m getting really good at drying out books so the pages don’t stick together. Some subjects ask for their books to be covered. I buy sticky back plastic when I see it. I may have a big collection by the time the last of mine leave school. On the upside, I’m becoming a dab hand at covering books with no wrinkles. Like the idea of the project folders. I usually give them see through pockets, which are not quite so stiff. Adding to my list. #TweensTeensBeyond
    Cheryl | Time To Craft recently posted…The first dress I ever madeMy Profile

  8. November 8, 2017 at 2:52 am

    I enjoyed your list and I especially liked the idea of collapsible lunchboxes. I wonder if they are available in India. For waterbottles, I use Tupperware ones as they are sturdy and do not leak.

    • November 9, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      Thanks for the tip about water bottles Rachna I am always on the look out for them. I hope you manage to track down some collapsible lunch boxes, they are very useful. xx

  9. November 8, 2017 at 10:19 am

    my daughters friend had one of those pop sockets and I had no idea what it was, pretty cool idea. #tweensteensbeyond
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…Tips to help you avoid making excuses. #mg link upMy Profile

  10. November 8, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Oh my this post takes me back – to all the alleged essentials we had to buy that turned out to not be needed, and everything that suddenly was! #tweensteensbeyond
    Mary Mayfield recently posted…Sunset walk at Shipley Country ParkMy Profile

  11. November 10, 2017 at 8:54 am

    We have worked our way through so many water bottles over the years and every time I pray this will be the one that doesn’t leak. TK Maxx is my go to place for these – they always have such a good selection and I end up bulk buying them. Also with you on the USB stick – invaluable! The sticky back plastic literally brings me out in hives! What is it with secondary school and covering books! I went on strike on this this year but you are right you have to get in there early! Some great suggestions here Sharon. I haven’t heard of the Pop Sockets – my eldest could do with one of those – maybe a stocking filler. #TweensTeensBeyond
    Jo – Mother of Teenagers recently posted…Tweens, Teens & Beyond #27My Profile

  12. November 12, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    So useful!!! The collapsible lunch box is genius as they’ve so much stuff and so little space!!! #tweensteensbeyond
    daydreams of a mum recently posted…Getting older doesn’t totally suck!!!My Profile

  13. November 12, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    oh yes the plastic bags in the school bag, an absolute must. I just wish it was on trend to have gloves, scarves and hats on ribbons attached to coat sleeves still at secondary age
    chickenruby recently posted…One Daily Positive – Week 45My Profile

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