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.
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!
#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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