Image of a boy running across the playground with a periodic table in chalk on the floor

The UltimateBack To SchoolChecklist

The Editorial Team

New school term on the horizon? No problem…

It might seem like the school year just ended but before you know it, there’ll be a new one starting. What better way to get parenting points than to get your kids kitted up nice and early? From pencil cases and other stationery that’ll show off their signature style, school backpacks, water bottles and lunch boxes to PE kit – and the best throw-on-and-go jackets for school runs, we’ve got it all. Literally. 

Image of a kid skipping through the playground with an green beanie hat on
Image of a boy and girl in uniform standing in the playground
Starting SchoolIn Style

That first term can be a daunting prospect for kids and parents alike. But it needn’t be. With a bit of forward planning and a few deep breaths, this exciting new chapter can be the fun, momentous event it should be. First things first, though: read and re-read the school’s uniform policy. Ask parents with children already at the school for tips and tricks. Do they start autumn term in summer uniform? Can reception pupils wear polo shirts rather than formal school shirts? Do they need a tie to begin with? Plimsolls or proper trainers? Rucksack or folder? If you’re shopping for a uniform for the first time, as a general rule, go for two or three trousers or skirts and three to five boys' or girls' shirts.

Image of two kids rolling around, laughing on the floor of the sports playground
image of two girls both inside the same jumper, laughing
New Season,New Uniform

It may be all fun, games and hot, hot heat right now – but pretty soon your kids will need all the layers they can get. Think about that nice and early: invest in boys' and girls' school coats, thermals (yes, really) and lesson-appropriate boys' and girls' knitwear and school fleeces that they'll be thankful for when the weather turns (which it will, without much warning). 

Image of kids all close together
Image of a lot of kids messing around on the sports playground
Image of a girl crouching down wearing red shorts and trainers
Close up image of a boy holding a loud speaker
The EssentialSports Kit

It’s easy to overlook the all-important PE kit but get this right and everyone will be happy come those soggy autumn days on the school field. Check before you buy, but most schools welcome pretty generic PE kit and we’ve got it all – from shorts and polos to joggers and sweatshirts.

Close up image of two people wearing school shoes on the playground
Back to school
The BestSchool Shoes

School shoes are the one item you should hold off until as close as possible to the start of term to maximise your chance of getting a size that will see them through the whole school year. Aim to either pop into store with the kids for a shoe fitting appointment or measure your child’s feet at home about three weeks before the beginning of term (leave it too late and many sizes will have sold out). 

Image of two kids standing back to back with the focus on the shoes
Image of a close up of coloured socks on a kid
Go-ToSchool Accessories

Never overlook the trimmings such as hair accessories, boy's and girls' socks, tights and all those sort of bits and bobs. Get them sorted now and you’ll have one less thing to worry about come the start of term. 


Image of a girl wearing an orange beanie hat jumping in the air
Image of Water Bottles on a blue background
Image of a school bag on top of an inflatable ball
Image of a stack of school books and crayons on the floor of the playground
The All-ImportantAdded Extras

Now for the fun bit: all those essentials that allow kids to stamp their own style on school life. You’ve done the hard slog with the uniform, now let them have some fun selecting the rest. From pencil cases and pens to notebooks and water bottles, they are free to express themselves however they wish. Now all that’s left is to add those all-important school labels – sew or iron them in if you have time, if not there’s always the trusty name marker pen. Either way, job done. Happy new term!

At John Lewis we aim to build a happier future for young people in care. To find out more about our Building Happier Futures initiative, click here

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