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Secondary school stationery checklist

Stationery for secondary school
From sticky back plastic to 2B pencils and a scientific calculator, starting secondary school means stocking up on stationery! Make sure your child is well equipped with all the items they need for Y7 and beyond with our checklist.
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At primary school, your child was probably provided with all the stationery supplies and books they needed. But once they move to secondary school, they'll be expected to have their own set of stationery and bring it to lessons with them. 

Your child's new school will provide you with a list of the uniform and equipment they need for starting Year 7, and if you're lucky, that will include their stationery requirements. But if not, our checklist will help you ensure they're well equipped for their first day and beyond.

We also have a guide to the best laptops for secondary school, if you're thinking of investing in a device for your child to use for homework and remote learning.

If you're still unsure what to buy and can't get hold of anyone from the school, try asking a friend with an older child who goes to the same school: they're usually the most reliable source of information!

Pens, pencils etc

  • Generously sized pencil case 
  • Blue or black rollerball pens/biros: buy in bulk and have at least two in your pencil case at a time
  • Handwriting pen or fountain pen (with extra cartridges if needed)
  • Highlighters: ideally four different colours
  • HB pencils: buy in bulk
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Rubber
  • 30cm ruler (folding ones take less space and are less likely to snap)
  • Ink eraser or correction fluid

Art/technology supplies

  • 2B pencils
  • 4B pencils
  • Set of colouring pencils
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors

Maths supplies

  • Compass
  • 360-degree protractor
  • Set square
  • Scientific calculator (some schools want kids to have a specific model, so check before you buy)

English/modern and foreign language supplies

  • English dictionary
  • English thesaurus
  • Dictionary for each foreign language studied

NB: you may want to wait until term starts to buy these. Schools often have a preferred edition of dictionary and thesaurus, and some have them for sale at discount prices.

Computing supplies

  • Memory stick
  • Earphones

General stationery supplies

  • A4 ring binder or lever arch file
  • A4 subject divider cards
  • A4 punched pockets
  • Hole punch
  • Spiral bound jotter
  • Clear sticky back plastic for covering exercise books (stock up on this as you're likely to go through a number of rolls!)

Exercise books and other books such as homework diaries are usually provided so it's best to wait until term starts before buying your child their own.

Download your free secondary school stationery checklist

Click on TheSchoolRun's free secondary school checklist for a downloadable, printable version of this list to take to the shops when you stock up!

More starting secondary advice for parents and children

BBC Bitesize has a range of starting secondary school resources offering support and information about all aspects of secondary school life, from a typical day in Year 7 to tips on navigating a huge secondary school.