Preparing for Back to School

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I have one daughter in big school. She will start her third year of primary education in September. My middle child is starting his first year in September. It’s July I hear you say! The kids are barely a wet week (actually make that a dry week!) into their school holidays but I am pretty much set for back to school come September (or 29th August this year!).

First Day at School

First Day at School

I find that being organised allows me enjoy the rest of the summer without worrying about it and this year I will be away for the first half of August and the last thing I want is to come home to is a mad dash around the shops to gather the list of things I need and this year it is times two!

So my plan of action is as follows:


The book list for my daughter arrived home with her school report in late June. My son’s was also issued in June so I get on the case immediately. I have, in previous years, ordered online.  I have used  The service was great but this year I changed my usual supplier in favour of a new one who offered free delivery and a 10% discount.  The service was also great.  The only fault being that I couldn’t get all the stationery I needed but the books came within 48 hours and I will pop into a local Eason to pick up my final bits.



Both my kids require a school uniform. In fact both require two – a school track suit for two days per week and a regular uniform (grey trousers / skirt, white shirt, tie and grey jumper / cardigan) for the other three.  In both cases the track suits are customised as they have the school crest on them.  While they are not cheap I look at them as providing clothing on my kids twice a week over the course of 9 months.

I love school uniforms. They have a number of positives in my mind

1. they take the element of choosing clothes each day out of the equation

2.  as they get older the unnecessary competition with friends around brands and fashion and

3. they reduce the expense of maintaining a wardrobe of clothes.

As I mentioned the track suits are customised so I have to get them from the school supplier.  The supplier visits the school in June, when the new intake are visiting the school for induction so I make it my business to ensure I get what I need then.  I made the newbie mistake of buying red polo tee shirts from the tracksuit supplier and quickly realised they were half the price in my local Dunnes Stores Department Store! Suffice to say I didn’t make that mistake again.

The rest of the clothes are easy to come by.  It is a case of trying to assess value and quality.  Some of the items are cheap – €3 for a grey skirt but will it last the school year? It is a bit of trial and error.  So far I used Marks and Spenser in my daughters first year and Dunnes Stores in her second.  Marks and Spenser tend to do a 20% off early in the season – around June so another reason to get organised early.

The one issue I have found with uniform buying is that come September (or usually earlier) the stock is sold out and it can be very difficult to source additional times during the year.  If you think you will need spares buy them early too!  I had a real headache buying grey tights when the weather got really cold mid winter and my daughter had managed to rip a few pairs that I had bought.


Both my kids need two pairs of shoes.  A pair of black school shoes and trainers when they are in the track suit. I tend to leave the shoe buying until August.  Just to make sure I get the best fit.  They are growing so fast I don’t want them grown out of them by the time school starts!

Accessories and everything else!

Then there is everything else!  To help I’ve made a little list which I hope will be of use to anyone preparing for school particularly those with their first embarking on that journey!

  • Pencil case
  • Pencils / Crayons / Eraser / Parer etc.
  • Lunch box and drink bottle
  • School bag
  • Labels – clan be printed or home made – stick them / iron them on everything! I have made labels myself and last year used which was good. The sticker labels are excellent. Stuck fast to the lunch box and drink bottle despite a year of washing and I have enough for the coming year too as I kept the text generic and didn’t mention a year or teacher name.
  • If your school has any charges that must be paid be sure to sort them out in advance or arrange a cheque for day 1.

So, with shoes to buy after our holidays and label everything I am otherwise set!

Anything else you do to get organised? Please share in the comments!




  1. Pingback: Back to school - a costly business Learner Mama

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