Are you ready for the start of the new school year?

The start of a new school year is a busy time. There are uniforms to sort out, timetables to learn, and lunch boxes to prepare, as well as making the big switch from summer holidays to term-time routines.

Back to School
(Image credit: Future)

Eight ways to get organised

1. Check out the school’s online calendar. Certain events are set way in advance, before term starts – or certainly within the first couple of days of the children being back at school. Note every detail of the next year’s school dates (including term dates, inset days, early finishes and so on) right at the start of the year. It’ll help prevent the last minute “I didn’t know about this!” dramas.

2. Shop alone. While children might want to come along for a new-term shopping spree, it might be more cost efficient to go alone, with a strict list you’ll stick to. Browsing with an entourage can easily lead to spending more than you planned, as they do their best to persuade you to buy the top-of-the-range, oh-so-cool stationery and backpack they just “have to” have.

3. Buy a fabric pen …in fact, a pack of fabric pens in different colours (for different siblings), for clothes naming purposes. Save yourself the effort of sewing name labels into uniforms by writing directly onto clothing labels. Permanent markers and laundry markers all work well.

4. Prep for the homework. Clear the decks! Wherever your child does their homework, before term starts, clear the space of holiday souvenirs, crafts and “stuff” that ends up covering every surface during the summer. Invest in either a desk tidy or a lunchbox with sections and make sure it has all those essentials stashed neatly ready to be used, including glue stick, ruler, scissors, rubber, post-it notes, paper clips and stapler, pens and pencils in the basic colours.

5. Make lunch easy to I.D. Lots of children have the same or very similar lunch bags and boxes which easily get lost or mixed up at school. Make them simple to identify by tying some ribbon or a bright pipe-cleaner around the handle so your child can spot theirs immediately.

6. Get in sync. There are lots of apps to help you schedule and plan for clubs, daily and weekly events, meal ideas and reminders. Make sure your family’s phone calendars are synced so that responsibility is shared – and set alerts 24 hours before every event.

7. Avoid the morning hair-scare. Buy a large craft box and keep all the clips, hair bobbles, elastics and grips in one tidy place. Find a mini version to keep in the children’s bedrooms too, so when they remove them at night they’ll be stashed somewhere you can find them. Tip: Make sure you buy a box big enough to hold hair brushes and combs too.

8. Refresh last year’s uniform. Unless your child’s grown out of their uniform, it’s possible to freshen-up last year’s clothes and put some new life into them. A single pot of black or navy fabric dye will work on at least six pieces of clothing. And while you’re at it – some in-wash whitener and stain remover for the inevitable felt tip and ink stains.

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Three ways to help kids get ahead

 1: Make brain-boosting snacks

After six long weeks of sleeping-in, children are going to require energy for brain power and concentration in the classroom. These easy-to-make flapjacks will help sustain energy levels when going back to school – why not make them together.

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What you need (Makes 12) 

Optional ingredients - you could also add one or two of your favourites from below


For more great activities and ideas to do with your children, visit The Week Junior’s activity hub here []

2: Encourage them to get organised

Encouraging your child to prepare their own bag and pencil case at the start of the new school year will help develop independence and organisational skills. Ensuring they have all the essential kit and that bags are packed before they go to bed will eliminate stress from the first morning back.

First prepare a pencil case. Start by making a list together of all the stationery you think they will need if the school hasn’t already told you. This may include a glue stick, highlighter, sharpener, geometry set, eraser and ruler. They’ll also need more than one pen and more than one pencil. Put everything in the pencil case in a logical order, with most used items at the top and the largest items at the bottom. A pencil case with compartments can make packing easier.

Next, pack the school bag. The contents might include a pencil case, exercise books, spare paper, water bottle, house keys, bus passm lanyard and a way to pay for lunch if they aren’t taking a packed lunch (the school will let you know how to do this). Perhaps there are some non-essential items to consider too, like lip balm or a hairbrush. Pack books against the back of the bag so nothing digs in when wearing it and put it all in neatly so the contents won’t get muddled up if there’s a last-minute dash for the bus.

3: Get set for success

English teacher Holly King-Mand provides her top tips for making homework easier and more enjoyable. Read them together with your child to help get their school year off to a flying start.

Record instructions in a clear and detailed way when the homework is set
It’s very important to clearly write down what the homework is. Use a notebook as a homework diary. It’s a good idea to write down any tips or suggestions from the teacher in order to remember them by the time the homework is actually being done. 

Encourage them to ask for help 

If your child isn’t clear what the instructions are, suggest that they ask the teacher to clarify them; they will want to help pupils succeed. Most schools run homework clubs, and these are great places to get work done with teachers on hand to answer any questions.

Create the best homework environment

You can improve focus by creating the right environment for homework. Sitting at a desk or table is a good start. Avoid doing homework while slumped in front of the TV. Keeping a tidy workspace also helps. Classical music (or other types) might also help with concentration.

Do it the same day or create a timetable 

Doing homework the same day (where possible) is a great habit to get into, but if it’s not possible then create a timetable. Being organised will avoid any last-minute panic and means it won’t be done in a rush.

Organise using folders/dividers/labels 

Being organised isn’t just about timekeeping. Folders and dividers are a stylish and sensible way of keeping worksheets and completed homework in the right place. A folder for each subject or each submission day might work, and colour-coding is helpful when packing a school bag.

Check it over 

Checking homework provides the chance to correct any mistakes. Encourage children to read over it slowly (or do this together) and check spelling. It’s also a good idea to read the instructions one last time to make sure everything that was set has been completed. 

Suggest they ask for feedback 

To be really successful at homework, you need to know how to improve. Even if the teacher is delighted with what’s been handed in, asking them how to do it better next time will continue to stretch abilities and grow confidence. Win-win!


After weeks of free time, the new school year can come as a bit of a shock! The Week Junior sparks children’s natural curiosity by making learning fun. It gets them back into a questioning frame of mind so they’re ready to hit the new school year running. Our skilfully curated news pages help children learn vital skills for school, such as developing critical thinking, learning how to debate a topic and forming their own opinions.

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