Back-To-School: Pencil Case Essentials for a Successful Academic Year

6th June 2024

The sky is clear and blue, the sun is shining and the school year is pulling to a close. Mid-afternoon ice creams and balmy beach days are just around the corner. But before you go into full holiday mode, consider taking a few diligent steps to prepare for next school year. Getting your back-to-school shopping done early means evading the dreaded back-to-school rush in late summer, avoiding out-of-stock item dilemmas and maybe even discovering some hot out-of-season deals.

To get ahead for the next academic year, fill your pencil case with all the essentials in plenty of time and walk into school on the first day of school feeling prepared for anything and ready to go!


Pens: Write to Your Heart’s Content

When it comes to pens, everyone has their own preferences. Your choice of pen may also depend on what you’re using it for. Staples carry an expansive range of pens to suit and support every student’s unique journey through the academic year.

Gel pens are highly recommended by Staples for students. Excellent for everyday notetaking, these highly pigmented pens write smoothly and come in a variety of colours, making them the perfect option for colour-coding notes and annotating documents and information sheets.

Ballpoint pens are a sturdy and reliable choice. Due to their smudge-free composition, they are a great choice for left-handed writers. As ballpoint pens require some pressure to write and can leave an indent on thinner paper, they are also a suitable choice for Maths lessons that use tracing paper.

Rollerball pens are another great option for students who take a lot of notes or write a lot of essays by hand. These pens are generally designed or a loose grip and require only a light touch, preventing a need for heavy-handed writing. This is perfect for students who suffer from hand cramps.

Pencils: Because Mistakes Happen

Pencils are an important tool in every student’s pencil case, especially for subjects like Maths and Science. Mistakes happen, so writing with a pencil can be a great option since they are erasable. Whether you like old-school standard pencils or find mechanical pencils to be more your speed, Staples has you covered.

Standard pencils are a robust and cost-effective option. Sold in a variety of lead weights, they can be erased with a rubber and sharpened by a pencil sharpener, both of which are also affordable to buy. However, creating and disposing of pencil shavings can be messy and inconvenient at times.

Mechanical pencils are designed to stay sharp, saving you the job of sharpening your pencil when they become blunt. The lead is held inside of a plastic casing, meaning the pencil doesn’t shrink as you use it up by sharpening it. This is great for people who struggle to hold short pencils. Some mechanical pencils are single use whereas others can be refilled with lead and reused. However, downsides of mechanical pencils include the use of single-use plastic, and their occasional tendency to snap due to the lead being so thin, causing wastage.

Highlighters: Make Bold Strokes

Draw attention to the most important parts of your page with highlighters. Great for marking up and colour-coding class notes, using in textbooks or annotating English texts, highlighters are highly important for a successful academic year. Staples is guaranteed to have the highlighter for you, carrying everything from bright, luminescent colours to more downplayed, pastel shades.

Bright highlighters are a great choice for drawing lots of attention to certain information on the page. These unmissable colours are designed to really stand out. Being the most common colour of highlighter, they are also the most affordable and come in a range of sizes, styles and pack sizes.

Pastel highlighters can elevate a plain page of black and white notes to look truly chic. It’s no secret that having pretty-looking notes can make the process of learning and studying more enjoyable, and using highlighters in a range of fashion colours can really make all the difference. Pastel highlighters also come in a range of sizes, styles and pack sizes.

Rulers: For Straight and Steady Lines

A ruler is a staple item for every student’s pencil case, no matter the school subject. From measuring and drawing straight lines in Maths and Science to underlining text in English and History, a ruler will come in everyday use in the classroom. No matter the occasion, Staples have the ruler for you.

Small rulers are usually around 15cm in length and come in opaque, translucent and transparent varieties. These compact rulers are great for fitting into a pencil case, and for students who predominantly study essay-based subjects like English and History which rarely require measurements.

Larger rulers are usually around 30cm in length and also come in opaque, translucent and transparent varieties. These larger rulers are essential for students who study Maths and Science subjects and need to make accurate measurements and draw large shapes with straight lines. Due to their size, this item may need to be carried alongside your pencil case rather than in it, assuming your pencil case is smaller than 30cm in length.

Nice To Have

Colouring Pens and Pencils: Embrace Vibrancy

Colouring pens and colouring pencils can be just as useful as they are a creative outlet. Whilst these tools are invaluable in creating vibrant and attractive class notes or vivid creations in Art, they can also be used to colour-code, create diagrams, illustrate notes and shade shapes and bar charts in Maths and Science. Making use of colour in your schoolwork is instrumental for organisation, and has been proven to boost your comprehension, memory and recall of the information on the page.

Colouring pens are fun to use and make a big impact. From creativity to functionality, the opportunities with colouring pens are endless. Staples’ have a wide range of colouring pens including felt tips, gel pens, permanent markers and art pens.

Colouring pencils are a hugely versatile tool for completing schoolwork which come into play in a range of school subjects. Staples carry a wide range of colouring pencils in a variety of brands, colour selections and pack sizes.

Scissors and Glue Sticks: Cut and Stick Away

Cutting and sticking is a common school task which can arise in any subject or school year. From primary school arts and crafts projects to trimming down information sheets to glue into your subject book in high school, scissors and glue sticks will always come in handy.

Though some schools have the resources to provide these kinds of item to students, other schools require students to bring their own. Even when schools do provide these items, some students prefer to have their own anyway. Check what the case is with your school before returning to the Staples website to shop our range of scissors and glue sticks.

Don’t Forget

Calculators: For Confident Calculations

Holding an important role in the Maths and Science curriculums in the UK, calculators are a vital component of every school pencil case. Whether you’re preparing to take your GCSEs or you’re at a lower school grade, Staples have the calculator for you.

Desktop calculators are a clear and streamlined option for younger students. With just the essential buttons and functions, these calculators will serve you well in your Maths and Science classes.

Scientific calculators are essential for more advanced, older students. With an advanced range of functions and abilities, these calculators contain everything you need to solve complex algebraic problems and other mathematical dilemmas.

Geometry Sets: Let Your Work Take Shape

Geometry sets contain everything you need to make it through your Maths lessons in one piece! Although Staples do sell each component individually, the sets keep everything together in one neat place. When shopping for a geometry set, make sure the item you choose includes a compass, protractor and one to two set squares. Some sets will also include a 15cm ruler, pencil, rubber and pencil sharpener.

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