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Aug 02, 2023

Best back

Start the academic year feeling confident and prepared here’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly sharpened graphite on a spanking new sheet of paper, or the feeling of opening a brand-new pen and

Start the academic year feeling confident and prepared

here’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly sharpened graphite on a spanking new sheet of paper, or the feeling of opening a brand-new pen and watching the ink glide across a perfectly crisp page like an Olympic figureskater.

The one month of year we can excuse a stock-piling of hi-tech stationery, notebooks, calendars and desk accessories is September – otherwise known as back-to-school season. After a long, languid and rainy British summer spent with the kids at home, when September rolls around, it’s finally time to usher the little - and not-so-little ones - into a brand-new academic year.

However, a smooth start to the school year is not possible without some solid preparation. Plans and provisions must be made. From trips to uniform stockists and finiding the perfect pair of black school shoes, to diligently labelling each and every piece of kit and stationery, there’s a lot to do and the early bird catches the worm.

As such, properly budgeting for a return to school can feel like a mammoth task – especially when the vast majority of purchases occur within the space of just one month.

Fear not, for we’ve rounded-up the best value for money stationery sets, pens, pencils, diaries and planners so that your children can start another exciting school year with confidence. Keep scrolling for more.

Shop now.

Colour code your notes with a pastel flare thanks to these delightful ballpoint flexgrip pens by Papermate. The retractable push-top design provides a satisfying and leak-free experience, while the premium metal nose cone ensures smooth writing and ultimate comfort.

An alternative to the uncomfortable classic Bic pens, these equally fantastic value retractable comfort grip pens deliver a premium writing experience without the painful edges, or frustrating ink cartridge from casing separation.

Using patented heat-sensitive ink, these marvellous pens by Pilot offer a uniquely erasable writing experience. Designed to remove ink without damaging or tearing paper, these Frixion pens are a fantastic way to graduate from pencil to pen with an additional safety net.

Offered in a multi-pack which features an array of bright, noticeable colours, the uni-ball eye pens are a fan-favourite amongst students and teachers alike for their ability to make anyone’s handwriting look like caligraphy.

Another set by our favourite brand uni-ball, this time in a gorgeous array of pastel tones. Boasting a similar, gel-like consistency, these push-top ballpoint pens have a finer finish (0.38mm, to be exact) for greater detail and control. Ideal for the journal-obsessed, the highly pigmented colours are simply divine.

Liven up your desk with this vibrant-hued fountain pen from LAMY. In order to give the most comfortable writing experience, there are recessed grips, while the medium-thickness silver steel nib is suitable for most handwriting styles. This pen offers effortless cursive writing and quality results. Plus the shiny design will look super cool at your desk and with its statement-making design, it should never go missing.

A perennial staple for school kids since these pens were first introduced back in 1977, the Stabilo point fineliners are an essential when it comes to neat and organised note-taking.

A fairly new addition to the Sharpie family, these no-bleed ink highlighters are offered in an array of unique colours, from the pastel-toned to the wonderfully vibrant.

The best part about this value-for-money set of Fineliners is the fact that the handy plastic case can be trasnformed into an upright stand for easy accesssibility.

Satisfyingly square and budget-friendly, this set of highlighters will certainly go the distance – lasting you all the way up until next September.

Designed to make the life of a student significantly less stressful, this Academic Diary Desk Set from Papier can be split into sections which focus on revision plans, deadlines and daily to-dos thanks to the uber-cool included page dividers. There are also funky stickers to make the whole planning process a lot more fun.

Customisable and available in either a paper hardback or spiral bound softback design – make this ‘Genius Juice’ diary from Papier your own this academic year.

Filled to the brim with 300 pages of 90gsm Optik paper, the Oxofrd Campus A4 pad is the Rolex of refill pads, allowing you to write smoothly on both sides without any bleed-through or bumpy textures.

Same same, but different. If you prefer an A5 notebook with a spiral binding, Oxford Campus has once again got you covered with these pretty, pastel pads of paper. Now say that three times fast.

Featured in a Gen Z-approved checkerboard design, this neon pink notebook certainly won’t be forgotten at home.

Take on each school day with the gentle reminder to ‘just roll with it’ every time you create a new bullet point on that ever-growing to-do list.

Add a feminine touch to your stationery collection with this set of three multicoloured strawberry and fast food-themed A5 notebooks from

A sturdy and long-lasting option for classes which require rigorous notetaking, this wirebound notebook features scannable pages which you can save onto your smart device via the free app SCRIBZEE. You’ll never have to worry about lost school bags again.

One for the LEGO enthusiasts among us, this compact pencil box comes with a mini figure which can be clipped onto one of the integrated LEGO surfaces, so you’ll have a fun desk buddy to accompany your studies.

If you’re interested in a pencil case through which you can actually see your precious stationery, this is our top pick in the transparency department. Rather than that easily punctured classic plastic, this case boasts an extra-strong and entirely see-through mesh design.

It is also another one of those seemingly unassuming, yet somehow extra-large pencil cases. Though it only measures 23x6.5cm, its manufactures state that it can fit between 40-50 pens and other small stationery items.

Sleek and minimalistic, this classic clear pencil case is stylish enough for classtime use, and practical enough for important exams.

This Mary Poppins-esque pencil case may look small, but its capacity is certainly mighty. Alongside your favourite pens and pencils, it can also fit a scientific calculator, an 18cm ruler and a whole bunch of Tombrow Brush Pens (which are approximately 19cm, for the artistically uninitiated).

We love how this pencil case zips open with a wide mouth, for easy access to your supplies. It also has two inside pockets to house extra stationery bits such as post-its and washi tape. The gorgeous sage-green hue is an additional huge plus in our eyes.

Whether you’re a fan of The Beatles, or simply adore the cottage core aesthetic, this sweet and spacious pencil case will make a fantastic companion this school year.

Designed for schoolkids or not, we can’t get enough of brightly-tones checkerboard designs. This tangerine dream measures a small but decent 11x22x7cm and is made entirely from plastic, which will prevent your stationery from succumbing to flask spillages in your bag.

Keep track of all the most important chapters in your many textbooks with this pretty selection of colourful Post-its.

These non-toxic and aesthetically-pleasing rubbers will remove mistakes with the utmost ease, and without any tearing.

Use this goregous, easy-peel washi tape to decorate your hand-written notes, or to highlight certain passages in your textbooks.