The 32 essential back-to-school buys for 2020

New term? Drake Circus in Plymouth has you covered

With the schools finally heading back in September, now’s the time to get your back to school shopping done and dusted without any stress. 

To avoid the usual problems of shoes that don’t fit or forgotten text books, Drake Circus has pretty much everything you need: from blazers and shoes, bag and backpacks to pens, books, stationery, drinks bottles and more from names including Paperchase, Tiger, Smiggle, Next and Marks & Spencer*… 

Plus, with special offers, a welcoming socially distanced day out (with or without the kids), free parking, great places to eat and drink, Drake Circus is the perfect place to get organised and make sure your kids are looking forward to going back to school.

Drake Circus is open from 9.30am-7pm (8pm on Thursdays) and 11am-5pm on Sundays. 

Print out this page for a handy checklist to tick off as you shop for everything you need then see below for the best places to find them at Drake Circus. 

  1. Shoes
  2. Blazer and jacket 
  3. Cardigans and jumpers 
  4. Gingham dresses 
  5. Pinafores and dresses 
  6. Polo shirts 
  7. Shirts and blouses 
  8. Shorts 
  9. Skirts 
  10. Trousers
  11. PE kits and sportswear 
  12. Underwear, socks and tights 
  13. Hairbands and bobbles 
  14. Textbooks
  15. Pens (black or blue) 
  16. Pencil case
  17. Pencils
  18. Highlighters
  19. Rubbers
  20. Pencil sharpener
  21. Ruler
  22. Correction fluid
  23. Glue stick
  24. Scissors
  25. Maths supplies (compass, protractor, set square, calculator)
  26. Memory stick
  27. Earphones
  28. Notebooks
  29. Backpack
  30. Lunch box
  31. Drink bottle 


Schuh, Upper Mall 
Schuh has everything for classic black school shoes, Mary-Jane designs and premium leather school buys alongside trainers and plimsolls from Adidas and Vans. Featuring brands such as Kickers, Lelli Kelly, Nike and Dr. Martens school shoes – they totally have you covered. Plus, they have a 10% discount for students all year round.

Footasylum, Upper Mall 
For more teen-friendly shoes, Footasylum has a huge selection of shoes, backpacks and coats with Nike gym sacks, Vans backpacks, coats from North Face, Kings Will Dream and Adidas alongside an incredible range of black trainers, shoes and loafers, it’s a one-stop shop of buys to make kids and teens content.

Foot Locker (Old Town Street) and JD Sports (Lower Mall) 
For trainers and sports accessories, choose from Footlocker and JD Sports which both have a massive selection from brands including Adidas, Nike, Converse, Under Armour, Vans, Fila and Superga.


Next (Upper Mall and First Floor)
Next has everything covered when it comes to uniform: from an insider’s guide to getting the best fit to velcro-fastening shirts and polos for smaller fingers, you’ll be able to get organised in no time. 

Marks & Spencer (Upper and Lower) has a huge range of uniform basics in sturdy, hard-wearing material while H&M and Accessorize (both Upper Mall), Claire’s, New Look and Primark (all Lower Mall) are brilliant places for hairbands, PE kits, underwear, socks and tights.


For essential textbooks, maths and English guides, great fiction stories and novels, dictionaries and foreign language go-tos, head to Waterstones (Lower Mall) for everything you need for the new term. They also have a great range of stationery and staff who will go out of their way to help you find any books you need or suggest authors that will capture children’s imaginations. 

School supplies and stationery

Smiggle, Upper Mall
With newly designed school bundles (backpack, lunchbox, drink bottle and pencil case) and a huge array of multibuy offers of pens, earphones, art sets and wallets, Smiggle is back to school heaven

Paperchase, Upper mall
For lovely and affordable pencil cases, notebooks and pens for even the pickiest of stationery lovers, Paperchase is ready and open for the new season with fun collections including a special Back To School area with mid-year diaries. 

Tiger, Lower Mall
Filled to the brim with handy notebooks, desk organisers, paints, pens, whiteboards and folders, Tiger is the perfect spot to get them excited about the new school term without breaking your bank balance. Plus, for older students, there are handy everyday items that’ll keep them on-track and organised. 

The Entertainer, First Floor
For pens, paints, crayons and colour your own backpacks, The Entertainer is a definite visit for those with pre-schoolers and Key Stage 1 kids. And, even for older children, there is a whole host of crafting, interactive and science kits to get their brains working for the new term. 

*Availability dependent on stock. 

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