These are the 29 stationery items your child will need for school in France

These are the 29 stationery items your child will need for school in France
You might need a suitcase for all the stationery. Photo: AFP
As children in France prepare to go back to school, don't forget to check out the French government's list of stationery items children will need for the new school year.

When French schools start the new academic year on September 2nd, there will be a new health protocol in place – full details here.

But one thing that hasn’t changed is the vast amount of stationery that children apparently need for school in France.

In total the list, available online from the French government, runs to 29 items for primary school children, with extra items for pupils going to college or lycée.


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The full list is:

  • one large workbook (21cm by 29cm)
  • one small workbook (17cm by 22cm)
  • loose sheets of A4 size paper, both single and double
  • a music workbook
  • a rigid folder (A4 size)
  • a non-rigid folder (A4 size)
  • two protective covers for workbooks
  • transparent file pockets
  • a roll of plastic (for covering books)
  • four biros (blue, black, red and green)
  • pencils
  • 12 colouring pencils
  • 12 felt tipped pens
  • five tubes of coloured poster paint
  • an eraser
  • a correcter pen
  • one tube of glue
  • a roll of sellotape
  • one A4 folder with plastic pockets
  • one pencil case
  • three paintbrushes of differing sizes (numbers 6,10 and 14 or 4,10 and 16 are recommended)
  • one 30cm plastic ruler
  • a 12cm plastic protractor
  • a plastic set square
  • one pair of compasses (metal or plastic)
  • one pair of scissors with rounded ends
  • a pencil sharpener
  • a diary

The list has been put together by parents and teachers working together and apparently takes into account budget constraints and the weight of the child’s schoolbag.

And if you’ve ever wondered why French supermarkets all seem to have such a wide range of stationery, this could well be your answer.

But parents shouldn’t be too concerned about being arrested by the stationery police if they don’t have all the items on the list – which is described as a guideline rather than a rule.

Less well-off families can get help with the cost of stationery and other back-to-school expenses – click here to find out how to apply.

Member comments

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  1. “four biros (blue, black, red and green)”

    I always wondered why the Bic 4-color pens I use were made in France (unlike other ballpoint pens). I see it’s important there!

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