10 Best School Bags to Suit All Ages from Primary to Secondary

Whether they're starting reception, or Year 7 these are our top picks to get them ready to face the challenge

Whether a child is just four years old and fresh out of nursery, or in their teens thinking about college, their school bag is an important part of their daily routine. It carries so many important parts of their life around – from laptops to lunch and therefore needs to be up to the challenge.

Younger children might not have stacks of homework but having their own bag is so important in terms of their development. It encourages them to start taking responsibility for their things and this make them feel grown up, which in turn promotes confidence.

No matter what the age or stage of a child, the main thing we were looking for in their school bag was comfort. Did the bag feel good to wear? Did the strap/s feel sufficiently strong and sturdy? When filled, was the weight of the bag evenly spread about?

Then of course there were other considerations. Size, for one. What could it fit inside easily without a battle against zips and clips every day? Was it easy to access? Did all the fastenings work cleanly?

We also took into account helpful things like hidden compartments for pens, water bottle holders and so on.

Finally, we thought hard about how each bag might fare being used every single day. Was it built to last? From reception class newbies to teenagers with packed timetables, here’s our selection.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers , but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Cambridge Satchel Company classic leather batchel: £175, Cambridge Satchel Company

This batchel (a satchel with a handle) the most traditional of scholarly accessories. It might seem silly to describe school bags for children as investment pieces, but this – which is by far the priciest of our round up – will last all through secondary school and beyond. The leather is luxurious quality, the craftsmanship beautiful and, if there’s a formal uniform policy you could never get into hot water with this on your shoulder.

We plumped for the 15-inch version because it could hold a small laptop. It comes in its own cloth bag which is a grown up, sophisticated touch.

Our 13-year-old tester was especially enamoured with the idea that this could be engraved with one’s initials… This suits smart, organised pupils – and will last a lifetime if well looked after.

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