Most State schools follow the three-term year, which starts in September with Autumn Term. This goes through to December, when there is usually a two week break for the Christmas holidays. The Spring Term will then start in early January and go through to late March/early April when the Easter Holidays take place. As Easter is a moveable feast the Spring Term can be as short as 10 weeks and as long as 14 weeks. The Summer Term will then start mid to late April and end mid to late July before a break of approximately six weeks for the summer holidays.

Some local education authorities have abandoned the three term year in favour of a four-term year, which has shorter terms, and of course shorter holiday breaks! The argument in favour of this system seems to be that children learn better when there are shorter terms followed by more evenly spaced holiday periods. (For an example of a four term school press here) There have been rumours that a four-term year may one day become compulsory for all schools, but that is yet to be seen. Independent Schools tend to follow the three-term option, though their terms may be up to a week shorter than their state counterparts.

All schools have a half term break mid-way through each term, usually of five school day's duration. In addition each school will be closed to pupils for five training days a year when the staff have training days to learn about recent educational developments or plan for the future. These days are usually taken from the beginning or end of a term and should be announced to the parents at the beginning of a school year. By law schools should be open for teaching pupils 191 days in a year, which works out at 38 weeks 2 days.


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