Friday, February 15, 2013

School Holidays in the UK

It's half-term break in London right now, which means that teachers & students get one week off mid-way through the term.   Canadian teachers take full advantage of these frequent breaks to travel around the UK and Europe, usually on the cheap with airlines like RyanAir & travel groups like TopDeck & Contiki.

To see the Half Term Holidays & School Term Dates for the next few years, just see this site: 

Now, it's a bit difficult because there are 32 different boroughs in London, which means 32 different school boards, all deciding their own term dates.  But you can roughly plan out your year according to a very basic breakdown of the school year.

A Very Basic Breakdown of the School Year in the UK

First Term AKA Autumn Term:

The school year starts the first week of September (this year it was September 3rd, next year it will be September 2nd).  It runs through to Christmas, with a one week break in October, called "Autumn Half Term Break."  This break usually falls in the last week of October running into the 1st few days of November.   Teachers travel to places they've never been, like Scotland or Paris.  The weather is lovely in autumn, and most stick to fairly quick destinations to travel to and save the sunnier shores for the next break.

Then, 2 weeks off for Christmas holidays, just like in Canada or the USA. Teachers either fly home, go skiing/snowboarding in the Alps, travel to cities they've never been to (Vienna is lovely at Christmas time, but really - anywhere in Europe is gorgeous for Christmas). 

By the way, most Canadian teachers will arrive in London in this first term, usually in October as September is a slower month for daily supply teaching.  Most teachers start in daily supply for a couple of months & then go for long term jobs that start in the Second Term. 

Second Term AKA Spring Term: After the Christmas break, (or Winter Break as they call it), the Spring term kicks off and runs through til Easter.  Again, there is a Half Term Break mid way through the term, usually the 3rd week of February.  This is when teachers start needing some sunshine!  The winter-lovers will head to the Alps again, but most will go to warmer shores like Spain or Portugal.  That vitamin D goes a long way to push teachers through to summer! 

Then, Easter Break which is 2 weeks.  This is a lovely long break, and some teachers just stay in London to relax & enjoy the spring climate (the sun finally reappears after a dreary grey winter!), and others will travel home or around Europe again.  Because it's 2 whole weeks, the more adventurous will travel to further lands, like Africa to see the pyramids or Thailand to relax on the beach.  London really is right in the middle, so it's easy to get anywhere from there.

Third Term AKA Summer Term: After Easter and until the 3rd week of July, this is the term that feels the shortest & the longest depending on how well behaved your class is.  Summer is so close, and yet - can feel so far away.  Again, there is a Half Term Break, but this time it's in the last week of May.  Teachers will travel wherever they can as the weather is pretty good everywhere in Europe at this stage.  Some will have to be writing report cards, so often they stay behind and work over the half-term break, but I always advise the travel over the work - you need that break to be a more relaxed & less stressed out teacher. 

When the year is over, it's 6 weeks off for summer.  It goes by really quickly.  Some Canadian teachers return from London to work at their summer camps or summer jobs, and some just relax at their family cottages or family homes.  Plenty of Canadian teachers stay in London all summer though, so you will have people to continue your travels with, or just enjoy everything the city has to offer in the summer time. There are so many great free activities in London in the summer, it's hard to leave it.

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."
— Samuel Johnson

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  1. Love your blog! We've just booked one of our favourite holiday cottages in UK for this summer! I can't wait.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks for the mention of my Half Term Dates website, glad it's useful to you and your readers.


Thanks for sharing your two pence!


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