School term and holiday dates
We are responsible for setting dates for community and voluntary controlled schools. In the interests of consistency for families across the borough, we would recommend the adoption of these dates by voluntary aided, foundation, academy and free schools.
Term and holiday dates for the academic year 2021-2022
- Wednesday 1 September - Friday 22 October (38 days)
- Half term: Monday 25 October - Friday 29 October
- Monday 1 November - Friday 17 December (35 days)
- Christmas holiday: Monday 20 December - Monday 3 January
- Tuesday 4 January - Friday 18 February (34 days)
- Half term: Monday 21 February - Friday 25 February
- Monday 28 February - Friday 1 April (25 days)
- Spring break: Monday 4 April - Monday 18 April (includes Easter bank holidays)
- Tuesday 19 April - Friday 27 May (28 days)
- Bank holiday: Monday 2 May
- Half term: Monday 30 May - Friday 3 June
- Monday 6 June - Friday 22 July (35 days)
- Summer holiday: Monday 25 July - Wednesday 31 August
Return to school: Monday 5 September 2022
The Education (School Day and School Year) (England) Regulations 1999 (SI 1999 No. 3181) requires schools to have at least 380 half-day sessions (190 days) in each school year, beginning with the first term to start after July. This is consistent with the 195 days a year required by a teacher's statutory conditions of service: the additional five days are for in-service training (known as INSET days).
The governing body of a school is responsible for setting five INSET days out of the school calendar. The school should communicate this information to parents – via such channels as a letter and/or school newsletter and also publish it on the school website. They should also provide this information to their local authority.
- Where schools have more than fifty percent of pupils from a neighbouring local authority (LA) they will be permitted to align their term and holiday dates with that LA
- Voluntary controlled primary schools are permitted to align their dates with the aided secondary school for which they are a named feeder school
School term and holiday dates
- Thursday 1 September - Friday 21 October (37 days)*
- Half term: Monday 24 October - Friday 28 October
- Monday 31 October - Friday 16 December (35 days)
- Christmas holiday: Monday 19 December - Monday 2 January
- Tuesday 3 January - Friday 17 February (34 days)
- Half term: Monday 20 February - Friday 24 February
- Monday 27 February - Friday 31 March (25 days)
- Spring break: Monday 3 April - Friday 14 April (includes Easter bank holidays)
- Monday 17 April - Friday 26 May (29 days)
- Bank holiday: Monday 1 May
- Half term: Monday 29 May - Friday 2 June
- Monday 5 June - Friday 21 July (35 days)
- Summer holiday: Monday 24 July - Friday 1 September
Return to school: Monday 4 September 2023
- Monday 4 September - Friday 20 October (35 days)
- Half term: Monday 23 October - Friday 27 October
- Monday 30 October - Friday 15 December (35 days)
- Christmas holiday: Monday 18 December - Monday 1 January
- Tuesday 2 January - Friday 16 February (34 days)
- Half term: Monday 19 February - Friday 23 February
- Monday 26 February - Thursday 28 March (24 days)
- Spring break: Monday 1 April - Friday 12 April (includes Easter bank holiday)
- Monday 15 April - Friday 24 May (29 days)
- Bank holiday: Monday 6 May
- Half term: Monday 27 May - Friday 31 May
- Monday 3 June - Wednesday 24 July (38 days)
- Summer holiday: Thursday 25 July - Friday 30 August
Return to school: Monday 2 September 2024
- Monday 2 September - Friday 18 October (35 days)
- Half term: Monday 21 October - Friday 25 October
- Monday 28 October - Friday 20 December (40 days)
- Christmas holiday: Monday 23 December - Friday 3 January
- Monday 6 January - Friday 14 February (30 days)
- Half term: Monday 17 February - Friday 21 February
- Monday 24 February - Friday 4 April (30 days)
- Spring break: Monday 7 April - Monday 21 April (includes Easter bank holiday)
- Tuesday 22 April - Friday 23 May (23 days)
- Bank holiday: Monday 5 May
- Half term: Monday 26 May - Friday 30 May
- Monday 2 June - Tuesday 22 July (37 days)
- Summer holiday: Wednesday 23 July - Friday 29 August
Return to school: Monday 1 September 2025
Term dates and holidays in England are set:
- for community and voluntary controlled schools, community special schools and maintained nursery schools, by the local authority (LA)
- for foundation and voluntary aided schools, by the governing body
- for free schools and academies, by the academy trust
The Education (School Day and School Year) (England) Regulations 1999 (SI 1999 No.3181) requires schools to have at least 380 half-day sessions (190 days) in each school year, beginning with the first term to start after July. This is consistent with the 195 days a year required by a teacher's statutory conditions of service: the additional five days are for in-service training (INSET days).
If a school is prevented from meeting for one or more sessions because of an unavoidable event, it should find a practical way of holding extra sessions. If it cannot find a practical way of doing this then it is not required to make up the lost sessions.
If schools want to reduce the number of days they have to meet, they can make an application to the Secretary of State asking for a temporary exemption from the requirements of the legislation using the power to innovate.
The law regulating the school day and school year applies only to schools maintained by the local authority and special schools not maintained by a local authority. This law does not apply to academies and free schools.
The governing body of a school is responsible for setting five INSET days out of the school calendar. The school should communicate this information to parents using channels such as: a letter and/or school newsletter and also publish it on the school website. This information should be provided to their local authority.
This standardised pattern was adopted by Cheshire West and Chester Council in September 2013 following a formal consultation excercise.
- All terms to start on a Monday (or Tuesday if so necessitated by a bank holiday)
- *October half term to always be the last full week in October*
- There will always be a break covering the Christmas and New Year period
- February half term will always be the third full week in February
- Easter break will be renamed Spring break and will always be the first two full weeks in April
- Easter will always be observed via the bank holidays for Good Friday and Easter Monday
- The summer half term break will be one week across all primary, secondary and special schools and will normally include the late May bank holiday Monday
- Where a school is open to pupils for part of a week, this will be for a minimum of three school days (to encourage attendance)
- The five INSET teacher training days are all to be designated by the individual school governing body, but there will be no more than two days (in any one term) set consecutively for this purpose
*Following discussions at the start of 2015 between the local authority and head teacher colleagues, it was agreed that the pattern be slightly altered (currently up until 2019). School heads wished to make the autumn half term one week later than recommended by the standardised pattern, in order to make the second half term of the autumn term the shorter one for pupils i.e. an eight/seven week split. As such, it was agreed to amend the principle of always having October half term to be the last full week in October. By coming to this mutual agreement it is hoped it will encourage as many schools as possible within the borough to adopt the pattern and therefore ensure greater consistency for families.*
The government believes that decisions regarding term dates are best taken locally by those affected. Cheshire West and Chester Council used to be part of the Learn Together Partnership (LTP)(now disbanded). The LTP consisted of the Cheshire and Merseyside local authorities, namely: Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cheshire East Council, Wirral Council, Liverpool City Council, Sefton Council, Knowsley Council, St Helen's Council, Warrington Borough Council and Halton Borough Council. The LTP originally worked together to have the same standardised school year across all their authorities.
However, the council is aware that by following the standardised school year recommended by the LTP, this may mean that CWAC dates differ from those of other neighbouring authorities, such as Flintshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire.
Historically some voluntary aided and foundation schools have taken a two week break at Pentecost (also known as Whit/Whitsun/Whitsunday), due to the religious nature of the holiday. The governing bodies of voluntary aided and foundation schools are able to see their own holiday dates. Some local authorities, however, also agree to their maintained schools having two weeks at summer half term break, for example, Cheshire East Council.
CWAC community and voluntary controlled schools should follow the dates recommended by the local authority and the standardised year adopted by CWAC does not allow a fortnight's break at summer half term.
CWAC sets the school term and holiday dates for all community and voluntary controlled schools, community special schools and maintained nursery schools. In the interests of consistency for all parents across the borough, it recommends that all CWAC schools follow the same dates. Where the governing body of a community or voluntary controlled school selects dates that are different to those of the local authority, they will need to obtain prior permission from the Director of Education. Only unexceptional circumstances will a school be allowed to set different dates to those recommended.
'DfEE Circular 7/90' set out the following suggested minimum weekly teaching times as a guide for schools:
- Age 5-7 years
- Age 8-11 years
- Age 12-16 years
- 21 hours
- 23.5 hours
- 24 hours
The above guidance does not outline the standard minimum hours to be operated by schools. It stands as non-statutory guidance and has advisory status only.
Every school day must have two sessions divided by a break. The length of each session, break and the school day is determined by the school's governing body. The governing body has the power to revise the length of the school day as it sees fit. There is no requirement to consult parents on revisions to the school day.
The governing body of a school is responsible for making the decision and for communicating it to parents/carers. The DfE currently doesn't have any guidance on consultation or notice period before implementation. The DfE would expect individual schools to decide this themselves, taking into account the change itself and those who will be affected (e.g. changes to start/finish times that would have a wider effect on transport/school bus arrangements would need longer timings than a small change). This is the same for other non-maintained schools.
During 2014 there was a Deregulation Bill being progressed through Parliament, which proposed that all schools, regardless of category, would have the ability to determine their own term dates.
The Bill became an Act after receiving Royal Assent on 26 March 2015. However, due to mixed messages nationally with regards to whether the Act, or any part of it, has since been rescinded, the council sought clarification from the Department for Education (DfE) on this matter who confirmed that the provision in the School dates FAQs –08/20164 Deregulation Act 2015, schedule 16 (para 3) which gives the governing bodies of community, voluntary controlled, community special schools, and maintained nursery schools in England the responsibility for setting their own school term and holiday dates will not be commenced. These schools will not therefore be given the power to set their own term dates and are required to adopt the dates stipulated by the local authority.
The legislation was part of a drive to reduce unnecessary burdens on schools. The DfE informally consulted with a wide range of stakeholders both before and during the passage of the Deregulation Bill. DfE confirmed responses were mixed with some supporting the move and others expressing reservations. DfE reflected on the concerns raised and also noted there was not a significant response from maintained schools to suggest they wanted this freedom. In the light of this, DfE concluded that it would not be appropriate to commence with widening this to those maintained schools.
Your child can only miss school if either:
- they are too ill to go in, or
- you have obtained advanced permission from the school
There is extra support from the school/local authority if your child cannot go to school for long periods of time due to health problems. In the first instance please contact the school.
You have to get permission from the headteacher to take your child out of school during term time.
You can only do this if:
- you make an application with the headteacher in advance (as a parent the child normally lives with)
- there are exceptional circumstances
It is up to the headteacher to decide how many days your child can be away from school if leave is granted.
You can be fined for taking your child on holiday during term time without the school's permission (please see the DfE website for further information about the fines process).
The relevant information can be found on the Gov.UK website
- The Education Act 2002 - section 32
- The Education Act 1996 - section 551(1)
- The Education (School Day and School Year)(England) Regulations 1999
- The Changing of School Session Times (England)(Revocation) Regulations 2011
- The Deregulation Act 2015 - schedule 16 (3)
Other information can be found on the DfE website and in the advice document:
- School attendance: departmental advice for maintained schools, academies, independent schools and local authorities (October 2014)