Dubai Schools Half-Term Holiday Re-Instated

There is an almost audible sigh of relief among the teaching community in Dubai as the October half-term has been re-instated, paid for with an extension of the school year into July.
Dubai Schools Half-Term Holiday Re-Instated
By James Mullan
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Fears that Dubai schools would be without a half term holiday, and that the current term would continue until mid-December, have been allayed. 

New calendars sent out this week to parents by leading UK curriculum schools show that the start and end dates of all terms have remained as per the KHDA’s guidelines but the end of the academic year has been extended to July 7th. The additional week enables schools to offer an extra half-term in the school year. 

School WhatsApp groups buzzed last week with the news that the half-term scheduled for the third week of October appeared to have been scrapped.  With the current pandemic teachers in particular were concerned that they have not had a proper break from work since February. There was concern voiced regarding the well-being of staff who have been operating under considerable emotional and mental pressure for eight months.  

The news that they and their students will enjoy a full week’s holiday will be very well received.

British schools in Dubai we have spoken to will have the following half terms utilised in the winter and spring terms.

  • Winter term: Sunday 18th October – Thursday 22nd October
  • Spring Term:  Sunday 14th February   – Thursday 18th  February

The staff development week, which previously was student free and afforded a half term earlier in the year, has been moved to the summer term. Children will be in school during the week.

There is no half term break in the summer term.

The revised academic calendar for the 2020/21 academic year was issued by the KHDA to “provide a more aligned school year for all private schools in Dubai”.

The revised calendar includes a minimum of 182 school days and “fulfils each curriculum’s academic and examination requirements”.

Academic Calendar Guidelines:

  1. All private schools in Dubai must abide by the dates specified in the academic calendar.
  2. A minimum of 182 school days must be included in the academic year.
  3. The academic year must not end before the date specified in the calendar.
  4. Start dates for the Spring and Winter breaks cannot be changed.
  5. Schools have the flexibility to take five days off during the academic year – distributed or combined throughout the year, or to extend Spring break. However, these five days cannot be used to extend the Winter or Summer breaks.
  6. Previously, schools were able to allocate eight days each academic year for training or continuous professional development (student-free days). This option is no longer available.
  7. The exact dates of public holidays will be announced by the government of the UAE. These holidays can be communicated to parents on a tentative basis, but must not be confirmed until officially declared by the UAE government. Schools should not mark public holidays in the calendar submitted for approval.
  8. Schools can only share their academic calendar with their community after it has been approved by KHDA.
  9. All schools are expected to comply with these guidelines. Failure to do so will result in further action, in line with Executive Council Resolution No.(2) of 2017, Regulation Private schools in the Emirates of Dubai.

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