KHDA Announces New School Calendar, Rules

The KHDA has issued new guidelines for all of Dubai's private schools - without exceptions. Schools will be busy absorbing the announcement from the Dubai regulator regarding the new academic calendar, and its implications.
KHDA Announces New School Calendar, Rules
By James Mullan
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Dubai's education regulator, the KHDA, has issued a revised academic calendar for the 2020/21 academic year. The aim, according to Dubai's private school regulator is 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”.

The new guidelines will have a significant impact on those schools which had previously used training days to create effectively an academic half term. This has been a popular arrangement, in particular, with British curriculum school which have used Sundays as training or INSET days, as they are termed, for their teaching staff. This will no longer be allowed so schools will have to accommodate this training either within the already hectic school schedule, or on weekends.

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.

The Dates

Academic Calendar for Dubai’s Private Schools Starting in September
Academic Years: 2020/2021 to 2022/2023 

Start of academic year
30th August 2020

Winter break (3 weeks)
13th Dec 2020 – 31st Dec 2020

Spring break (2 weeks)
28th March 2021 – 8th April 2021

Academic year not to end before
30th June 2021

Minimum school days


Academic Year 2021/2022

Start of academic year
29th August 2021

Winter break (3 weeks)
12th Dec 2021 – 30th Dec 2021

Spring break (2 weeks)
27th March 2022 – 7th April 2022

Academic year not to end before
3rd July 2022

Minimum school days



Academic Year 2022/2023

Start of academic year
28th August 2022

Winter break (3 weeks)
11th Dec 2022 – 1st Jan 2023

Spring break (2 weeks)
26th March 2023 – 6th April 2023

Academic year not to end before
28th June 2023

Minimum school days

Staff at private schools have been advised to refer to their employment contracts or school management to learn if and how these revisions apply specifically to them.


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