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How Many Days Are in a School Year in the UK?

Written by, Bojana Atanasovska

Updated December, 17, 2021

During the 2020/21 school year, 8.9 million students attended around 24,400 public and private schools in England.

But, how many days are in a school year in the UK? Also, how many terms does it include, and what are the main school holidays?

Read about a slice of life of UK’s students below!

Days and Weeks in the UK School Year

Per local regulations, schools must be open for at least 190 school days per year in the UK (380 sessions), and each school year must begin after July.

2021/22 Academic Year

For the 2021/22 school year, local laws require schools to be open for 189 days (378 sessions), thus granting an extra day of closure for an extraordinary reason: the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee festivities.

Can Schools Shorten Their Working Week?

According to the Schools Minister, educational institutions can shorten their working week only if this action supports the educational needs of their pupils.

Who Determines the Length of a School Day?

While head teachers in public schools recommend the duration of school days (including sessions and breaks) to the corresponding government body, private academies are free to set the length of the school day, as well as the term dates, on their own.

School Holidays and Inset Day Rules

Unlike pupils, who must attend 190 school days, teachers have additional five days of work.

What are INSET Days?

Short for “In-Service Training”, this mandatory working period is reserved for the teachers’ professional development (or administrative tasks) outside of the regular 190 teaching days.

Dates of English School Holidays for 2021/22

  • Start of term: 1 Sep 2021
  • October half-term: 25 Oct–29 Oct 2021
  • Christmas holidays: 20 Dec 2021–3 Jan 2022
  • February half-term: 14 Feb–19 Feb 2022
  • Easter holidays: 4 Apr–18 Apr 2022
  • May half-term: 30 May–3 June 2022
  • Start of summer vacations: 22 July 2022

Note: Contact your school for the most up-to-date school term weeks and holidays.

School Years in The Rest of the UK

Now that we’ve covered the inset days, holiday dates, and primary and secondary school hours in England, let’s look at the rest of the UK.


Each local Scottish authority determines its school terms and vacations. The school year lasts at least 38 weeks (190 days) divided into three terms. The school week lasts from 25 hours for primary schools to 27 hours for secondary schools for most schools.


Akin to the English school year specifics, in Wales, a school day is divided into two sessions, and all pupils must attend 380 sessions (190 days). The Welsh school holidays are very similar to those in England, including the number of inset days.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, schools must be open for 200 days, and they have three terms. The year starts on the 1st of September and ends by the end of July. Schools in Northern Ireland also take different holidays, agreed every year by school sectors.

Class Dismissed

We hope that this article provided you with valuable information on the school years in England and across the UK. However, note that the dates can change under unexpected circumstances, so keep in touch with the school your kid is currently attending for the latest updates.

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

How many days a year do teachers work?

Although most UK schools are open 190 days for pupils, teachers must attend for five extra days (also known as INSET days) for training or administrative purposes.

How long is a school day?

In England and Wales, each school must have at least five hours of teaching. However, school weeks in Scotland vary from 25 to 27 hours, while in Northern Ireland, a school day lasts a minimum of 3 hours. However, when you look at how many days are in a school year, the duration of the school day is a breeze!

Bojana is my name and writing is my game. I am a content writer from Bitola who is always interested in the latest research in almost all areas of life. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a perfectionist character, both of which help me find the most accurate data and information available. Although I have my head stuck in studies and reports most of the time, I still have a bit of free time during which I enjoy knitting and watching classic 90’s Disney movies.