When do kids go back to school? 2021 school holiday and term dates

  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • As we enter October, many parents are wondering when do kids head back to school after the half term break.

    The start of October brings with it another – albeit short – education break. With kids breaking up from school for the annual week-long October half term.

    Parents will be keen to get planning their family days out for the occasion, in addition to having a few fun indoor activities with kids to hand when the weather does decide to take a turn. But as most mums and dads know, one week has a habit of flying by, so we’ve shared the all important return-to-school dates to note in your diaries.

    When do kids go back to school?

    In England and Wales, kids go back to school on Monday 1 November 2021.

    The October half term runs between Monday 25 October to Friday 29 October, and children are expected to go back on the Monday after.

    School children in Northern Island also return to schools on 1 November. This is after having the previous Thursday and Friday off for mid term.

    Scotland’s different school term dates means that kids go back to school on Monday 23 October after their half term.

    Though term dates throughout the UK often vary from school to school, so it’s advised to check dates with your child’s school to be sure.

    Rear view of a mother walking her two kids back to school

    Credit: Getty

    As was the case during the summer holidays, the UK Government are asking parents to continue to test kids for coronavirus.

    Children are expected to regularly undertake lateral flow tests both in and out of school term – which includes the October half term. With parents registering the outcome of their coronavirus test results online.

    A statement on the Department of Education website states that this procedure is being followed to “help councils and local health officials understand the community rates of infection better, enabling them to identify any possible outbreaks early and to take appropriate action in order to help to break chains of transmission.”

    When do secondary schools go back?

    Community secondary schools go back on Monday 1 November 2021.

    Private schools, academies, voluntary aided and foundation schools may possibly have different return dates so it’s important to check with children’s individual schools.

    Normalcy is returning within the school gates which means children don’t need to be in consistent groups – otherwise known as ‘bubbles’ – when they go back in October. This means that children’s curriculums are likely to be more flexible and group activities, such as assemblies, can resume alongside standard lunchtimes where children mix together.

    Also if applicable, October is also when to apply for primary school and secondary school in the UK, so keep an eye on application deadlines if you’re planning on enrolling your child into school for the first time in 2022.

    2021/22 school holidays and term dates

    Education Secretary Gavin Williamson initially proposed a five-term school year for children to catch up on disrupted learning from the pandemic. However, these plans were never finalised and UK school term dates for 2021/2022 have remained unchanged.

    The following school holiday and term dates for 2021 represent the majority of schools. Though it’s always advised to check these dates directly with your child’s school.

    England:

    • Summer school term: Wednesday 1 September to Friday 22 October 2021.
    • October Half term: Monday 25 October to Friday 29 October 2021.
    • School term resumes: Monday 1 November to Friday 17 December 2021.
    • Christmas holidays: Monday 20 December 2021 to Monday 3 January 2022

    Check individual school term dates in England here.

    Rear view of students back at school sitting with hands raised in classroom

    Credit: Getty

    Wales:

    • Autumn school term: Thursday 2 September to Friday 22 October 2021.
    • October Half term: Monday 25 October to Friday 29 October 2021.
    • School term resumes: Monday 1 November to Friday 17 December 2021.
    • Christmas holidays: Monday 20 December 2021 to Monday 3 January 2022.

    Check individual school term dates in Wales here.

    Scotland:

    • Autumn school term: Monday 16 August to Friday 17 September 2021.
    • September Half term: Monday 20 September and Tuesday 21 September 2021.
    • School term resumes: Wednesday 22 September to Friday 8 October 2021.
    • October Half term: Monday 11 October to Friday 22 October 2021.
    • School term resumes: Tuesday 19 October to Wednesday 22 December 2021.
    • Christmas holidays: Thursday 23 December 2021 to Wednesday 5 January 2022.

    Check individual school term dates in Scotland here.

    Northern Ireland:

    • Autumn school term: Wednesday 1 September to Wednesday 27 October 2021.
    • Halloween: Thursday 28 October and Friday 29 October 2021.
    • School term resumes: Monday 1 November to Wednesday 22 December 2021.
    • Christmas holidays: Thursday 23 December 2021 to Monday 3 January 2022

    Check individual school term dates in Northern Ireland here.