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School terms in primary and post-primary schools

Information

Schools in Ireland are obliged to open for 183 days per year at primary level and 167 days per year at post-primary level. At one time, schools had a good deal of flexibility about the start and end of school terms. This meant that there was considerable variation about when students returned to school after holidays such as Christmas and mid-term breaks.

Since 2004 school terms have been standardised under a series of agreements made between representatives of schools, teacher unions, parents’ organisations and other relevant bodies.

The dates for the start and the end of the school year are not standardised so schools have some discretion about when students finish school in the summer and when they start school in the autumn. All schools are closed for July and most (or all) of August. The dates for the Christmas, Easter and mid-term breaks are standardised.

At the start of the school year, parents/guardians will get a list of days that the school will be closed during the year, including holidays and training days for teachers. If there are other unexpected closures the school will let you know in advance.

The Department of Education and Skills Circular 0034/2011 and Circular 0016/2014 deal with the standardisation of the school year. The circular also provides guidance about how schools can make up any time that is lost due to unforeseen closures.

Rules

Start and end of the school year

The dates for the start and the end of the school year at both primary and post-primary level are not fixed. However, due to the start of certificate exams, post-primary schools are usually not open for tuition after the Friday before the June public holiday (the first Monday in June) in any year. The school year generally starts in the week in which 1 September falls .

Discretionary days

Every school must be open for tuition for a minimum of 183 days at primary level and 167 days at post-primary level. Schools can use any remaining days at their discretion to extend the summer holiday period or to close on religious or other holidays.

However, schools cannot use these days to extend the Christmas, Easter or mid-term breaks (unless a religious observance day(s) falls at that time for schools of a particular denomination or faith). If a school does not have enough discretionary days left for a religious holiday, it can denote that day a non-tuition day.

School year 2013/14

October 2013 mid-term break

All schools close from Monday 28 October 2013 to Friday 1 November 2013 inclusive.

Christmas 2013

All schools close on Friday 20 December 2013, which is the final day of the school term. All schools re-open on Monday 6 January 2014.

February 2014 mid-term break

Primary schools close for 2 days, on Thursday 20 February 2014 and Friday 21 February 2014. They may use 3 discretionary days to extend this to a 5-day break starting on Monday 17 February, unless they need these days to make up for time lost due to unforeseen school closures.

Post-primary schools close for a week, from Monday 17 February 2014 to Friday 21 February 2014 inclusive, unless changes are needed to make up for time lost due to unforeseen school closures.

If a post-primary school needs to make up such time, it may shorten the mid-term break by staying open up to and including Wednesday 19 February 2014.

Easter 2014

All schools close on Friday 11 April 2014, which is the final day of the school term, unless changes are needed to make up for time lost due to unforeseen school closures. If a school needs to make up such time, it may shorten the mid-term break by staying open up to and including Wednesday 16 April 2014.

All schools re-open on Monday 28 April 2014.

School year 2014/15

October 2014 mid-term break

All schools close for a week, from Monday 27 October 2014 to Friday 31 October 2014 inclusive.

Christmas 2014

All schools close on Friday 19 December 2014, which is the final day of the school term. All schools re-open on Monday 5 January 2015.

February 2015 mid-term break

Primary schools close for 2 days, on Thursday 19 February 2015 and Friday 20 February 2015. They may use 3 discretionary days to extend this to a 5-day break starting on Monday 16 February, unless they need these days to make up for time lost due to unforeseen school closures.

Post-primary schools close for a week, from Monday 16 February 2015 to Friday 20 February 2015 inclusive, unless changes are needed to make up for time lost due to unforeseen school closures.

If a post-primary school needs to make up such time, it may shorten the mid-term break by staying open up to and including Wednesday 18 February 2015.

Easter 2015

All schools close on Friday 27 March 2015, which is the final day of the school term, unless changes are needed to make up for time lost due to unforeseen school closures. If a school needs to make up such time, it may shorten the mid-term break by staying open up to and including Wednesday 1 April 2015.

All schools re-open on Monday 13 April 2015.

Page updated: 26 February 2014

Language

Gaeilge

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Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.