When is the half-term holiday for schools in the UAE?

For most schools the holiday starts on October 17 and lasts up to a week, or five school days

For many schools in the UAE, the mid-term break will start about October 17 and last up to a week. Silvia Razgova / The National
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It may feel like the schools have only just gone back after the long summer break, but half-term holidays are fast approaching.

For many, the holiday is in mid-October.

Authorities allow schools a bit of leeway to set their calendar, as long as they complete a certain number of school days throughout the year, in this year's case, 182, and they do not finish before a date specified by the Ministry of Education.

According to a circular from Dubai's private school regulator, schools have the flexibility to take five days off during the academic year, distributed or combined throughout the year, or to extend the spring break.

These days, however, cannot be used to extend the winter or summer breaks.

Some schools take all five days off during October, while others take only a couple, saving the others for another time during the calendar. And still others do not take any days off at all in October.

But many schools take all five days during the middle of the first term, with the break beginning on Sunday, October 17 and ending on Thursday, October 21.

The duration of the mid-term break depends on the school.

Many of those following the British curriculum traditionally take the whole week off, including Cranleigh Abu Dhabi, the British School Al Khubairat and others such as Dubai British School Emirates Hills, all of which are from Sunday, October 17 to Thursday, October 21.

But other schools may take only a day or two at most, such as American Community School in Abu Dhabi, which is officially closed only one day next week, on Wednesday, according to its calendar.

But because Thursday, October 21 is a public holiday for public and private sector workers to mark the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday, even pupils with shorter holidays will receive a long weekend.

Some schools have only recently returned to full in-person learning.

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Updated: October 13, 2021, 6:16 AM