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Schools Get Their Half Terms Back; Negotiate School Year Extension
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Schools Get Their Half Terms Back; Negotiate School Year Extension

by David WestleySeptember 30, 2020

Half terms in Terms 1 and 2 have been reinstated in calendars after schools negotiated the extension of the academic year, beyond the dates the KHDA set out in its “new calendar”.

Rule number one in the KHDA’s new guidelines, sent out last week, was that all private schools in Dubai must abide by the dates specified, however wriggle room seems to have been allowed in when the year actually ends.

In calendars sent out this week by leading UK curriculum schools to parents the start and end dates of all terms have remained as per the KHDA’s guidelines, but the end of the academic year has been extended to July 7th. This one-week extension has allowed one extra half term in the school year. As per the KHDA’s guidelines schools already had flexibility to take five days off during the year – “distributed or combined throughout the year, or to extend Spring break…”

With the five flexible days, and the one-week extension of the school year, schools have been able to reinstate two half terms in KHDA approved calendars.

British schools in Dubai we have spoken to will have the following half terms utilised in the winter and spring terms.

  • Winter term: Sunday 18th October – Thursday 22nd October
  • Spring Term:  Sunday 14th February   – Thursday 18th  February

The staff development week, which previously was student free and afforded a half term earlier in the year, has been moved to the summer term. Children will be in school during the week.

There is no half term break in the summer term.

The revised academic calendar for the 2020/21 academic year was issued by the KHDA 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”.

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.
About The Author
David Westley
David is the co-founder and GM of Which Media, the owner of WhichSchoolAdvisor.com and SchoolsCompared.com
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