School terms and holidays

The New Zealand school year is divided into 4 terms for state and state-integrated schools and kura.

School holidays brought forward for 2020

Term 1 school holidays were brought forward so that they were completed within the 4 week period of Alert level 4 in response to Covid-19.

Holidays began from Monday 30 March and ended on Tuesday 14 April. The Tuesday after Easter Monday is always a closed day for schools.

At the end of the school holidays, schools were open for distance learning but not physically open for staff or students, with teachers working offsite.

The number of half days schools are required to be open for has been reduced by 4, given the additional teacher only day on Tuesday 28 April and the movement of the school holidays in relation to Easter resulting in schools losing 4 half days of instruction.

About school holidays

Schools and kura (Māori Medium schools) have some flexibility around their start and finish dates. Terms 2 and 3 are fixed.

Schools and kura close for public holidays and anniversary dates, teacher-only days, Saturdays and Sundays. They can also close in an emergency.

During the school day there are breaks in the morning and at lunchtime so that your child can eat and play. You need to provide morning tea and lunch.

2020

 TermStart dateEnd date Holidays    
1

(9 weeks)
Between Monday 27 January and Friday 7 February Friday, 27 March

Public holidays: Waitangi Day.

School holiday: Saturday 28 March - Tuesday 14 April (includes Easter, Easter Tuesday).

2

(12 weeks)
Wednesday 15  April Friday 3 July

Public holidays: ANZAC (observed) 27 April, Queen’s Birthday 1 June

School holiday: Saturday 4 July – Sunday 19 July
3

(10 weeks)
Monday 20 July Friday 25 September School holidays: Saturday 26 September – Sunday 11 October
4

(10 weeks)
Monday 12 October Primary, intermediate and special schools: No later than Friday 18 December*

Secondary and composite: No later than Wednesday 16 December**
School holidays: 5 or 6 weeks (from school’s closing date until opening date of school the following year)

Public holidays: Labour Day, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day

* so that school has been open for instruction for 380 half days
** so that school has been open for instruction for 376 half days.

2021 school terms and holidays

 START DATEEND DATEHOLIDAYS
Term 1 – Between 10-11 weeks Between Monday 1 February (at the earliest); and Tuesday 9 February (at the latest) Friday 16 April

Public holidays: Waitangi Day (observed) 8 February,

Easter: Good Friday 2 April, Easter Monday 5 April
and Easter Tuesday 6 April (a school holiday)

School holiday: Saturday 17 April - Sunday 2 May (includes ANZAC day 25 April).

Term 2 - 10 weeks Monday 3 May Friday 9 July

Public holiday: Queen’s Birthday 7 June

School holiday: Saturday 10 July – Sunday 25 July

Term 3 - 10 weeks Monday 26 July Friday 1 October  School holidays: Saturday 2 October – Sunday 17 October
Term 4 - up to 10 weeks Monday 18 October All schools no later than Monday 20 December*

Public holidays: Labour Day 25 October, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day

School holiday: 5 or 6 weeks (from school’s closing date until opening date of school the following year)

* Or to a day in December which ensures that the school has been open for instruction for a minimum of 380 half-days in 2021.

2022 school terms and holidays

 START DATEEND DATEHOLIDAYS
Term 1 – Between 10-11 weeks Between Monday 31 January (at the earliest); and
Tuesday 8 February (at the latest)
Thursday 14 April 

Public holidays: Waitangi Day (observed) Monday 7 February

Easter: Good Friday 15 April

School holidays: Saturday 16 April - Sunday 1 May (includes Easter Monday 18 April, Easter Tuesday 19 April (a school holiday), and ANZAC day Monday 25 April)

Term 2 - 10 weeks Monday 2 May Friday 8 July

Public holiday: Queen’s Birthday 6 June

School holidays: Saturday 9 July – Sunday 24 July

Term 3 - 10 weeks Monday 25 July Friday 30 September School holidays: Saturday 1 October – Sunday 16 October
Term 4 - up to 10 weeks Monday 17 October No later than Tuesday 20 December* Public holidays: Labour Day Monday 24 October, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day

 

* For primary, intermediate and special schools: or to a day in December which ensures that the school has been open for instruction for a minimum of 386 half-days in 2022.

For secondary and composite schools: or to a day in December which ensures that the school has been open for instruction for 380 half-days in 2022.

Why aren't the school terms all the same length?

The main reasons for terms varying in length are:

  • schools, kura and their communities choosing to start at the earliest start date, which extends the first term by up to one week
  • where possible the Ministry aligns the end of the first term to Easter so that the Easter break falls within the school holidays - this can make term 1 shorter or longer depending on when Easter falls
  • schools and kura closing for teacher-only days and local events and having to make up the days at the end of the year - which makes term 4 slightly longer.

What can I do if I'm not happy with my school's start and finish dates?

Some parents have children attending different schools with different start and finish dates.  Schools are required to consult with schools in their communities to align their dates where possible to minimise disruption to families.  It that's not happening, talk to your principal about how they set the dates and the impact it's having on your family. 

What about early childhood services and private schools?

Many early childhood services follow the school terms and holidays. Full time daycare services though are usually open through the school holidays but close over Christmas.  Check with your services or service.

Private schools can have different terms and holidays.  They can also open on Easter Tuesday.  Check with the school.

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