Christmas school holidays UK 2021: when are pupils off for Xmas and New Year in England, Scotland, NI, Wales?

As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, Christmas is just around the corner

With the end of the year on the horizon, families across the UK are preparing for their children to be off for two weeks over the Christmas school holidays.

School holidays will vary not just across the UK, but between schools within the same country, so it’s important to check the term dates of schools in your area.

Here’s when schools break for Christmas in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales and when they return in the new year - plus where to find out more details about your local school.


Generally, schools across Scotland will close around Monday 20 December 2021 for Christmas, and will remain closed across the new year until around Wednesday 5 January.

The Scottish government website states: “School term and holiday dates vary across Scotland.

“Visit your local council’s website for school term, half term and holiday dates.”

This is when schools will break up for Christmas across the UK (Photo: Shutterstock)

You can find out the term calendar for your school by typing your postcode into the My Gov.Scot website.


In England, schools, generally, will close on Friday 17 December 2021 for Christmas, and will remain closed until Monday 3 January.

Because term dates can differ by council areas, you might find that your child’s school may close earlier or later, and return earlier or later, than other schools.

You can find out the term calendar for your school by typing your postcode into the Government website.


The approved school term dates for Welsh schools will see schools closed from either:

  • 17 December 2021 until 4 January 2022
  • 22 December 2021 until 4 January 2022
  • 22 December 2021 until 6 January 2022. 

You can view the approved school term dates for schools in Wales for 2021/22 via the PDF published by the Welsh government. 

Pupils listen during a lesson in Cardiff, Wales (Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

You can also find out more about your local school by typing your postcode into the My Local School website, provided by the Welsh Government.

Northern Ireland

According to the Northern Ireland Department of Education, pupils in Northern Ireland will see schools close from 23 December 2021 to 3 January 2022.

The Department of Education site notes: “These dates are based on an assumption of a ‘normal’ school year.

“If government advice impacts these dates, schools will be notified as promptly as possible.”

Will schools get an extra day off for Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022?

At the end of last year, it was announced that 2022 would have an extra bank holiday to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The Platinum Jubilee marks the Queen’s 70th anniversary on the throne, and is the first time that any British monarch will have reached this milestone.

Pupils across the country will therefore enjoy an extra day off on Friday 3 June.

2022 will have an extra bank holiday because of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee (Photo: Geoff Pugh - WPA Pool /Getty Images)

When the extra bank holiday was announced in 2020, the then Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee will be a truly historic moment - and one that deserves a celebration to remember.

“We can all look forward to a special, four-day Jubilee weekend, when we will put on a spectacular, once-in-a-generation show that mixes the best of British ceremonial splendour with cutting edge art and technology.

“It will bring the entire nation and the Commonwealth together in a fitting tribute to Her Majesty’s reign.”

A message from the editor:Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.