Explanatory notes

Flexibility of dates

This notice, given under Section 65A to 65C of the Education Act 1989 sets the number of half-days on which state schools must be open and the terms and holiday dates for state schools to 2014. These dates take into account public holidays but do not include the local Anniversary Day holiday.

Schools may exercise flexibility to open for instruction between Auckland Anniversary day1 and 7 February, the day following Waitangi Day. Schools serving the same community must consult to establish a common opening day for schools in that community. This flexibility of dates will allow schools to accommodate local events more easily. As in previous years, a board of trustees may close a school for teacher-only days, local gala or show days, and in-service training days. This flexibility is restricted to these events.

Where a board exercises this flexibility and closes the school, boards must ensure that schools are open for instruction for the prescribed number of half-days in 2014.

1 Schools in areas that observe Auckland Anniversary day may exercise flexibility to open for instruction between the day after Auckland Anniversary day and 7 February.

Teacher preparation and teacher-only days

Teacher-only days are planning and preparation days. Instruction is not provided for pupils on these days. Teacher preparation and teacher-only days, including "jumbo days" where a number of schools combine for in-service training, are not included in the calculations of half-days when schools are officially open for instruction.

It is recognised that teachers work on professional development and general school and class room planning during times when schools are not open for instruction, including the period of "call-back" days provided for in the primary and secondary teacher collective agreements.

Dates do not need to be notified to the Ministry of Education

Boards of trustees do not need to advise the Ministry of their school term dates.

Local Anniversary Day holiday

If the local Anniversary Day holiday falls within school term dates, a school will need to stay open for an extra day to ensure that it meets the requirement to be open for instruction for the required number of half-days.

Dates should be notified to bus operators

Boards of trustees should notify the school bus operators of school term dates for the following year.

Responsibility to be open for instruction

Section 65A(2) of the Education Act 1989 requires that every board of trustees shall ensure that each school it administers is open for instruction every year on the number of half-days set by the Minister of Education. Schools must be open for instruction accordingly.

Under section 65E of the Education Act 1989, a board of trustees may close a school at any time because of epidemic, flood, fire or other emergency. Ministry of Education consent to close a school in an emergency is not required although the local Ministry office should be notified. However, if the emergency will result in the school not being open for the required number of half-days in that year, approval to reduce the number of half-days open must be obtained from the Manager at the nearest office of the Ministry of Education. Emergencies do not include paid union meetings or strikes.


For further enquiries please contact the appropriate local office of the Ministry of Education.

Content last updated: 5 January 2015