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Why do private schools have longer holidays?


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105 replies to this topic

#51 eliza_non

Posted 18 September 2019 - 05:09 PM

No idea why they have longer holidays. It’s the reason I sent my kids to public school though as the logistics of dealing with 14 weeks of holidays rather than 12 was unworkable around my employment. Actually, I would pay to send my kid to a school with less school holidays, say only 8-10 weeks a year.

#52 annodam

Posted 18 September 2019 - 05:16 PM

View PostJRA, on 18 September 2019 - 04:35 PM, said:

Yep, same here. the local state secondary starts at 9 and finishes at 3 ish.

For me, it seems they also have less days off randomly during the year, as such.



We have never had any Pupil Free days.

With my kids cohort, every year parents are off O/S for 6-8wks during the July School Holidays.
Currently, there's about 5 kids in DS class who are in EU, they left a week before School ended.
Hardly any skiers though, all O/S for the Northern Summer.

#53 Kiwi Bicycle

Posted 18 September 2019 - 05:26 PM

DS's school does class transistions in December. They have the classes sorted, they go and meet their new teacher and see the classroom, so they are already to go in January when they get back. Just like Prep transition the year before they start school.

#54 purplekitty

Posted 18 September 2019 - 05:27 PM

No pupil free days at my children's private schools either that I remember.
Many in State primary school.

#55 ~J_F~

Posted 18 September 2019 - 05:36 PM

View PostIvy Ivy, on 18 September 2019 - 05:08 PM, said:

I think it must be really unsettling for kids at a primary school level, to start the new school year all excited and raring to go, then sit around not being in their actual class, at their actual desk, with their actual teacher (as untethered as workplace 'hotdesking' is for adults, but worse, more unknowns) while teacher and class numbers are being sorted.  All the momentum to learn at the start of the school year lost.

There must be a lot of uncertainty in both the student and teacher sides for public schools to do this.  I'd love to hear from teachers on EB the inside story on this.

Do schools really do this? My kids have been both public and private schools and they always know in the last week what classroom they will be in, the teacher and who the other students in the class will be.

I already know for next year what class and teacher my kid will have.

ETA - We also don’t have pupil free days, they seem to be all done the week before school goes back.

Edited by ~J_F~, 18 September 2019 - 05:37 PM.


#56 purplekitty

Posted 18 September 2019 - 05:40 PM

Classes were not finalised until a certain date at the beginning of the year at our primary school.
About 2 weeks I think.
Teacher allocation wasn't done until enrolment numbers were certain,if not enough students for single classes then composite classes happened.
My son was in composites for most of primary school.

#57 annodam

Posted 18 September 2019 - 05:46 PM

Our classes are finalised in the last week of School, so we know who our class mates are & who our Teacher is when we finish at the end of the year.
On the first day back, straight to the new class.

#58 purplekitty

Posted 18 September 2019 - 05:48 PM

View Post~J_F~, on 18 September 2019 - 05:36 PM, said:

Do schools really do this? My kids have been both public and private schools and they always know in the last week what classroom they will be in, the teacher and who the other students in the class will be.

I already know for next year what class and teacher my kid will have.

That happened but changed according to enrolment numbers at the start of the year.
State Primary School.

#59 lulu85

Posted 18 September 2019 - 06:05 PM

View Posteliza_non, on 18 September 2019 - 05:09 PM, said:

No idea why they have longer holidays. It’s the reason I sent my kids to public school though as the logistics of dealing with 14 weeks of holidays rather than 12 was unworkable around my employment. Actually, I would pay to send my kid to a school with less school holidays, say only 8-10 weeks a year.

I personally have found that, if you work, holidays are tough to manage whether it’s 12 weeks or 14 weeks. DD started at a private school this year after a number of years at public school and I have found the earlier start and availability of lots of onsite activities after school has made our lives in term time much easier. I am hoping this outweighs the challenges of extra holidays, but ask me again after our first almost 2 month break over Christmas!!

#60 It's Percy

Posted 18 September 2019 - 06:15 PM

View Postmayahlb, on 18 September 2019 - 02:34 PM, said:


Oh and on the boarding school thing, my neighbours kids attend boarding school and their holidays are exactly the same as it state school except for finishing the year a week earlier. This is WA though, so that could be part of it. I don’t think the private schools in WA, from those few I know with kids in them, have widely different holidays to the state system.

Private school in Perth here - one of the older more established ones with a boarding house. We go back a week early in January (Jan 28 to be precise) so they can get three weeks off in July. Their hours are 8.30 to 3.30. They finish 10 December.

Other daughter is in public primary school. Hours 8.50 to 3.10. They started 4 Feb and finish 19 December so it evens out in the number of days but the prvate school is 40 minutes longer each day - easily another teaching session a day hence why they can finish earlier.

#61 eliza_non

Posted 18 September 2019 - 06:22 PM

View Postlulu85, on 18 September 2019 - 06:05 PM, said:



I personally have found that, if you work, holidays are tough to manage whether it’s 12 weeks or 14 weeks. DD started at a private school this year after a number of years at public school and I have found the earlier start and availability of lots of onsite activities after school has made our lives in term time much easier. I am hoping this outweighs the challenges of extra holidays, but ask me again after our first almost 2 month break over Christmas!!

We’re extremely lucky. Our public school has free before school activities (chess, dance, computer club, running) most mornings and free afternoon sport a couple of afternoons. My kids get dropped off at 7.45am for free activities three days a week. Otherwise the school has free supervision from 8.15am and again in the afternoon until 3.30pm. Wish public schools were all this good.

#62 Lunagirl

Posted 18 September 2019 - 07:09 PM

View PostJBH, on 18 September 2019 - 01:47 PM, said:

I’ve always thought the year is structured as longer days/longer holidays as early private schools were quite focused on country boarders who travelled home to the farm for holidays.

Exactly. I'm surprised more people with kids at private schools don't know this.

I went to a private school with boarders and was always told we had longer holidays so they had a chance to spend decent time with their families. We did have a longer school day to compensate.

#63 JoanJett

Posted 18 September 2019 - 07:14 PM

View PostLunagirl, on 18 September 2019 - 07:09 PM, said:

Exactly. I'm surprised more people with kids at private schools don't know this.

I went to a private school with boarders and was always told we had longer holidays so they had a chance to spend decent time with their families. We did have a longer school day to compensate.


There are plenty of private schools without boarders who also have longer holidays -  mine was one (in the last century :))

#64 seayork2002

Posted 18 September 2019 - 07:16 PM

Ds in Nsw primary takes a week or so to get onto his main classroom at the start of every year why I have no idea but he is not bothered so neither are we really

I think it was 2 weeks one year the kids still have a classroom desks etc. just not a permanent one

#65 Kreme

Posted 18 September 2019 - 07:40 PM

The first public primary school my kids attended would announce the classes on day 1. It did go wrong one year when a whole bunch of enrolled FYOS kids didn’t turn up. They ended up having to dissolve a class after a week and split the kids across all the other classes. And the poor teacher who was on contract lost her job! Honestly I think a couple of days of uncertainty is better than that.

Our current public primary is very popular and people move into the catchment during the Christmas break and just turn up on day 1. It’s not uncommon to have 30+ unexpected enrolments. And they’re not evenly spread across the grades. So the school doesn’t form classes for a couple of days to avoid the above scenario. They manage it pretty efficiently though, within a few days.

My kids will be at two different public high schools next year. One runs 9-3 and the other 9-3.20. Same holidays.

#66 HamsterPower

Posted 18 September 2019 - 07:52 PM

I much prefer the longer days of our private school, it has meant i have been able to drop the kids directly to school everyday with no BSC but not too early for supervision. Basically they get there with all their friends and I get to work on time with no stress. I even have time t9 stay for quick assemblies in younger primary as they start so early.
Sports training is also catered for on campus after school so they can actually play team sports without us trying to organise ride some to training etc each week.

They do get a couple of extra weeks holidays per year but we use those to our advantage If going away as it is usually cheaper and less crowded to travel out of usual holiday times.
The school provides great holiday programs and camps as well to cover holidays.  They are cheaper than any others in our area and my kids love them. They guarantee all students a place which was another consideration for us as schools in our area had huge waiting lists for OSHC in general.

We worked out years ago that not paying for BSC ever and not ASC on days when sports training was on- Almost cancelled out the school fees for us.

Also classes are decided before they finish in December for the following year and they meet their teacher, tour their new classroom etc. That was a huge thing for my extremely anxious one.

Edited by HamsterPower, 18 September 2019 - 07:53 PM.


#67 Soontobegran

Posted 18 September 2019 - 08:03 PM

View PostCaribou, on 18 September 2019 - 04:18 PM, said:

I’m so tired of this joke. We don’t even do skiing and neither do any of DDs cohort. European holidays hardly even happen over Christmas too pricey!!

DDs private school has vacation care for the three weeks schools finished for the year before public. Pay $60 a day. Same for extra weeks break in June. They’re fully aware how outdated the holiday break system is. Unfortunately they can’t change it as it’s not up to the individual school.

Agree. It is not funny, not all private school children come from wealthy families.

#68 ~J_F~

Posted 18 September 2019 - 08:24 PM

View PostLunagirl, on 18 September 2019 - 07:09 PM, said:



Exactly. I'm surprised more people with kids at private schools don't know this.

I went to a private school with boarders and was always told we had longer holidays so they had a chance to spend decent time with their families. We did have a longer school day to compensate.

Except where I live boarding schools do a completely different term structure again to what the non boarding private schools do.

#69 liveworkplay

Posted 18 September 2019 - 08:30 PM

Local state high school starts at 9am and finishes at 3pm. Private school I work at starts at 830am and finishes at 345 with a 20 minute recess break and a half hour lunch break.

So kids spend the same amount of time at school and the same amount of time on each core subject when holidays are factored in. Religious schools factor in extra school hours for their RE components. Although I must say with 4 terms (we used to have 3) then state and independant/catholic schools pretty much have similar start and finish times now. It is only a matter of days difference.

Edited by liveworkplay, 18 September 2019 - 08:33 PM.


#70 400

Posted 18 September 2019 - 08:33 PM

The more you pay the less they go 😬

I used to think it was for bragging rights. So kids at the fancier schools could gloat to the public school kids about aaaaaalll the time off they get.

Just kidding. It’s one of the mysteries of the world that will never be solved.

#71 Tinky Winky Woo

Posted 18 September 2019 - 08:41 PM

My kid get one extra week over the Christmas school holidays.  They start earlier and finish later in the day than the public school kids.  

My kid also gets moderator days each term so all staff can go to training at the same time.  My public school kid doesn't get those days but the teachers are in and out of the class regularly as they go to different training throughout the year.  

I find whole moderator days less disruptive than days here there and everywhere.

#72 Jembo

Posted 18 September 2019 - 08:41 PM

Regional WA here.   The public primary school near our catholic primary school only starts at the same time in morning, however finishes 10 mins earlier, which I always assumed was due to traffic issues where we are.

DS1 is at a public Ag school and boards and his days are definitely longer.  They also get a boarders weekend each term and finish on Fridays at 2 pm to allow any that go home travel time.

#73 Caribou

Posted 18 September 2019 - 08:51 PM

Actually thinking about it, the reason given for starting at 8:30 opposed to 9 was buses. There’s only one bus company that has to service 20 schools through out the area. So start and finish times are based on bus availability. For one year we had 8am starts but finished at 2:30, but DDs best friend starts school at 9:30 and finishes at 3pm. The bus collects her friend first before heading to two other schools and then arrives at DDs school to collect her.

Complex system. I can’t imagine its a deciding factor, but likely plays a part.

#74 Pip_longstockings

Posted 18 September 2019 - 08:56 PM

My kids go to a public school and our classes are allocated the first few days back. It is my understanding this happens as teacher numbers are allocated based on student enrollments.

Unfortunately, many people enroll in public schools and never turn up or don't enroll until the first day of the new term. Therefore, teacher numbers can change within the first week or two, particularly if the school is close to the cusp of requiring an additional teacher or losing a teacher.

I would rather the kids go back to the their old class and teacher for a few days then to be allocated classes and then have to change. This would be really hard for my kids!! And I have known this happen at our school where 5 kids didn't turn up in the first week and they lost a teacher, they had to regig all the classes around and there were many very upset children, teachers and the loudest complainers, parents.

#75 Pip_longstockings

Posted 18 September 2019 - 09:02 PM

In our area school start times are all staggered due to bus timetables and to reduce traffic at pick up time. We have 9 primary schools in about a 4km radius, and most of these schools have between 500 to 800 students, so a lot of traffic!!!




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