May school holidays 2021: when are children off school for half term across the UK - and bank holiday dates

Children across the UK are looking forward to some well-earned time off in May

The May half term is only round the corner and keeping track of school holidays is a must for millions of parents across the UK.

Knowing when half term is allows parents to make sure there is a plan in place for their children on their days off.

So when does the May half-term start in the UK? This is what you need to know.

Children across the UK will all enjoy some time off in May but dates differ across the four countries. (Martin Bureau/AFP via Getty Images)

When do children get time off school in May?


There are 343 local authorities in England and some may have slightly different dates when their pupils should return to school, this might depend on teacher training days.

The proposed term date when children break up for the May half term generally falls Friday 28 May 2021, six weeks after their April term started. The school gates will reopen on Monday, 7 June.

You can check school holiday dates on your local council website by entering your postcode into the checker.


In Scotland, the holiday dates are a little different and could differ depending on city councils.

Generally speaking, children will get one day off on May 3 and then two more days off later in the month on May 28 and 30.


In Wales, pupils have up to a week off, after breaking up from school on Monday, 31 May. Depending on inset days, children will head back to school about a week after breaking up.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland children have two days off throughout the month of May - which are the two bank holiday dates on May 3 and May 31. Although, schools have the discretion to take a number of staff training and school development days.

When are the May bank holiday dates?

England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales all share the same May bank holidays.

All four nations have two bank holidays in May.

These two dates fall on Monday, May 3, which is Early May bank holiday and on Monday, May 31, which is Spring bank holiday.

Although the May dates may align, not all bank holidays are the same for the four nations.

Falling Covid cases and the success of the vaccination rollout so far allowed lockdown restrictions to be gradually eased across the UK.

Further sectors of the economy were allowed to open up again, including the resumption of international travel, as part of the next phase in the lockdown roadmap.

The UK Government confirmed that Step 3 of the lockdown roadmap in England went ahead as planned on 17 May, following a review of the data and four key tests.

But the chances of the final easing of lockdown restrictions in England taking place on 21 June are “close to nil”, according to reports.

The decision on whether to proceed with the planned roadmap out of lockdown - which would see a series of restrictions lifted in late June - could be delayed until the full extent of the spread of Indian variant is known.

While in Scotland Glasgow is the only council area in Scotland to remain in Level 3, while the rest of the mainland moved down to Level 2 and island communities went into Level 1 on 17 May.

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