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Glossary | School Holidays

Explore definitions related to Australian School Holidays, including Activities, Public Holidays, and key concepts of the Education System in Australia.

key concepts

definitions

Accessibility

Accessibility refers to the design elements and features that cater to individuals with diverse needs (physical disabilities, developmental differences, hearing loss and vision impairment, and other special needs). These include but are not limited to wheelchair ramps, accessible paths, sensory play areas, Liberty Swings, beach matting, and auditory guides. Such features are available in venues and activities.

ACT School Holidays

When do the ACT school holidays start? The dates are set by the ACT Education Directorate (education.act.gov.au), the body overseeing the education system in the territory.

ANZAC Day

ANZAC Day is a federal public holiday observed on April 25th each year. ANZAC Day honours the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, who served in different wars. There is no school on ANZAC Day in Australia.

Australia Day

Australia Day is a federal public holiday celebrated on January 26th each year. Australia Day marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet to Australia and the raising of the Union Flag by Arthur Phillip at Sydney Cove in New South Wales. 


Australia Day also marks the beginning of British sovereignty over Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. For many Indigenous Australians, it's a day of mourning and protest, often referred to as Invasion Day or Survival Day.


Australia Day occurs during the summer school holidays.

Australian school holidays

When are the Australian school holidays? In Australia, there are four school holidays that usually start in April (Spring school holidays), June - July (Winter school holidays), September - October (Autumn school holidays) and the second part of December (Summer school holidays). 


Spring, winter and autumn school holidays are about two weeks long. The summer school holidays (December to January) are the longest (over 40 days long).

Australian School Year

How many terms are in the Australian school year? The Australian School Year typically starts at the end of January - the beginning of February, depending on the Australian state or territory. School ends in the second half of December, depending on the Australian state or territory. Australian School Year has 39-40 weeks of school and 13-14 weeks of school holidays, depending on the state and territory.

Bank Holiday

A Bank Holiday is when retail bank branches and certain financial institutions are closed, often by a government act. This day affects banking and financial institution personnel and is not a declared public holiday in Australia. E.g. Bank Holidays is among NSW public holidays.

Camps

Camps are organised settings where children go to learn, play and do various activities. Camps are scheduled during school holidays and after school during school terms. Examples include sports, art or science camps.

Christmas School Holidays

When do the Christmas School Holidays start? It’s a break at the end of the school year and around Christmas, also called Summer School Holidays or December school holidays.

Cricket

Cricket is a popular sport in Australia. School holiday cricket camps help children improve their skills in the sport. Watching cricket matches is also a favourite activity for many families.

Department of Education and Training (DET)

The DET is the Australian Government department that oversees national education policies, strategies and initiatives for early childhood, primary and secondary schooling, tertiary education, higher education teaching and research, vocational education and training (VET), and international education.


Each Australian state and territory has their own Department of Education that is responsible for the state's education system.

Easter holidays in Australia

When is Easter break in Australia? Easter Holidays are a short break around Easter and the Easter weekend dates. Families also typically refer to it as the Easter school holiday. Since the dates for Easter change every year, Easter holidays can occur either in March or April.

Education System in Australia

The Education System in Australia is operated by individual states and territories, which leads to slight variations in curriculum, school term and school holiday dates.


Broadly, the Education system in Australia has four sub-sectors: Primary school, Secondary school, Senior secondary school, and Tertiary education (higher education and vocational education and training (VET)).

Family Getaways 

Family Getaways refers to a short holiday somewhere families take together, such as trips to the beach or visits to theme parks.

Footy

Footy is Aussie slang for Australian rules football, a popular sport in the country. During the Australian school holidays, training camps are organised to help young enthusiasts enhance their footy skills.

Indoor Activities 

Indoor Activities include a wide range of fun things to do inside, like crafting, baking, exploring indoor play centres, or engaging in indoor sports.

King's Birthday (Queen’s Birthday)

King's Birthday (Queen’s Birthday) is a public holiday celebrated on different dates across Australian states and territories. King's Birthday typically provides a long weekend for families.


Months in which King's Birthday is observed across Australia:

  • ACT: Second Monday of June

  • NSW: Second Monday of June

  • NT:  in June

  • QLD: First Monday in October

  • SA: in June

  • TAS: Second Monday of June

  • VIC: Second Monday of June

  • WA: Typically, the fourth Monday in September

NSW Creative Kids Voucher

The Creative Kids voucher is initiative funded by the NSW Government to encourage and support children's participation in creative and cultural activities. Every eligible student aged between 4.5 and 18 years can use such voucher towards a diverse range of creative and interactive activities, including art, music, dance, and drama lessons, etc.

Labour Day

Labour Day is a public holiday that pays tribute to the Australian labour movement and is observed on various dates in different Australian states and territories. Labour Day typically provides a long weekend for families, and schools are closed on the day.


Months in which Labour Day is observed across Australia:

  • ACT: First Monday in October

  • NSW: First Monday in October

  • QLD: First Monday in May

  • SA: First Monday in October

  • VIC: Second Monday in March

  • WA: First Monday in March

Liability Waivers

A Liability Waiver is a formal document used by businesses and activity providers to reduce their liability risk.


Before participating in any risk-related activities, like climbing, abseiling, trampolining, snorkelling, paintball, martial arts and other physical activities, individuals are asked to sign this form to acknowledge and accept the risks involved.

Long Weekend

Long Weekend is an extended weekend, usually because of a public holiday. E.g. Easter weekend and October long weekend in Australia.

NAIDOC Week in Australia

NAIDOC Week is an important yearly event in Australia held in the first full week of July that honours the history, culture, and successes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 


Originating in the 1920s, it was initially observed as a day of mourning. However, later, it evolved into a week-long celebration of Indigenous cultures that includes various cultural activities. 


Each year, NAIDOC Week has a theme highlighting specific issues and aiming to raise awareness and promote community engagement. 


There's also a special awards ceremony to recognise outstanding contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals. To help promote unity and understanding in the community, children and adults are encouraged to join in the week-long celebrations across Australia.

NSW School Holidays

When do school holidays start in NSW? The official dates are determined by the NSW Department of Education (education.nsw.gov.au), the body responsible for managing the education system within the state.

NT School Holidays

When does NT school holidays start? The official start dates are set by the Northern Territory Department of Education (education.nt.gov.au), which oversees the education system in the territory.

Outdoor Activities 

Outdoor Activities encompass a range of fun things to do outside, such as hiking, having picnics, exploring playgrounds, or engaging in sports.

Parental Consent

Parental consent, sometimes called “Parent's Consent”, is a formal permission granted by a parent, carer, or legal guardian allowing their child to participate in specific activities or decisions.


In Australia, this typically applies to those under 18. Each state and territory has its own specific regulations.


This consent is essential for activities involving children and young people, especially if schools and activity providers are involved.

Part-day Holiday

A Part-day Holiday is a holiday limited to part of a day specified by a government act. For example, for SA public holidays, Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve are part-day holidays (from 7 p.m. to midnight). 

Primary School

Primary School in Australia begins with levels often referred to as Foundation, Kindergarten, Preparatory, Prep, or Pre-school. It then continues for seven or eight years, concluding in Year 6 or Year 7.

Public Holidays

Public Holidays in Australia are special days declared by the federal and state/territory governments when children do not have to go to school and adults do not have to go to work.


The federal government declares Australian public holidays, which are observed nationwide. E.g. Australia Day, Anzac Day and Christmas Day.


Each Australian state and territory government also has the authority to declare their state-specific public holidays. E.g. Adelaide Cup Day in South Australia, Bank Holiday in NSW, and AFL Grand Final Friday in Victoria.

QLD School Holidays

When does the QLD school holidays start? The official dates are determined by the Queensland Department of Education (education.qld.gov.au), which oversees the education system in the state.

School Holiday Activities

School Holiday Activities cover various pursuits that children and families spend time doing during school breaks. These activities offer fun, skill development, relaxation and new experiences. Examples include enriching programs, holiday camps or workshops, family-friendly events and cost-free activities.

School Holidays

School Holidays are a period between academic terms during which schools are closed and students are not required to attend school.

School Term

School Term refers to an academic period schools, with Australia having four school terms in a school year. When asking “How long is a school term in Australia”, each term lasts between 9 and 10 weeks, depending on the state.

Spring School Holidays in Australia

Spring School Holidays (also called “September school holidays” or “October school holidays”) are a two-week break, typically in September and October, depending on the state.

Secondary school

Secondary School in Australia starts in Year 7 or Year 8 and lasts for four years, concluding in Year 10.

Semester

Semester is half of an academic year in Australian schools.

Senior Secondary School

Senior Secondary School in Australia includes Years 11 and 12.

SA School Holidays

When are the school holidays in South Australia? The schedule is set by the Department For Education South Australia (education.sa.gov.au), which oversees the education system within the state.

Summer School Holidays in Australia

Summer School Holidays in Australia (also called “Christmas school holidays” or “December school holidays”) are a break that starts after the school year ends, typically in the second part of December. It’s usually over 40 days and ends at the end of January - beginning of February, depending on the state.

Tasmania School Holidays

When do Tasmanian school holidays start? The dates are determined by the Tasmanian Department for Education, Children and Young People (decyp.tas.gov.au), which is responsible for managing the education system in the state.

Victoria School Holidays

When are the next school holidays in Victoria? The dates are set by the Victorian Department of Education (education.vic.gov.au), which oversees the state's education system.

Virtual Activities

Virtual Activities encompass online classes, workshops and learning sessions that children can engage in using their computers either during school holidays or school terms.

WA School Holidays

When are the next school holidays in WA? These dates are determined by the Department of Education Western Australia (education.wa.edu.au), which oversees the state's education system.

Wildlife Parks

Wildlife Parks are designated areas where animals live in environments and conditions similar to their natural habitats. Such parks are popular destinations for families during school holidays. Some wildlife parks allow interaction and close encounters with native Australian animals.

Winter School Holidays in Australia

Winter School Holidays (also called “June school holidays” or “July school holidays”) are a two-week break that typically occurs in June or July, depending on the state.

Workshops

Workshops are short and structured sessions held during school holidays or weekends where children can learn or work on creative projects or subjects. Examples include pottery, dance or music workshops.

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