Updated 26.06.2023

Public & Private School Holidays and Academic Calendar 2023

When are public and private school holidays in South Africa?

school holidays

The Department of Basic Education is responsible for sharing updated academic calendars every year. This is a way of helping students stay abreast of the different sessions throughout the academic year. Usually, this calendar encompasses both learning sessions and holidays for public and private schools. Find out more below for the calendar. 

South African schools run differently depending on whether they are government-owned or private. A distinct feature would be that government schools have four terms per year, whereas private schools may have three or four terms in the year, depending on specific determinants. 

The 2023 South African Academic Calendar

It is expected that both learners and school management teams from both public and

private schools/ institutions will adhere to the calendar of 2023 as released by the Department of Education. 

Private School Holidays for 2023

The Department of Education in South Africa acknowledges the need to take breaks.

This is informed by the learners’ and facilitators’ requirements for rest. Such breaks help both learners and teachers rest and recharge for better productivity.

As such, the department allocates several mid-term breaks. Private schools mainly adhere

to the ISASA (Independent Schools Associations of Southern Africa) IEB school calendars. Usually, the ISASA central region publishes a calendar for its member schools in the country’s

central area. Usually, this covers the Gauteng, North West, Free State, and Northern Cape Regions.

Note that there are two types of ISASA calendars. This caters to the 3-term and 4-term schools since private schools organize their years differently.

The 4-Term ISASA Calendar of the Central Region Schools

This calendar has 187 days, with 8 Saturdays. Member schools should generally stick to the given dates, although a school can adjust the dates to accommodate their specific needs. Below is a breakdown of how the calendar typically looks like.

  • Term 1 has 48 days starting from January 11th, 2023, and Closes on March 17th, which is on a Friday.  Family members and guardians should take the opportunity to spend quality time with the kids when they close schools, moreso if they are not given a mid-term break.
  • Term 2 has 49 days beginning Wednesday, April 12th, when the students resume school from the holidays and ends on Friday, June 23rd. This term is packed with a few holidays, including Freedom day on Thursday, April 27th, school Holiday on Friday, April 28th, Workers Day on May 1st, and Youth Day on Friday, June 16th. Half-terms and school holidays are significant as they help students learn about things that would otherwise not be taught in class. This comes from the appreciation that not all lessons are learned within the classroom walls. It is essential to encourage the students to learn other things to entertain themselves and teach each other about culture and life.
  • Term 3 has 48 days, starting Tuesday, July 18th, after the holidays, and Ends on September 22nd, on a Friday. This term has only one holiday on Wednesday, August 9th, Women’s Day. The short breaks serve as a great break to help rejuvenate the students and set them up for more success.
  • Term 4 has 42 days, starting Tuesday, October 10th, and ending Wednesday, December 6th. Like the first term, the term does not have any public holidays.

You should note that private schools can also accommodate students with special needs. However, unlike public schools, which must meet specific guidelines to accommodate the kid’s special requirements, there are no regulations on private schools. It is, therefore, a parent’s responsibility to ensure that the school they choose to take their kid is well equipped to facilitate their special needs child fully.

The 3-Term ISASA Calendar – Revised Version for 2023

Usually, most private schools in South Africa follow the 4-term calendar. However, since no strict regulations exist, many schools alter or tweak the calendar based on the public school calendar or other private school calendars to accommodate co-curricular activities and events. Below is the revised private school calendar for 2023, with 185 days and 8 Saturdays.

  • Term1, which has 58 days, starts on Wednesday, January 11th, and ends on Thursday, April 6th. Half-term dates are slated to happen fromThursday, February 23rd, from noon, and students should resume by Tuesday, February 28th. Public holidays within the term include school holidays on Monday, March 20th, and Human Rights Day on Tuesday, March 21st.
  • Term 2, with 64 days, starts on Wednesday, May 3rd, and closes on Tuesday, August 8th. Half-term dates are given as Friday, June 23rd, on regular closing hours, and students resume by Monday, July 3rd. The only public holiday in the term is Youth Day, on Friday, June 16th.
  • Term 3 has 63 days starting Wednesday, September 6th and closing on Wednesday, December 6th, with the half term being Wednesday, October 26th at noon.  The students should be back by Tuesday, October 31st. The term has the Heritage Day Holiday on Sunday, September 24th, making Monday, September 25th, a public holiday.

2023 Public School Calendar

While middle- and high-earning members of society prefer taking their kids to private

schools despite the high expense of funding such as education, public schools exist. While private schools are considered to have a considerably better quality education because of the allowance for teachers to use creative teaching techniques, public schools also have qualified teaching professionals.

Moreover, these state or public schools are way more affordable than private ones. The public school calendar has 199 actual school days, with the shortest first term, so students get no half-term.

Based on the department of Education, Inland cluster government schools are found in

Gauteng, Free State, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, and North West Provinces. We also have the Coastal Cluster government schools, which are found in West Cape, Northern Cape province, Kwazulu Natal, and Eastern Cape.

The public school calendar is as follows for terms one to three.

Term i:

Term 2:

Term 3:

If you have a child with special needs, consider checking out public schools designated to serve such children. There are regulations governing the quality and standard of education for children with special needs. It is also in public schools that schools are forced to comply with school fees exemption for students from poor backgrounds. There is an eligibility criterion used for this.

Education in South Africa is a serious thing. The education department caters to public

and private needs, even regarding calendars. Find out what applies to you depending on the school you go to.