October half term 2020 in Kent and Medway is from October 26 until October 30 just before Halloween on Saturday, October 31 2020

Kent and Medway's October half term break will fall closer to Halloween and in line with most other schools in the country next year.

Whilst pupils in Kent and Medway returned to the classroom this week after their half term holiday most other families in the South East are now enjoying their week-off - perfect timing for some trick or treating without the worry of school the next day.

Families in Kent sent their children back to school for Halloween as most other counties broke-up
Families in Kent sent their children back to school for Halloween as most other counties broke-up

Kent County Council was one of a minority which opted to have this year's autumnal one-week holiday the week before Halloween.

Nearby West Sussex, East Sussex, Essex, Surrey, Hampshire, West Berkshire and Wiltshire all began half term on Monday (October 28). And they aren't the only ones.

Schools which fall within local-authority control further afield including in Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Leeds and Liverpool also all opted for a half term break which coincides with Halloween on October 31.

With the exception of academies, independent or free schools - which have the freedom to set their own dates - the majority of schools in Kent and Medway follow either Kent County Council's or Medway Council's timetable, which this year set out half term to begin on Monday, October 21.

Medway Council says it consults annually on the proposed dates usually providing two or three options, which are then voted on with the majority option usually being the determined dates. It also works with KCC as there is some crossover with parents having children at schools across both authorities.

October half term dates have differed for children in the South East this year
October half term dates have differed for children in the South East this year

David Adams, Area Education Officer at KCC, added: "In determining the current and proposed future school term dates for community and voluntary controlled schools, KCC conducted a full consultation, which was circulated to all schools and other key stakeholders such as governors and parent groups, the Diocesan bodies, trade unions and neighbouring local authorities.

"The general public was also encouraged to participate in the consultation, with the majority of the respondents agreeing that the week commencing 21 October 2019 was the most appropriate option for the current half term." Mr Adams added that having October half term a week later would have meant term one running for 40 days and term two 33 days.

Jim Dawson, head of marketing at Visit Kent, said the organisation was aware Kent's October half term was different to many neighbouring counties.

The board, which is responsible for supporting and growing the county's tourism industry, said 'most holidays align' across schools in the South East and it was only October's break which appeared to differ.

And with the autumn holiday bringing with it both Halloween and Bonfire Night, Mr Dawson says it enables those at Visit Kent to talk about the celebrations themselves, concentrating less on specific school term dates, in order to tell all potential visitors what Kent has to offer.

He explained: "We centre marketing messages around the specific events, focussing on the event itself rather than the holiday."

Kent's half term next year will fall much closer to Halloween
Kent's half term next year will fall much closer to Halloween

And it seems some attractions, particularly those on the borders of Kent, are also attempting to appeal to this year's differing half term dates.

National Trust properties including Emmetts Garden, Chartwell and Scotney Castle have all been running two weeks of half term events instead of one with autumnal activities and Halloween trails finishing this Sunday (November 3). Whilst Groombridge Place near Tunbridge Wells is offering Halloween fun and performances of its Spooky Musical every day this week until November 3 aswell.

But for any families with designs on making use of any potential date change for a slightly cheaper autumnal break next year should not get their hopes up.

In October 2020, despite calls by a Kent councillor back in March for a two-week break, Kent and Medway will fall back in line with most other authorities and share the same dates for a one-week holiday at the end of the month.

Half term will take place between Monday, October 26 and Friday, October 30 directly ahead of Halloween, which next year falls on a Saturday because it is a leap year.

  • If you're finding it hard to keep up with school dates, you can download a handy calendar of reminders, application dates and term dates here.
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