Council agrees to re-examine 'unpopular' February school holiday

West Lothian Council has agreed to re-examine an ‘unpopular’ February school holiday as it set the term dates for the 2025/26 school year.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Recognising that few parents groups had responded to a consultation on the holiday dates, councillors agreed a Labour motion for wider parental and carer consultation for future term setting.

A report to the education executive conceded: “Consultation has taken place with Parent Councils and Pupil Councils. A small number of comments were received but there was no consensus among them.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There has been disquiet expressed to and by councillors at the week long break in February. Many fear it upsets the timetable for senior pupils studying for exams.

Term dates for  the 2025/26 school year have been agreed but there is to be more consultation in future.Term dates for  the 2025/26 school year have been agreed but there is to be more consultation in future.
Term dates for the 2025/26 school year have been agreed but there is to be more consultation in future.

For many families a sunshine holiday is impractical and unaffordable so soon after Christmas, with a bleak late winter stay at home an unattractive option.

A motion raised by Labour group and council leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: “In recognition of the very small number of consultation responses and in recognition of the wider methods of consultation carried out by other education authorities in Scotland, the executive instructs officers to carry out a much fuller consultation on session dates for 2026/27 to ensure the awareness of, and encourage feedback from, all parents/carers and school attendees.”

Some councils opt for two weeks off in October but there is little uniformity across borders which adds to the difficulty of planning family holidays.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Executive councillor for education Andrew McGuire said: “We are delighted to confirm school term dates for 2025/26.

“We appreciate it is not always possible to suit everyone’s preference, we believe this represents the best possible option for West Lothian families.

“The West Lothian Parent Forum, individual school Parent Councils and Pupil Councils were consulted on proposed dates.”

Pupils will return to school on Wednesday August 13, 2025, before breaking on Thursday, September 18, for a long weekend. School resumes for pupils on Tuesday, September 23, stopping for the October holidays on Friday, October 17.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Schools will welcome pupils back in from Tuesday, October 28, until the break for the Christmas holidays on Friday, December 19.

Pupils are back in school on Monday, January 5, 2026, until Friday, February 6. They return to school on Tuesday, February 17, until the Easter break starts on Friday, March 27.

Schools resume on Tuesday, April 14, until Friday, May 1. Pupils resume on Wednesday, May 6, with one further day closure, which is Monday, May 18, for most of West Lothian, except Bathgate Academy cluster schools, which are closed on Monday, June 8, and Linlithgow Academy cluster schools, which are closed on Tuesday, June 16.

Schools then break for the summer holidays on Friday, June 26, 2026.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Five in-service days for staff will take place on Monday, August 11; Tuesday, August 12 and Monday, October 27, in 2025, and Monday, February 16, and Tuesday, May 5, in 2026.

The education executive also agreed to launch a consultation in the future to further inform the process of setting term dates for the 2026/27 school year. Details of this process will be released in due course.

Related topics: