Last reviewed on 1 November 2021
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 8164

Understand the rules on ending the school day early and who is responsible for your pupils during early closures. See examples of schools that close early on certain days.

Closing school early

In certain circumstances, you may wish to send your pupils home early. For example:

  • At the end of term
  • For parents' evening

The rules on closing your school early differ for maintained schools and academies. 

Maintained schools

You must meet for at least 380 sessions or 190 days during any school year to educate your pupils. 

Every school day must have 2 sessions, divided by a break. The governing board decides the length of:

  • The school day
  • Breaks
  • Sessions

This is outlined in the DfE's school attendance guidance (page 17). 

You're still required to have 2 teaching sessions even if you shorten the school day. It doesn't matter how long the sessions are. A session of any length counts towards the 380 sessions for the year. 

That means teachers could take the register at the beginning of the afternoon session and then send pupils home. 

The DfE confirmed this to us. 

Academies