Attending Schools

School Year

What does the school year look like?

The school year consists of 195 school days.  The school year begins no earlier than September 1st and ends no later than June 30th.  It is important that students attend the full school year to ensure success.  Each regional centre produces a school calendar for the upcoming year which is available on the centre’s website. Individual schools have newsletters or calendars highlighting important school dates and events.

The following holidays and vacation days are mandatory:

  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Remembrance Day
  • Christmas Holidays (December/January)
  • Heritage Day
  • Spring Break (March)
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • Victoria Day
Days in a School Year


In elementary and junior high schools the school year consists of three terms.  The first term ends in November, the second term ends in March and the third term ends in June.

In secondary school, there are only two semesters.  Most courses are completed during a semester.  The first semester finishes in January and the second in June.

Public schools are closed in July and August for summer vacation.  Students attend school from Monday to Friday.  Every school has its own daily schedule which tells the time school starts and ends.  If the day begins with the playing of Canada’s national anthem, students are expected to stand during the playing of O Canada. Click here for information on Canada's national anthem.

Children in elementary school have a fifteen minute break in the morning called recess.  Students usually have a small snack brought from home and play outdoors.  All children in Nova Scotia are permitted to stay at school for lunch. In schools where there is no cafeteria to buy a lunch, children are expected to bring their own.  After lunch, elementary students usually go outside to play until the afternoon classes begin.  Older children sometimes have extracurricular activities (sports, music, clubs, etc.) during lunch and after school.


Do students in Nova Scotia attend school more or less than students in your first country?