The School Year

Find out the timings of the academic year and school day in Belgium...

For pre-primary, primary and secondary education, the school year starts on 1 September, or the first working day after it and ends on 30 June or the last working day before it, when the summer holidays begin. There are slight variations among the different language communities (principally for public holidays observed by an individual community) but essentially school holidays are the same throughout Belgium. There are three national holidays in May and often an extra day is added on to make a long weekend break on at least one of these.

Some international schools have different holidays or may observe additional national holidays.

In higher education, the academic year begins between mid-September and 1 October depending on the course. Pupils are not permitted to enter higher education establishments part-way through the academic year.

The School Day

Again there are some variations between schools but the school day normally begins around 08:20 for all age groups. Pre-primary and primary establishments typically finish around 15:30, while secondary schools finish around 16:15.

Most pre-primary and primary schools work a half-day only on Wednesdays and some, but not all, secondary schools follow the same pattern.

School meals are provided at reasonable cost by the vast majority of schools and pupils are encouraged to take advantage of this facility.

Travelling to School

Because of traffic congestion problems (particularly in the main cities) children are encouraged to take advantage of the school buses (usually free) or take part in accompanied cycling groups. In some areas, for example Brussels, if there is no school bus, parents can obtain a free public transport pass for primary-school age children or a reduced-fare annual pass for secondary-school pupils.

Further Information