The alarm rings and I drag my reluctant eyelids open. It’s dark outside. Dark and raining. The tree may still be up but the Christmas and New Year seem long past. The winter weather and long dark nights may be calling me to hibernate and count the days till summer, but it’s time to go back to work.
There’s no need to despair though because there’s plenty to look forward to at the start of the first Spring term of the new decade! Here’s my list of some of the highlights of the coming school term:
Christmas isn’t over (quite) yet! In the Christian calendar Christmas isn’t just a single day, but lasts until 6th January (twelfth night). Traditionally the decorations stay up till then. If that isn’t enough for you, Orthodox Christmas Day this year isn’t until Tuesday 7 January.
Remember that from now on the days are getting longer. The Spring equinox is on Friday 20 March so from then on we’ll have more daylight than night, with the clocks going forward at 1am on Sunday 29 March for the start of British Summer Time.
6 January to 21 February is the annual RSPB Big Schools Bird Watch, so there is plenty of time this term to get pupils involved in some citizen science by surveying the local bird population visiting your school site. You can find out more and get class resources from the RSPB website. You’ll need to register before 2 February.
In 2020, two celebrations coincide on Saturday 25 January: Burns’ Night, when Scots the world over celebrate their national poet, Robert Burns, and Chinese New Year ushering in the Year of the Rat. Haggis Dumplings anyone?
Monday 27 January is Holocaust Memorial Day, an occasion many schools mark or build into their teaching. This year marks 75 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp with the theme Stand Together. You can find out more and order free resources from the HMDT website.
Thursday 30 January is Young Carers Awareness Day. Championing the needs of Young Carers, the theme this year focuses on the Count Me In! campaign for greater recognition of the needs of young carers in compulsory education. You can find out more from the Carers Trust website and via the #CountMeIn hashtag.
Tuesday 11 February is Safer Internet Day when many UK schools will focus on cyber safety with the 2020 theme Together for a Safer Internet. You can find out more on the Safer Internet Centre website.
Monday 24 February to Sunday 8 March is Fairtrade Fortnight. The focus continues on the theme of cocoa and particularly the crucial role played by women farmers. You can find out more and get school resources from the Fairtrade Foundation website.
Tuesday 25 February is Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Day), with the next day, Ash Wednesday, marking the first day of Lent in the Christian calendar.
Sunday 1st March is St David’s Day, the feast day of the patron saint of Wales.
Thursday 5 March is World Book Day in the UK. This year the aim is to share a million stories. You can find out more about this day, events throughout the year, and resources for different ages from the WBD website. The £1 book tokens issued to children are valid until 29 March.
British Science week is a ten-day celebration of science, technology engineering and maths running from Friday 6 March to Sunday 15 March. The theme this year is Our Diverse Planet. You can find out more and get an activity pack from the British Science Week website.
Monday 9 March is the Hindu and Sikh festival of Holi, or ‘festival of colours’ celebrating the coming of Spring.
9 March is also the start of Sport Relief week, the biennial event which raises money for vulnerable people in the UK and abroad. Many schools will want to get pupils involved on the ‘Sport Relief Mile’ – find out more and order a Primary or Secondary activity pack on the Sport Relief website.
Tuesday 10 March is the first day of the Jewish festival of deliverance, Purim, marked by shared food and gift-giving.
This year, Mothering Sunday is on 9 March in the UK, although the international date is 12th March.
Tuesday 17th March is St Patrick’s Day, when half the world population rediscovers its Irish roots. With about a million more UK residents having an Irish passport than this time last year, the celebrations here should be bigger than ever! It’s a bank holiday in Eire and Northern Ireland.
Wednesday 1st April is April Fool’s Day and falls in the last week of term for most schools, so watch out for practical jokes!
For most schools, Palm Sunday (5 April), Good Friday (10 April) and Easter Sunday (12 April) will all fall within the school holiday, together with the Jewish Passover (9-16 April).
The list should contain something for everyone and plenty to look forward to. Let me know if I have missed any important dates and I’ll add them.
Whatever you are looking forward to this spring, have a Happy New Year!
Festival and event dates from http://www.timeanddate.com
Image: Rodger Caseby