The schools have, by law, to offer a minimum of 180 days of education a year. The school year is divided into two semesters and starts for students during the first/second week of September. The school year finishes towards the end of June. Teachers arrive two weeks prior to the children and leave around the first of July.

All new teachers receive a special induction program at the beginning of the school year, as a group, which lasts around three days. After this they work in their departments with colleagues on preparing for the school year and working on their yearly curriculum plans and other needed documentation. Whole school or departmental professional development seminars also take place during this time.

Between semesters there is a two week break, generally at the end of January/ beginning of February. There are also two half semester breaks, generally of one week, the first in the middle of semester 1 and the second sometime in April in semester 2. The first semester is when one of the two major movable feast days of the Muslim calendar currently takes place, the Kurban Bayram (Feast of Sacrifice) and this affects the exact timing of the break in semester 1. The Sugar Bayram, the feast directly at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, is now in the summer period and will not affect school calendars for a number of years to come.

Turkey has a secular constitution in which the separation of state and religion is enshrined. The working week follows the pattern of western countries, namely Monday to Friday, with the weekend being Saturday and Sunday.

There are no holidays for Christmas and, although international staff, if they wish, are able to take the day of Christmas to celebrate this feast day, no extended holiday period is built into the calendar at that time of year. International staff must be prepared to be at work over the Christmas period. New year is generally off for all staff.

Teachers are provided with an academic planner at the beginning of each year which signals the main school activities, meetings and deadlines.