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So why do parents risk fines for term-time holidays?

A father from Telford who was fined for taking his children out of school during term-time for a family holiday has explained why he decided to take the risk.

Stewart Sutherland and his wife Natasha hit the headlines last month when they were ordered to pay £1,000 for taking their family to the Greek island of Rhodes during the school term.

Mr Sutherland told ITV News Central there were a number of reasons people might be forced into taking term-time holidays.

These include difficulties in getting leave from jobs, as well as the expense.

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Department for Education comments on term-time holiday debate

We have given all schools the autonomy to set their own term dates. We want to see more parents asking schools to consider changes to term and holiday dates that will work for pupils and their families.

Children who attend school regularly are nearly four times more likely to achieve five or more good GCSEs than those who are regularly absent.

Parents should never simply discount a possible penalty notice from the cost of a cheaper holiday, because this is a criminal offence and when doing so they are always risking prosecution

– Department for Education spokesperson

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National

Over 166,000 people back school holiday price petition

More than 166,000 people have backed the petition to stop travel companies raising their prices during school holidays which has triggered today's MPs debate.

The petition set up by mother-of-two Donna Thresher received massive supporter after Paul Cookson's angry Facebook post. Credit: epetitions.direct.gov.uk

The online campaign received a huge boost in support after a Facebook post by an angry parent complaining about being "ripped off" by steep rise in holiday prices outside term time went viral.

Paul Cookson, 41, said he was "sick to death" of the practice after being quoted £999 for a holiday that would have cost £699 during the school year.

Read: Paul Cookson's rant on holiday prices helps trigger debate

Father from Telford says it's 'impossible' to get time off during six-week holiday

Stewart Sutherland and his wife Natasha were fined earlier this year for taking their children to Greece during term time.

He says it's impossible to get time off during the summer holidays, at the same time as his wife, and doesn't want his children to miss out on the chance of a trip abroad.

Four ways to get a cheap holiday with the kids

by Sean Tipton, ABTA
New research suggests almost half of parents would take their children out of school despite threat of fines. Credit: Reuters

ABTA is the UK’s leading travel association. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help you – the travelling public – have confidence in their travel experience.

Here's my top tips for getting a holiday deal during the school breaks:

1. BOOK EARLY

January and February is the traditional sales season for travel companies and it’s at this time that they put out their best deals with potential savings of hundreds of pounds.

2. GET FREE CHILD PLACES

Tour operators will typically offer a limited number of free child places in January and February, if you leave it too late to book, these are likely to run out.

3. GO ALL INCLUSIVE

It really helps with your budgeting, helps avoid money worries when you’re on holiday and can offset negative exchange rates.

4. TRAVEL ON TUESDAY

Fights are often much cheaper in the middle of the week.

Sean Tipton is from ABTA the UK's leading travel association Credit: ABTA
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