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  1. ITV Report

MPs debate term-time holiday fines for parents

Controversial fines for parents who take their children out of school during term-time are being debated by MPs in parliament today.

It comes after a petition by a parent got more than 170,000 signatures.

Following the petition, the country's leading travel association is also calling on the government to change the law on school leave so holiday periods can be staggered.

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Thousands of parents across the South West have been fined for taking their children out of school, including Emma Clarke from Exeter.

Her family contested the case and found out last month Devon County Council was offering no evidence against them.

The body which represents travel agents wants that to change. ABTA is calling for the government to review the pattern of holidays for all schools - which they say could drive down costs.

In Europe they have a longer window for school holidays - typically ten to twelve weeks and they will stagger their leave by region and we would ask the government to consider that seriously.

– Victoria Bacon, Association of British Travel Agents
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A change in the law in 2013 meant head teachers could use their discretion to decide whether parents should be fined or not.

Currently mums and dads have to get the permission of a headteacher or face the prospect of a fine.

Credit: PA

We've been running an unofficial online poll on our Facebook site and 73% of those who voted were in favour of staggering school holidays.

Reacting to the proposal, an independent travel agent told us he is also in favour of a change in the law.