08/08/2014 12:31 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Fines For Term-Time Holidays Soar By 70 Per Cent

Ice cream cone on sand in between child's feet

The number of parents fined for taking their kids out of school to go on holiday has soared by 70 per cent.

The sharp increase has happened since the Government ban on term-time holidays was introduced.

Almost 64,000 fines have been issued since the law changed in September 2013, according to a study of local authority data by the BBC.

The term-time holiday ban has angered hundreds of thousands of parents, who have signed petitions against the new rules and called for the government to take action against holiday companies who raise their prices at peak times.

Parents are fined £60 per parent per child per period of absence, which rises to £120 if not paid within 21 days.

Campaigner Stewart Sutherland was himself fined for taking his three children out of school for five days.

He told BBC News that he and his wife work shifts and find it difficult to get time off.

He said: "Once the regulations came into force it became just a block ban, rather than schools and local councils considering each case individually.

"It's now becoming the case that family holidays are just for the rich because so many working people either can't afford it or can't get the time off outside school terms.

"Family holidays are just as important to children as school. A happy child will get their work done better.

"This shouldn't be treated the same as persistent truancy."

BBC researchers contacted all 152 councils in England and received full responses from 118 - 78Slideshow-210580%