SINCE September 2013, parents can only take their children out of lessons during term time for “exceptional circumstances”. This does not include taking them on holiday.

Parents who flout these rules face fines of £60 per child, increased to £120 if not paid within 21 days. That’s a hefty sum if you have a couple of kids, but still peanuts compared to the cost of going away during the summer holidays.

As we reveal today, thousands of parents in Bradford have coughed up nearly £1m in the past few years for taking their children away when they should be in school.

As one parent put it: “No one likes paying a fine but the discrepancy between the fine and the saving you make by holidaying during term time makes it worthwhile.”

For some families these fines are just another holiday tax no different to travel insurance.

Opinions are divided about term-time holidays. Some see them as an educational experience which helps rebalance the family vs school dynamic for parents who cannot get time off during official holidays. Others claim even one day off can have a detrimental effect on a child’s studies.

Even teachers are divided. A survey last year found that only 37 per cent of them supported the fines policy.

Perhaps the Government should turn its attention to holiday companies that hike their prices during the summer. It maybe a case of supply and demand, but not when travel companies are holding parents to ransom. We would like a cap on peak time price rises so parents aren’t faced with this dilemma any more.