More than 185,000 parents have signed a petition to take their children on holiday during term time.

The petition, named 'Allow students to be taken out of school for two weeks a year without penalty' describes how families face school fines for taking their children out of school to go on affordable holidays.

A particular issue listed in the petition also talks about low-income families, and families with children that have additional needs, who want or need to avoid busier and more expensive periods.

Christopher Bennett, the creator of the petition, said: "I feel these families are being discriminated against as they may not find it possible to travel outside of term time, as it could be too costly or overwhelming, with travel, queues, noise, busy airports, busy public transport, busy resorts etc.

"We think it is unfair that these families and children might not be able to go on holiday because they can't take time off during term time.

"Parents may also have additional needs that would make travelling at busy times difficult."

Currently, parents who take term time holidays face being fined £60 per child, or £120 if not paid within 21 days.

That figure is due to rise in August to £80 and £160 respectively.

In Bolton the trigger for the the controversial £60 fine per parent and child was reduced from 10 days absence to five days per term in 2018.

Bolton Council bosses say that the money raised is not an income generator and mainly goes on administering the department, with an extra being invested into education initiatives to promote good attendance. 

Bolton teacher Robert Poole, a National Education Union representative, believes the focus should be on the holiday companies capping prices. 

He said: "As educators we know the importance of education and we believe that the best place for pupils to be is in school and learning. But, we also understand that parents and pupils need a well-deserved rest from time to time. 

"For many the time they are allowed for holidays is minimal and budgets are tight. Holiday companies, who make millions in profits, take advantage of this and jack up prices to extortionate levels outside of term time.

"The focus should be not on removing pupils from the classroom but on capping the prices that holiday companies can charge to ensure that parents do not feel forced to remove their children from school during term time."

Close to 400,000 penalty notices were given to parents in England in the year 2022 to 2023 for unauthorised school absences.

This figure was considerably higher when compared to pre-pandemic levels. 

Currently, the petition has 186,096 signatures, and increases at a rapid rate.

Parliament considers all petitions that get more than 100,000 signatures for a debate, and is waiting four days for a debate date for this petition.

The Government responds to all petitions that get more than 10,000 signatures, and is waiting five days for a government response for this petition.

Data from the Department for Education (DfE) indicates that the unauthorised absence rate rose from 2.1% in 2021/22 to 2.4% in 2022/23.

This is nearly double the rate (1.4%) during 2018/19, which was the last school year before the Covid-19 pandemic.