NEARLY 500 fines were issued to parents who took their kids on term-time holidays during the last school year.

Figures show that 471 fines were issued to parents in Barnsley between September 2015 and August this year - an increase of 17 per cent on the previous 2014/15 academic year.

In Barnsley, parents wanting to take their children on holiday during term must apply for ‘leave of absence’ from their child’s school.

If the absence is not authorised with consent from the school, parents are reported to Barnsley Council which is obliged by government to fine a parent £60 per child, rising to £120 if it is not paid within 21 days.

This increased fine must be paid within 28 days or court action may be taken. In extreme circumstances, failure to pay the fine could result in prosecution with a maximum fine of £2,500 or a prison sentence of up to three months.