The boss of Center Parcs has joined calls for changes to school holiday dates.

Chief executive Martin Dalby also urged the government to give head teachers the discretion to allow parents to take children on holiday during term-time.

He told the Mail on Sunday: “When we’ve got five times the demand for a holiday, it’s clearly going to be more expensive than when we haven’t – it’s simple economics.

“It’s about supply and demand. It’s not new and it’s no different to airline or train tickets varying in prices at different times.

“As a parent I have sympathy. However, the school system simply needs to be more flexible.

“Head teachers should be able to decide whether a child can come out of school, whether it’s for a holiday or a family bereavement, because at the moment that discretion has been taken away.

“Staggering holidays so they don’t land at the same time may also help.”

MPs are due to debate the issue on February 24 after an online petition attracted more than 160,000 signatures.