EDUCATION officials in Kirklees are supporting Government plans to fine parents who take children on holiday during term time.
Head teachers must decide whether to allow children to be absent during term time.
If permission is refused, and children travel regardless, head teachers can now fine parents £100 on-the-spot.
The new rules - which were unveiled in the Examiner yesterday - have been brought in under the Government's Anti-Social Behaviour Act as part of plans to tackle parents who let their children play truant regularly.
It was decided to extend the fining powers to cover parents who take their children on holiday without school permission.
Gavin Tonkin, Kirklees Council director of education, said head teachers needed the new powers to tackle situations where children persistently missed lessons due to family holidays.
He said: "If there are families who abuse their right to take children on holiday by doing it in term time year after year, it needs to be dealt with.
"I have had discussions with head teachers and they welcome the high profile that the new legislation has given the issue. People are now talking about it openly.
"Head teachers will want to use the powers sensibly. It will be a difficult decision to make for them, whether a week away with family is better or a week in school.
"They will have to take into account all the factors. Every individual case is different."
Mr Tonkin said the new rules would also apply to pupils who made lengthy visits to relatives in countries such as Pakistan.
The trips can last several months.
Mr Tonkin said head teachers would use their discretion to decide whether to give permission for the trip or not.
He said: "These visits have long been an issue in Kirklees, so schools are very good already at providing study support while a child is away. The journey is seen as part of their education.
"There has been debate about when they should take place. Obviously, if they go in the six-week holiday, then it has less effect."
Clr John Smithson, Cabinet member for education, said the children normally received schooling during lengthy trips.
He said: "It is more taking an unauthorised trip to Tenerife for a week that is an issue.
"I think it is not good practice for parents to take children out of school to go on holiday.
"School holidays are the time for that.
"The expense of going away in the official holidays is an issue but I think children's education is very important and parents need to think about that."