Parents will not be allowed to take their children on holiday during the school term, they are being warned.
Every local authority has been told to clamp down on the number of children who are off school in term time by saying ‘no’ to all without exceptional circumstances.
Kirklees Council said it is supporting schools in communicating the new rules to parents.
But Calderdale Council said it would take tougher action.
Stuart Smith, Calderdale Council’s director of children and young people’s services, said: “Parents should be aware that they do not have authority in law to authorise their child’s absence from compulsory education and councils are under increasing pressure to prosecute parents for non attendance, particularly where the reason has been term time package holidays or days to go shopping, or help with the family business.”
Changes mean headteachers cannot grant any request for leave of absence unless there are exceptional circumstances – previously they had powers to grant leave for “special circumstances”.
The Department for Education has said that leave of absence should not be authorised on grounds of cost or availability of a particular holiday.
And it could prove costly for parents who ignore the warning – in Calderdale a Fixed Penalty Notice of £60 could be issued where leave is not authorised by the head teacher.
The fine rises to £120 if it’s not paid within 21 days.
And if a parent has more than one child they could face multiple fines for every child who misses school.
The financial hit could be even higher – the council warned that both parents could face a fine for each of their children off school without permission.
In cases where a family had already booked a holiday, Calderdale Council said each individual case would be reviewed by the school’s headteacher and a decision would be made at their discretion, depending on the circumstances.
Between September 2012 and August 2013 Calderdale Council issued 80 Fixed Penalty Notices for unauthorised absences. That number is likely to rise under the new guidelines.
Clr Megan Swift, Cabinet member for children and young people, said: “It’s important that children attend school as much as possible, and while some absences obviously can’t be avoided, taking time out for holidays can make it hard for pupils to catch up with the learning they have missed.”