Schools are to fine parents £60 if pupils are repeatedly late for registration.
The penalty will double if it is not paid within 21 days, and parents who refuse to pay could be prosecuted and even jailed.
One council is deploying so-called late-gate patrols to ask tardy parents why their children are arriving late.
But parents’ groups criticised the move yesterday, and said the fines would ultimately punish the children, not their parents.
Margaret Morrissey, from the campaign group Parents Outloud, said: ‘For some families, the money they will be fined will be very important to them and it will be the children who lose out.’