MIGRAINES and growing pains were some of the reasons given in court to justify three children missing 366 days of school between them.

Parents of three schoolchildren failed to attend hearings at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court yesterday in which they were each charged with being the parent of a child of compulsory school age who failed to attend regularly.

Linda Aldworth, of Frank Street, Durham, failed to ensure her daughter maintained a good record of attendance at her school, also in Durham. The court heard that she had 71 unauthorised absences, equating to more than 13 school weeks.

Elaine Hopkins, prosecuting on behalf of Durham County Council, said Ms Aldworth told the school her daughter had a health issue and there was also a problem with another child on the school bus.

Magistrates found the case proven in her absence and fined Ms Aldworth £180.

Andrew Proudfoot, of St Chads Close, Bishop Auckland, was due at court after his son missed 144 days of school, the equivalent to almost 29 school weeks.

Mr Proudfoot told his son’s school that he was having difficulties with other pupils and the issues were linked to his poor attendance.

Ms Hopkins said: “The school likened it to low level silly behaviour within his peer group. His attendance targets were not met so a formal interview was arranged and both parents failed to attend. There are no known medical issues and no material evidence has been provided.” The case against Mr Proudfoot was proved and he was fined £660.

The parents of a teenager were also due at court because their son missed 169 days of school – almost 35 school weeks.

Rebecca Mulholland and Christopher Ross, of Gray Avenue, Framwellgate Moor, Durham, said in letters given to magistrates that the teenager suffered with migraines and growing pains.

Ms Hopkins said: “His parents have identified that he is happy at school but there are some behavioural issues. Mr Ross was given a fixed penalty notice which was withdrawn after he agreed to attend a formal interview. However, he did not attend. He has asked for matters to be dealt with in a way other than a fine.”

Suzzanne Chivers, chair of the bench, fined Mulholland and Ross £120 each.