Become A Licensed Chaperone For Child Performers

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If a child is performing on stage or in film, they need to be cared for by their parent or a licensed chaperone. We set out how you can get licensed as a chaperone for child performers.

Before An LEA (the Local Education Authority at your Local Government Offices, also known as your Local Council’s Education Department) will approve a Child Performance Licence for a child who lives in their area to perform for stage or screen, the full names and addresses of the licensed chaperones must have been submitted by the production company in the licence application.

The chaperones may be one of the child’s parents or licensed chaperones. Absolutely no one else is legally allowed to do this, not even grandparents.

Parents can only chaperone their own children. The only exception is where they are licensed chaperones, have agreed to chaperone the other children, and have been identified on the licence application.

Who Are The Licensing Officers?

The licensing officers often work in teams monitoring pupil attendance at school. However, schools are now responsible for their own budgets and councils have had a third of their funding cut since 2010 (with the worst hit being those in deprived areas) so these teams have lost most of their staff.

The licensing officers are normally doing an extensive range of duties and struggle to cope with production companies submitting last-minute requests for child licences. Because of this many children cannot be submitted for work when they live in areas where the licensing is slower than 24-48 hours. And furthermore, some councils have introduced charges for any production company making an application at short notice.

Parents are understandably upset at children losing work (sometimes profitable work) because an application is not approved in time. But the production company is well aware that the application should be submitted at least 21 days before the filming or stage event is to take place. So 2 days is not a reasonable expectation. If as a parent you get upset, rude and angry with a licensing officer, you are creating an uncomfortable relationship for the future.

When applying to be a licensed chaperone you will normally find the licensing officer is pleased to meet you, explain the application process, and set out the main responsibilities of being a licensed chaperone. They are interested in the welfare of the children and have usually obtained work in this field because of their good communications skills.

How Do I Apply To Be A Licensed Chaperone For Child Actors?

If you want to become a Licensed Chaperone for Child Performers, the first thing you must decide is if you wish to become registered for free as a voluntary chaperone, or whether you wish to pay for your own DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) certificate and become eligible to work as a paid chaperone. Beyond that, your LEA will almost always follow the same licensing procedure regardless of whether you wish to be paid or not.

From this point, everything will be different and depend on where you live. This is because each Council has its own licensing officer (sometimes part-time, rarely covered for holidays or sickness) who operates a registration process unique to that Council. You MUST apply to be licensed by the Local Authority to whom you pay your Council Tax.

You will have to obtain a clear DBS certificate. Furthermore, you will follow the process your local Council operates for all their DBS checks, from Social Workers to Supply Teachers.

Every Council Has Its Own Licensing System

Some Councils require you to:

  • Fill out a manual form
  • You bring the form and your official identity documents to a council office
  • A council officer photocopies your identity documents and certifies the copies
  • A council DBS team will receive and check your form
  • They send any errors out in the post to you
  • All errors corrected they complete the form online
  • They send a printout to you by post
  • You sign the printout
  • You post the printout back
  • The council DBS team presses ‘send’
  • The national DBS team start the checking process

Whilst other Councils require you to:

  • Bring official identity documents to a council office
  • A council officer photocopies your identity documents and certifies the copies
  • A council officer gives you the website and password to complete a DBS form
  • You go home and complete the form online
  • The national DBS team start the checking process

Will I Have To Do Training To Become A Licensed Chaperone For Performing Children?

After that comes the training for chaperoning duties. Again, every Council will work independently and differently. You may be asked to

  • Attend a training course operated at set times of the year
  • Complete an online training course
  • Be given a booklet or set of guidance notes
  • Be given an online link to information
  • Have a chat with the licensing officer
  • Find your own resources

How Long Does The Registration Last?

Once you have become a licensed chaperone for child actors and performers, your registration will last for three years.

Licensing officers regularly visit the premises where children are performing and will do so without notice. Therefore, ensure you arrive at all assignments prepared. All documentation must be present and correct. Moreover, they will want to see you are doing a good job ensuring the safeguarding and well-being of your young charges.

Further Reading

If you’re getting involved with chaperoning because your child is a talented performer, you may find the following articles useful:

How to become a child actor

How to become a teenage actor

Reputable child acting agencies