If you want to look after a young person taking part in a performance, and you're not the child's parent or guardian, you're legally required to get a Chaperone Approval. A 'performance' includes TV, filming, theatre, sporting activities, or modelling.
A chaperone acts in loco parentis, and should provide the kind of care which a good parent might reasonably be expected to give a child. The child must be supervised at all times either by their parent/guardian or by an approved chaperone.
To get a Chaperone Approval, you must be 18 years old or over.
Your application for a Chaperone Approval must be made to the council for the area in which you live.
Who needs a Chaperone Approval?
Any adult who is chaperoning a child taking part in any performance, regardless of whether or not the child needs a Child Performance Licence.
All other adults (including dance school teachers) must have a Chaperone Approval issued by the council for the area in which they live. This includes grandparents or other family members who are not legal guardians (unless they have been appointed as a child's legal guardian by the courts).
A parent can only chaperone their own child if they don't have a Chaperone Approval.
Who can apply to be a Chaperone?
Any adult can apply to the council to be approved as a Chaperone. To be approved as a Chaperone you'll need:
- to be 18 or over
- to undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS check)
- to complete of a Chaperone Approval application form
- to submit of two references and a photograph
- an awareness of relevant legislation
- an up to date safeguarding certificate - if you don’t have one, you'll need to complete one online
What are the responsibilities of a chaperone?
A chaperone's first priority is always the child. They're the person a child looks to for guidance, protection, clarification, and support.
The maximum number of children that chaperones are allowed to have in their care at any one time is 12. In some cases, this will be too many, for example when children are a wide range of ages, which requires more concentrated supervision. We recommend eight children per chaperone to be the maximum in many cases.
One of a chaperone's greatest strengths is their ability to negotiate with the production company 'on site'. They can say no when a child is asked to do something which is harmful to their health, wellbeing, and/or education. For example, a child:
- being asked to stay at a place of performance for longer than, or outside of, the hours/times in their licence or the regulations
- not having enough education time
- performing, or being expected to perform, when unwell
Please contact us if you have any problems with this.
Chaperones should keep a note of important contacts, for example, their Licensing Authority, the child's Licensing Authority, the council for the area where the child is performing, the child's agent, and the child's parent/legal guardian.
Chaperones should not presume that a child is licensed. A Chaperone should always ask to see a child's licence when they arrive at a place of performance. The child should not perform if a licence has not been granted, unless they fall within the exemption period. If the production company cannot prove that a child is licensed, Chaperones should contact the child's local council urgently, otherwise a contravention may have occurred.
Production companies are required to log certain activities during a performance ie arrival and departure times at the place of the performance etc.
Duties of a chaperone
- A chaperone (who may be a man or a woman) must be appropriately vetted by the Local Authority issuing the licence.
- The chaperone's first duty is to the children in her/his care. While she/he is acting as chaperone she/he may not engage in any other activity that would interfere with the performance of her/his duties.
- Except when a child is in the care of a teacher, the chaperone is in loco parentis and should exercise the care which a good parent might reasonably expect to give that child.
- A chaperone must not be in charge of more than twelve children.
- Where it is proposed that the private teacher shall undertake the combined duties of teacher and chaperone then such an arrangement shall not be approved if her/his duties as chaperone require her/him to be in charge of more than three children.
- When children are living away from home, they must be in the constant charge of the chaperone that shall accompany them from lodgings to the theatre or studios and back again. She/he must arrange to sleep in the same lodgings as the children and near to the rooms occupied by the children.
- It is a special responsibility of the chaperone to see that the lodgings occupied by the children are adequate, clean, and comfortable. If she/he considers the lodgings are unsatisfactory she/he should report the fact to the Local Authority and ask for assistance in finding suitable lodgings.
- If any child is unwell, a doctor must be sent for. No child shall perform when unwell and, in the event of indisposition, a child must be sent home under proper escort. The parents and the Local Authority should be informed immediately.
- The chaperone's precise duties while a child is working in the theatre will vary according to the nature of the performance.
- The times the child must be at the theatre, and when she/he will be on stage, and the times for leaving the theatre, are known in advance, and chaperones are responsible for seeing the child's performance is kept to these times, which are in accordance with the regulations.
- The chaperone must ensure that when a child is not actually performing (including the period between performances, if there are two on the same day and she/he does not go back to her/his lodgings during this time) she/he is supervised and has adequate meals, rest, and recreation.
- The chaperone shall accompany the child from the dressing room to the wings to await her/his entrance, and take her/him back to the dressing room after her/his part in the performance is over.
- The chaperone shall be in charge of the child the whole of the time she/he is at the television, broadcasting, or film studios.
- The chaperone shall accompany her/him from the dressing room or school to the studio or set, and take her/him back to the dressing room or classroom.
- The chaperone will remain on the set while the child is there and keep records of the times she/he performs or rehearses to ensure that the times laid down in the regulations are not exceeded.
- The chaperone shall ensure that the child has the number of breaks for rest and meals appropriate to a child of her/his age, as laid down in the regulations.
- The chaperone shall ensure that the child has suitable opportunities for recreational activities and is protected from stress, strain, bad weather, and any other conditions likely to harm her/him.
- These instructions are merely supplementary to the regulations and to the conditions licence, with which all concerned must be fully acquainted and strictly comply.
How do I apply for a Chaperone Approval?
When making an application to become a Middlesbrough-registered chaperone you'll need to:
Fully complete the Chaperone Approval application form and send the application, proof of your up to date safeguarding certificate, a copy of your current DBS (if held), and a passport size photograph to:
Education Welfare Service
3rd Floor Middlesbrough House
Or send it via email to: email@example.com.
We'll carry out a check with Social Care to assess your suitability for being a chaperone.
Once we've got this information, you'll need to complete the online DBS form (unless you pay for the automatic DBS update service). A link will be sent to you from the DBS department via email. There is a £12.50 administration charge which you'll need to pay once your DBS certificate is issued.
You'll then need to contact the Education Welfare Service to make an appointment to bring along 3 forms of ID to support your application. You can make an appointment by calling 01642 729435. These forms of ID must include proof of your current address, eg. a recent utility bill (less than three months old), and your passport and driving licence if you have them. We'll also need proof of your national insurance number (ie P60 or wage slip), and documentation to support any name changes (ie marriage certificate).
The appointment will also let us make sure that you understand the requirements of the role, and can exercise proper care and control.
Please note, you should allow 12 weeks between the date of the appointment and the date your Chaperone Approval is complete.
Once your online DBS application has been processed, you'll get a copy of your DBS certificate. You should submit this to the Education Welfare Service via email to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
Please note, we can't guarantee that a Chaperone Approval will be produced unless we receive your 'clear' DBS certificate 7 days before the date of the first performance. Please allow longer than 7 days if your certificate isn't 'clear', as we'll need to think about whether it's appropriate to issue you a Chaperone Approval or not. If your DBS certificate isn't submitted in time, the person responsible for the performance may need to make alternative arrangements.
Once we've got your certificate, we'll decide whether or not to issue you with a Chaperone Approval. If we do, your Chaperone Approval will last for 3 years from the date of your DBS certificate.
For more information about current legislation visit Department for Education guidance on Child Performances or read the full Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014.
For further information about Child Employment and Entertainment Licensing see the National Network for Children in Employment and Entertainment website.
Children Performance Regulations 1968
The maximum number of children in the care of a chaperone at any one time may not exceed 12; there may be occasions when they could only perform their duties satisfactorily if the number were smaller, eg if the children were living away from home.
The chaperone's first duty is to the children in their care; while acting as chaperone they may not engage in any activity that would interfere with the performance of their duties. Except when a child is in the care of a teacher, the chaperone is in loco parentis and should exercise the care which a good parent might be reasonably expected to give that child. Their precise duties while the child is at the place of performance will vary according to the nature of the performance. If the child is working in the theatre, the times when he/she is to be at the theatre and when he/she will be on stage are known in advance, and must come within what is permitted by the regulations. The chaperone's main duties will be to ensure that, when the child is not actually performing (including the period in between performances if there are two performances on the same day and he/she does not go home or back to his/her lodgings), he/she is properly supervised and has adequate meals, rest and recreation.
A child appearing in a film may be at the studios or place of location for much of the day. During the whole of this time he/she is in the chaperone's charge, except when having lessons. It is for them to accompany him/her from the dressing room or school room to the set and take him/her back to the dressing room or school room, as well as remaining on the set while he/she is there. They are required to keep a record of the time the child is on the set, and the time he/she rehearses and performs, so as to ensure that the periods permitted under the regulations are not exceeded. They must also see that the child gets not less than the required number of breaks for rest and meals. They should make sure that the child has suitable opportunities for recreational activities and is protected from stress, strain, bad weather and any other conditions likely to harm him/her.
If a child is living away from home, the chaperone is responsible for him/her throughout the currency of the licence. This includes seeing that the child's lodgings are satisfactory in every way; and that he/she is properly occupied during his/her spare time; and in general they may need to exercise a greater amount of supervision than if the child was living at home.
No child should be allowed to perform when unwell. If a child falls ill or is injured while in the charge of a chaperone / teacher, a doctor should be called and the licence holder must immediately notify the parent named in the application form, and the local authority.