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Understanding Child Performance Licensing Legislation in England

Updated: Oct 3, 2023



Child performers bring a unique charm and energy to the entertainment industry, be it on stage, in films, or on television. Nurturing their talents while ensuring their well-being is a delicate balance, and it all starts with a thorough understanding of child performance licensing legislation.



As someone deeply entrenched in the world of nurturing young talent for the stage and screen, I've witnessed first-hand the significance of adhering to the legal framework that governs this sector. It is not only critical to the well-being of the young cast, to understand regulations, but also for the smooth and safe running of a performance.


The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014

At the heart of child performance licensing in England lies "The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014." This legislation sets out the requirements for any child under the age of compulsory school age (up to 16 years old) who wishes to take part in public performances or certain types of work. It encompasses a broad range of activities, from theatrical productions to modelling assignments.

Under these regulations, key provisions include the need for a license issued by the local

authority, which ensures that young performers are not exploited, receive proper education and work reasonable hours. The regulations also establish specific responsibilities for producers, tutors, and chaperones to safeguard the welfare of child performers, it is your responsibility to know the rules.


Local Authority Oversight

One crucial aspect of child performance licensing in England is the role of local authorities. Each local council is responsible for issuing licenses, monitoring compliance, and ensuring the welfare of child performers within its jurisdiction. They work closely with parents, guardians, tutors, and chaperones to create a safe and supportive environment for young talents.


You can expect a drop-in inspection at any time. The team will expect to see a suitable classroom environment, a record of tuition hours completed, and work done by the young cast. They will want to see a copy of your chaperone licence if you hold one and your teacher reference number. It's a process that demands meticulous attention to detail and a commitment to upholding the rights and well-being of the child actors.


Education and Welfare

Ensuring that young performers receive a balanced education alongside their professional commitments is a cornerstone of child performance licensing legislation. The regulations require that the child's education doesn't suffer due to their involvement in performances. Tutors play a vital role in delivering this educational component, ensuring that child actors can excel both academically and artistically.

Throughout my career, I've witnessed the transformative power of this balanced approach. It empowers young performers to pursue their dreams while providing them with the necessary educational foundation for a successful future.

The specifics are easy to get bogged down in and I will tackle them in a future post, however, children aged 5 and over should be in tuition:

· Complete 3 hours per day (a maximum of 5 hours per day).

· A minimum of 15 hours per week, taught only on school days.

· A minimum of 6 hours in a week if aggregating over 4 weeks or less.


Chaperones and Supportive Roles

Behind every young performer's success stands a dedicated team, including chaperones and 2nd assistant directors. We all work together to guarantee the safety and well-being of child actors on set or during performances. We play an essential part in adhering to child performance licensing regulations and creating a nurturing environment for young talents to thrive.

In my experience, effective collaboration with chaperones and 2nd assistant directors is paramount. You can coordinate breaks are taken, and ensure young people hit a minimum 30 minutes before leaving tuition for set or calls. Liaising with your 2nd is critical in ensuring that young cast meet their minimum tuition hours.


Conclusion

Child performance licensing legislation in England is a comprehensive framework designed to protect and nurture the young talents who enrich our entertainment industry. It's a delicate balance between artistic development and legal compliance, a balance that I've dedicated the last few years of my career to perfecting.

As we navigate the intricate landscape of child performance licensing, I'm reminded of the incredible potential and resilience of the young performers I've had the privilege to work with. By understanding and adhering to the legislation, collaborating with, colleagues and local authorities, and supporting the education and welfare of child actors, we ensure that creative industries continue to be a place where young talents can shine while thriving within a protective and nurturing environment.

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