Chaperones are people licensed to accompany and look after children and young people who take part in television, theatre, film, amateur performances, modelling or sporting activities.
By law, school age children, up to and including Year 11, must be accompanied by a registered chaperone when they’re taking part in or rehearsing for a public performance, if their parent or guardian can’t go with them.
Relatives and childminders are not legal guardians (unless they've been appointed as such by the courts). Parents may only supervise their own child; to supervise other children, they must be registered as a chaperone.
For more information and legislation on child performances, please see National Network of Child Employment and Entertainment (NNCEE).
Skills you'll need to become a chaperone
A chaperone's first responsibility is to the child in their care; the child will look to them for guidance, protection, clarification, and support.
If you become a chaperone, you'll need to have an awareness/understanding of:
- safeguarding requirements as described by Barnsley Safeguarding Children Partnership
- the child's age and experience, concentration span, and exposure to adult conversation and expectations, as they'll often be working in an adult environment
- health and safety issues on stage and on set, such as evacuation procedures in case of emergencies like fire, and emergency first aid treatment
- the need to take action when a child is tired, ill or upset
- signs and symptoms of intimidation and bullying
- the need for proof of the hours and times laid down in the child’s licence
- the need for negotiation with the production company on the child's behalf about health education and hours (in accordance with the performance table)
- child performance and activities licence legislation
What chaperones are responsible for
The law states that anyone who takes on the role of a chaperone is acting in loco parentis and should exercise the care that a good parent might reasonably be expected to give that child.
Read about the responsibilities of a chaperone for full details.
Who can apply
Anyone who's 18 or over and lives in Barnsley can apply to become a chaperone.
How to apply
Please provide a copy of any child protection training you've completed within the last three years. If you haven't completed any child protection training you'll need to complete the Barnsley Safeguarding Children’s Board learning course prior to the processing of your application; there may be a charge for this of £10. Contact us on (01226) 773580 to arrange this training.
You'll need to provide two personal referees (one who is able to evidence your successful working with children in either a professional or a voluntary capacity, and one who has known you in a personal capacity for over two years – excluding family members).
You'll attend a brief, informal interview where we'll also ask your permission to complete a disclosure application and ask to see valid identity documents. You can use the checklist to make sure you have everything you need to apply.
Any applications received after 3.30pm will be acknowledged the next working day.
How much it costs for a chaperone licence
There's a charge for a volunteer chaperone licence of £9.95.
The licence to become a professional chaperone costs £48.40.
There may be a charge for safeguarding training; the cost of this is £10.
Once you're approved as a chaperone
If you're approved as a chaperone your licence will be valid for three years; you must apply for a renewal at least 6 to 8 weeks before it's expiry date. Any approval is granted subject to certain conditions; any breach of these conditions could lead to the approval being withdrawn.
Please keep your certificate of approval in a safe place. You need to take it with you every time you chaperone a child as you may be asked to produce it for inspection.
You need to notify us within seven days of:
- any change of address or name
- any arrest, offence or conviction
- any serious or notifiable illness or debility
Looking after children on tour
Where children are on tour and living away from home, as a chaperone you'll be responsible for them throughout the duration of the licence. You must take constant charge of the child and accompany them at all times.
In general, a chaperone needs to exercise a greater amount of supervision than if the child was living at home.
Your responsibilities for a child on tour include making sure that:
- lodgings are satisfactory, comfortable and clean. They have to be approved by the council in whose area they are, but if for any reason the chaperone thinks them unsatisfactory they should insist on a change of accommodation.
- transport is arranged to and from the place of entertainment. No child should normally have more than three hours journey time.
- children are properly occupied in their spare time and get plenty of exercise.
- meal arrangements are suitable. Food should normally be provided at the lodgings.
- you sleep in the same accommodation as the child and close to where the children are sleeping.
We can ask producers to give us access to the records of child performers.
Chaperones are often designated to keep these records in respect of the child. These will include the times that the child is at the place of the performance, when they perform and rehearse, when they have their breaks and meals, and the waiting times in between performances.
If you're not sure about the legalities of what producers may be asking of the child, ask us for advice.
You need to tell us straight away if there is any contravention of the licence, or any incident that affects the child's wellbeing.
Call: (01226) 773580
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday from 8.30am to 5pm and Fridays from 8.30am to 4.30pm.
You can also contact the Education Welfare Officer through your child’s school.