1. Children in entertainment
Many children enjoy performing, whether in plays, films, advertising or on television, and parents enjoy supporting them. However, laws exist which are designed to protect children's welfare and prevent them from being exploited. (In particular, the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 and 1963, the Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014.
The council is responsible for licensing children in entertainment, and for authorising chaperones. If you need any further information, and/or wish to apply to be a chaperone, please telephone 01628 796585.
All children under the statutory school leaving age, even babies, need a licence. There are a few exemptions:
Your child can perform for four days in any one year, if:
- She/he has not performed at all in the previous six months, and
- She/he will not miss any school,
- She/he is not being paid.
However, the absence from school rule always applies, so, if your child will miss school for rehearsals and/or performances, she/he must have a licence.
How to apply for a licence
If your child is involved with a dancing school and/or a local show, the production company should apply to us for application forms. She/he fills in the first part of the form and then passes it to you to complete the second part.
If your child is registered with an agent, you need to check whether your agent or the production/TV/film company is applying for the licence. Even if your child is performing outside the borough, if you live within the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, the licence has to be authorised by the child employment officer.
Once you have filled in your part of the application, you need to give it back to the appropriate person, together with two photographs and a copy of your child's birth certificate. You may also need to provide a letter from your child's school if she/he will be absent from school. The form is then sent to the child employment officer for authorisation.
Your child needs to have their licence before the performance takes place, therefore, we ask for the licence to be sent to us at least three weeks before the show starts. We always try our best to issue a licence but, sometimes, if the application is very late, we may not be able to authorise your child's performance.
Your child does not need a licence once she/he is over the official school leaving age, i.e. after the last Friday in June of the school year in which your child is 16 (Year 11).
All licensed shows must have authorised chaperones. Their names have to be stated on the application form and we always check that they are currently authorised. Parents can chaperone their own children but they must have a valid chaperones licence if they wish to chaperone other people's children.
If approved, the licence is sent to the person whose name is on the front of the form. A copy will be sent to you. If the performance involves absence from school, a copy of the licence is also sent to your child's school.
If your child is performing outside the borough, a copy of the licence is also sent to the appropriate local education authority.
The council sends the licence, which includes a photograph of the child, to the person who applies for the licence (normally the producer), to help safeguard your child's welfare. A daily record sheet should be completed during the performance.
Schools (but not dance schools) are exempt from needing to have licences, except where your child may be involved in commercial work outside normal school activities.
Six month modeling or 'Open' licences
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead does not issue six month or open licenses. Instead, we aim to issue full licences for each performance or 'shoot' as they are required.
If an agent takes your child on its books to do modeling/film work, please contact the child employment officer to register your child. You will be asked to provide the following:
- A completed a copy of the part two of the licence application form signed by you as parent or guardian.
- A recent passport sized photograph.
- A copy of your child's birth certificate or passport.
These details will be held on file for a period of six months.
When the agent obtains modeling work for your child they must provide the child employment officer with:
- A fully completed part one of the licence application form, including the exact details of the location and date of filming.
- A letter from your child's school giving permission for your child to be absent if the shoot is during school hours.
These details can be emailed to the department and we will try to issue the licence as quickly as possible.
Withdrawing of a licence
If we are worried about the welfare of your child we will withdraw the licence. But we would stress that we want to work in partnership with productions and parents so that children can maximise their opportunities. However, your child's welfare is always of paramount importance.
The local authority has a duty to inspect places where children are performing to check that they are suitable and that the children are being looked after appropriately. If the performance is outside the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, the local child employment officer for the area where the performance is taking place will make the inspection.
This department also licenses chaperones who live in the borough. An application pack to become a chaperone can be obtained from the child employment officer. Also see our chaperones page.
We would always urge you to check who is chaperoning your child, and whether she/he has a valid licence. If you have any doubts, check with us.