PURPOSE AND FUNCTION OF ORGANISATION:
To advance, promote and encourage generally and, in particular, by means of competitive festivals, the study and practice of the arts of Dance and Musical Theatre Singing; to present and promote public performances for amateurs and to advance the education of the public in these arts by developing greater awareness, participation and appreciation of the arts of Dance and Song in the wider community. Under the terms of our Body of Persons exemption, it is a legal requirement that dancers of compulsory school age are chaperoned at all times, either by their parent/guardian or a licensed chaperone.
The safety of children and members of other vulnerable groups is paramount and all, without exception, have the right to protection from abuse. All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously, responded to swiftly and appropriately and all the Festival’s organisers and volunteers have a responsibility to report concerns.
Carers are reminded that the safety of young people and vulnerable adults, together with their belongings, remains their responsibility during the Festival.
When attending the Festival, carers must ensure that children and vulnerable adults are adequately supervised by themselves or by another responsible adult acting on their behalf. Festival officials are not able to undertake this task. Changing areas, warm up rooms and toilets are not supervised, and children should not be allowed to stray into areas designated as out of bounds.
Carers should be aware that backstage changing facilities for dancers are limited.
This policy relates to children under the age of 18 years and members of vulnerable groups of any age whose specific needs are identified to the Festival organisers by parents/ guardians/carers and/or teachers at the time of arranging their entry to Festival. This should be done in writing when completing the entry forms or by contacting the Entry Secretary at the address or telephone number shown in the syllabus. Our Festival actively seeks, wherever possible, to meet these needs, but must know beforehand in order to prepare support – or to let you know we are unable to help.
The Festival aims to provide a safe and caring environment for children and vulnerable adults as far as is reasonable and practicable, but it is not a child care organisation in the full meaning of the The Protection of Children Act 1999.
Where Festival Personnel will be supervising children or in one-to-one contact with children at our Festival, they are required to undertake disclosure through the Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) prior to the start of the Festival. Those disclosures will be processed either through the umbrella body which supports our Festival (The British & International Federation of Festivals) or through Surrey County Council. We ensure that all volunteers working at the Festival submit contact details, which we hold on file and keep to hand during the Festival.
All Festival Personnel will be identified by official Festival badges which show their name. In case of a problem, any one wearing a badge may be approached at any time and if not able to deal with the problem themselves, will contact somebody responsible to act for them. All problems will be dealt with discretely, documented and dated. All Festival Personnel will be signed in and signed out of the venue on a daily basis and we will keep a copy of this register to hand during the Festival.
All those who assist in running the Festival are volunteers; they are recruited upon recommendation by those who manage the Festival as professional people in their own right and/or supporters of the Festival with good character. All Festival volunteers and helpers are familiar with this Policy.
Dancers must be signed in on arrival at the Festival and the name of the responsible adult provided.
Dancers must not be left in dressing rooms alone without a parent/guardian or licenced chaperone being present.
Woking Festival of Dance volunteers do not act as chaperones for dancers in the dressing rooms.
PREPARATION FOR ATTENDANCE AT THE FESTIVAL:
This Policy is sent to you as parents/ guardians/ carers (where applicable via your dance teacher) at the time you are making your arrangements to attend the Festival and your teacher will send back a signed paper to say that it has been distributed to you. Unless this signed acknowledgement is received by the Festival organisers before the commencement of the Festival, dancers from that school/group will be prevented from performing. This ensures that parents/ guardians/ carers and teachers become partners with the Festival in implementing this Policy. Where parents/ guardians /carers are not personally attending with their children, this Policy requires them to be satisfied that their children will be accompanied to the Festival and adequately supervised by responsible adults acting on their behalf.
PERFORMANCE AREAS AND CHANGING AREAS:
The Festival Organisers provide separate girls and boys changing rooms during the Festival.
Dressing rooms will be supervised by teachers and chaperones appointed by the schools.
Admission to the dressing rooms will be strictly limited to teachers and chaperones. Female chaperones only will be admitted into girls changing rooms but mothers may enter the boys dressing room. The Festival will not accept any responsibility whatsoever for supervising toilet and communal facilities.
PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEOTAPES:
The Festival does not allow audience members to take photographs or videos during performances.
It is, however, impossible for us to ensure that no photographs at all are taken and it is our policy to make you aware of that.
It is not Festival policy to take mobile phones from dancers or stop them using these to take photographs or videos, but Carers are asked to ensure they are used responsibly and to ensure that their use does not cause disruption in the backstage area and the wings of the stage.
THE LEGISLATION AND GUIDANCE THAT SUPPORTS THIS POLICY:
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
The Children Act 1989
The Police Act 1997
The Data Protection Act 1998
The Human Rights Act 1998
The Protection of Children Act 1999
• The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000
The Children Act 2004
The Protection of Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
The organisers will constantly review this Policy, revising and enhancing it as necessary. In doing this, they will look to The British & International Federation of Festivals for support and that body, in turn will look to other agencies for good practice, most notably the NSPCC and Arts Council of England policy guidelines.