AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Media Campaign, Children's Theatre, Children's TV, Education, Politics, The Children's Media Foundation, Uncategorized

    The New Year brought success for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children’s Media and the Arts after six months of behind the scenes activity.Jayne Kirkham, CMF’s Clerk to the Group reports…
    At the 2013 APPG AGM in June, John McVay from PACT, and representatives from the major broadcasters and children’s charities discussed the inadequacies of child performance licensing regulations, as set out in the Children and Young Persons Act 1963.  Things looked pretty grim. Along with childcare professionals, Ofcom and others, the broadcasters and charities had worked hard to draw up recommendations to improve the regulations, only to have their hopes dashed, as the Government decided not to legislate on the issue. The reason given was a lack of consensus in the response to the Government’s formal consultation.
    The APPG event proved that there was consensus in the fundamental areas, and the Group’s Chair Baroness Floella Benjamin has been highlighting these since then:
    -The need for equal opportunities and equal safeguarding for children in all types of performance on all types of platform.
    -Effectively rationalising the differences between screen, stage, ‘theatrical’ performance (acting, singing, dancing), and performing as oneself (documentary, interview, reality).
    -Removing the ‘postcode lottery’ of different Local Education Authorities having their own regulations.
    The Department of Education may have abandoned the idea of new legislation but that didn’t mean it wasn’t still needed.
    But what to do?  The parliamentary calendar offered few options, but the Children and Families Bill was coursing through the legislative process and the changes to performance regulations were essentially concerned with child welfare.But you can’t just slip in an extra sentence or two to a parliamentary bill…  can you?Baroness Benjamin started digging around and unearthed procedures and people with whom she could firmly plant the idea of an amendment to the Children and Families Bill.  After passing through the Report Stage, the Bill has emerged with significant changes to child performance regulations.

    Tabled by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, Lord Nash, in brief, these amendments will:

    -Replace the complex restrictions on the hours children can perform at different ages, which were different for theatre and broadcast, with a simpler, single set of limits subject to age group (0-4, 5-10, 11-16).
    -Repeal the limit on the nature of the daily performances that a child can be licensed to take part in.
    -Remove the requirement for medical certificates.  These could still be requested by the local authority if, for example, there was cause for concern about a child’s health, but would not be a requirement.

    These changes, although seemingly small, will bring clarity and consistency to all Local Education Authorities: allowing them to monitor children performing abroad as well as at home, give children better protection and opportunity based on their individual needs and ensure that their welfare is paramount.The government amendments were discussed in the Lords on 29th January and the Bill’s third and final reading is today (Feb 5th).  Six months of carefully nurturing something the Department of Education threw out, and we’re seeing the Bill – and the all-important amendments – heading for Royal Assent.  The result should be safe, happy and healthy child performances in the future.For more information on The Children and Families Bill go to:


    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Animation, Books, Children's Poetry, Children's Theatre, Children's TV, Uncategorized

    A Warning to Little Shrews

    Winston the cat
    Is big, black and fat.
    But his mew is so cute,
    You’d never guess he’s a brute
    Who likes to kill rats
    And other tom cats.

    He curls on the chair
    With a warm sleepy stare.
    But when you think he’s at rest,
    He’s at his cruel, vicious best.
    So little shrew beware:
    Winston knows that you’re there.

    He’s watching you peep
    And feel safe and then creep
    To the fridg- Bam! goes his paw
    As he strikes with his claw
    And sinks his teeth deep
    And eats even your squeap!

    Please note: ‘Squeap’ is the sound a shrew makes as it disappears in one big gollop into a big black fat cat.  There’s no time for squealing and or squeaking – the k gets swallowed.  Trust me.



    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Animation, Children's Media Campaign, Children's Theatre, Children's TV, Uncategorized

    For the first time in several years, the world of children’s media have things to celebrate this Christmas.

    – The Animation and Games tax relief which will help our production sector compete with the rest of the world and ensure more home grown content for our children.

    – Ofcom and the ASA’s swift implementation of the Bailey review’s recommendations,  which will help put the brakes on the sexualisation and commercialisation of our children, which offers parents one-stop access to all the UK’s media regulators.
    However, there are still many challenges in 2013, especially for Children’s theatre, fine arts, music and dance which have been endangered by changes in Education and cuts to public arts funding.

    So whether you and your family settle down to watch the BBC’s Christmas Doctor Who, or C4’s The Snowman and The Snowdog, or watch a performance of The Nutcracker, or your local pantomime, please remember that Children’s Arts and Media are not just for Christmas….

    With all good wishes for a peaceful and prosperous New Year,


    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Theatre, Children's TV

    We went to the theatre yesterday, my auntie Jayne and me.  I was a bit scared because Mummy had said it’s like the pictures but they’re alive and that sounded weird.  So we took Oma because she knows what to do.

    We had to wait while Auntie Jayne got the tickets and that was boring but then this boy came up to me with his mum and she said she liked my school hoodie and that the boy was starting at my school in September.  So I’ll be in the next class up and she said that would be nice for him and Oma said so too and so did Auntie Jayne so I suppose it will but I just thought I’ll be bigger than him.  And that will be  nice.

    And then we went in through these big doors and there were two girls with books all about Grandpa In My Pocket because that’s what we had come to see and Oma bought two and the room was dark and I had to find the letter E on the seats and some numbers.  It was very big and dark except for the front which was all bright and looked like a seaside with beach huts and Oma said it was The Stage.

    Then all the lights went out and some people came onto The Stage and they danced and looked very happy.  They didn’t look like Jason Mason or Grandpa much but they said they were going to pretend and I like pretending and they had a great big dressing up box and then they did look like Jason Mason and the man looked like Grandpa and then he did the shrinking thing!

    I could see the other man moving Grandpa’s legs but then he just disappeared and all I saw was Grandpa running across The Stage and hiding and it was fun and then the Bank Manager got to be a pirate afterall and they all sang songs.

    We had ice creams in tubs at half time.  Mine was chocolate and Auntie Jayne had blueberry and Oma had mini chedders.  That is not an ice cream.  And Oma bought me some planes to build but I didn’t have time to build them because then they were all on the island and there were some big birds and Grandpa had to go back to get help with a message that Mr Liker Biker found so he rowed in his boat all the way round our seats to get to the island and rescued everyone and they found all the things that had been lost.

    My best bits were the pirate and when they all ran round the seats and I liked Grandpa flying in his plane.  It was very funny and we all sang along and clapped when everyone danced.  Even Oma.  But Auntie Jayne sings too loudly.

    When we got home, Auntie Jayne said it was very well written and a great show for children and their grown ups.  Mummy said I had to say thank you to Auntie Jayne and give her a kiss but I didn’t want to because her chin is spiky.  But I was glad she took me because I loved it.  I told Oma that even before we had our ice creams.  I did say thank you because I did like the theatre and I like Grandpa In My Pocket.  I like it on telly but I loved it on The Stage because it wasn’t just on The Stage but all around me and it made me laugh a lot and Grandpa was really clever.

    Grandpa In My Pocket is  at Nottingham Playhouse until 11 August 2012.  Auntie Jayne says take some children and have some fun.  She thinks it would be a great trip for Beavers or Rainbows and much more fun than sitting in the rain.