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The Facts About School On Set

April 25, 2018

The ‘Need to Knows’ for Parents and Pros

It’s no secret that the education of minors is crucial. Education on set in California is a must-do, required by all productions who are employing children, and in fact many other states are adopting laws - or at the very least some steadfast rules- when it comes to the education of minors.

Knowing what they can expect on set will help parents succeed (both within their child’s entertainment and scholastic careers) and will keep them from feeling in the dark about the goings-on of production. 

And for pros, knowing what your state requires of you when it comes to employing minors is your responsibility.

Get your notebook out parents and pros because here are the facts:

Education must be provided: Children who miss regular school for work should be allowed study time throughout the work day. This isn’t just a good idea; in some states, it’s the law. When the law doesn’t provide for education, union rules usually do. Regardless, providing education for children, ALL CHILDREN, is simply the right thing to do. It is unreasonable to expect a child to work all day and then go home and make up missed assignments and be fresh for work/school again the next day.

  • Parents, if your production isn’t being reasonable and providing adequate time for education on set don’t be afraid to speak up.  The Assistant Director is usually a good point of contact if no Studio Teacher is on set.  You can also reach out to your agent or manager, Children In Film or if necessary, the State Dept. of Labor.  But first, start by having a discussion with production.  Don’t wait.  Discuss these issues upfront and as soon as possible.
  • Pros remember that even though they work with adults, kids are still kids. Education time should be scheduled directly into the minors work day and teachers should be made available to assist them with their work regardless of rules or laws. ChildrenInFilm.com has made searching laws and finding teachers easy. Just click on the links ... and do the right thing!

Be Prepared: There’s a bit of prep required by both the production and the parent.

  • Parents, bring something for your child to do every day. School-aged children (6-17) are required to bring three hours of schoolwork with them from their regular school (home schoolers included). Studio Teachers do not provide books and assignments for working children. They simply tutor them along. If parents are unable to get assignments from school due to a last minute booking, they must be prepared with supplemental material.
  • Pros, you must provide an adequate work area where children can study free of distractions and disturbances. Appropriate lighting, heating and seating are necessary. Plus, in California productions must provide one studio teacher per 10 children on school days. Because requirements for teachers on set vary state to state, CIF recommends that you investigate the law in the minor’s state of residence, the law in any state you are working on location as well as the union rules pertaining to on set education in order to be fully compliant.  If you need to book a teacher, Children In Film has teachers available in most major hubs.  NY, CA, IL, LA, Vancouver, Toronto and more.

Home School is equivalent to regular school: Think of home schooling EXACTLY like you think of regular school.
The only difference is that the school facility is at the child’s home. When it comes to the labor law, you still need to find out what the rules are in the state of employment as well as in the minor’s state of residence. In California for example, children must be given instruction on set under the direct supervision of a Studio Teacher/Welfare Worker, parents who home school may not act as the teacher for their child on set in CA.  In NY however, parents are allowed to remain their child’s tutor on set, if they are enrolled in a home school program and are willing and available to do so.  Click here for a summary of NY Child Performer Laws A-Z

As always, this information along with additional tips and tricks can be found under the education tab on ChildrenInFilm.com as well as via Step 8: Education within CIF’s KidStart Program.