This was in the Times notebook today:
‘My mother…belongs to an amateur dramatic society in Birmingham, called the Highbury Players. They have a youth theatre, too, who sometimes appear alongside the adults in productions such as The Diary of Anne Frank, and sometimes in shows they’ve written themselves, which star, well, pretty much all of them.
Next year’s youth theatre extravaganza will be staged in January, but may not go ahead at all, because Birmingham City Council requires them to have trained chaperones to look after the kids in the show. My mum volunteered…. She’s a former teacher, and currently the vice-principal of a further education college. She used to be in charge of education in ten prisons and young offenders institutions, so she has enhanced Criminal Records Bureau clearance. She is a former Snowy Owl (the Brownie-guide leader, not the bird), and she has an MBE for her services to education….
She’s not qualified to chaperone kids, though, till she’s been for a 90-minute interview with two members of Birmingham’s social services. Nor are her fellow volunteers, who number one primary headteacher (retired), one primary headteacher (current), one cub scout akela and one serving policeman…. The interviews can only take place during the day, so Mum is going to need to take a half day off work. She’s the only one who’s managed to get an appointment so far. The others are still waiting. And only then may Birmingham Children’s Services decide if she’s suitable chaperone material.’