In the digital age, capturing and sharing photographs and videos have become commonplace in various industries, including early years education. However, when working with young children, it is essential to navigate the legal and ethical considerations surrounding model releases carefully. A model release is an agreement between a photographer and the people depicted. Used in the context of a setting, it is often between the early years business and its parents or employees. Signing of the agreement grants the right to use the photographs or videos for specific purposes. This article aims to provide early years educators with a comprehensive understanding of the rules and best practices associated with obtaining model releases.
Parental Consent: The Foundation of the Model Release
In the context of early years education, obtaining written consent from parents or carers is paramount. The model release should clearly outline the purpose of capturing and using photographs or videos of children. Parents must be informed about the intended use of these visuals, including documentation of activities, educational materials, observations, display within the setting, or sharing with parents for informational or promotional purposes.
Specific Permissions and Intended Uses
To ensure transparency and clarity, model releases should obtain explicit permission for each specific use of the images or videos. Examples of specific uses may include publishing photos on the school website, newsletters, or social media platforms. By specifying the intended uses, parents can make informed decisions regarding their child’s participation and exposure of their images. Remember a parent can withdraw consent too.
Duration and Revocability
Model releases should clearly state whether they are valid for a limited period or continue indefinitely until revoked. Additionally, parents or legal guardians should be informed of their right to revoke their consent at any time. The process for revocation must clearly be outlined in the release, allowing parents to exercise control over their child’s image. Our advice, make it easy for consent to be withdrawn and you are more likely to gain permission, where permission can be granted.
Cultural and Religious Sensitivities
Settings must be sensitive to cultural or religious considerations parents may have regarding the use of their child’s image. Some parents may have objections or preferences regarding how their child’s image is used, displayed, or shared. Providing an open dialogue and accommodating individual concerns fosters a respectful and inclusive environment.
Regular Review and Update
Model releases should be reviewed periodically to ensure compliance with evolving laws, regulations, and policies related to data protection, privacy, and child safeguarding. As new guidelines emerge, early years education settings should adapt their model releases accordingly and communicate any changes to parents or carers.
Employee Model Releases
In addition to obtaining model releases from parents or carers, settings must also be mindful of the laws governing model releases for employees. Employees who appear in photographs or videos need to provide their consent for the use of their likeness.
Employees must understand the specific purposes and potential uses of their images within the context of the educational setting. It is essential to comply with applicable employment and privacy laws, such as data protection regulations, confidentiality agreements or employment contracts that may govern the use of employee images.
Obtaining model releases in early years environments is a crucial step in protecting the rights and privacy of children & staff. Settings must prioritise obtaining informed consent from parents or carers, clearly outline the intended uses of photographs and videos, respect privacy and cultural sensitivities, and regularly review and update model releases to ensure compliance with their regulator.
Here’s a model release form for download.
If you need further assistance with your model releases or any aspect of HR please call us on 01527 909436.