Children under statutory school leaving age who take part in entertainment performances and certain other activities need to be licensed. The licensing requirements are designed to protect the child's health, education and welfare, and to ensure that the child is not being exploited or overworked. Licences are not usually required for a performance arranged by a school.
Children’s performances and activities are regulated by the following laws:
The Children and Young Person’s Act
The Children Performance Regulations
The Children Protection at Work Regulations 1998 (for sporting events)
Licences are issued by the Council and cover a child from birth until they reach the official school leaving date. The three types of licence and the areas they cover are listed below.
Television or Film
Children appearing in films or on television need a Performance Licence. This applies whether time off school is required or not.
Theatre, Music or Dance
Most children who take part in this type of performance will need a Performance Licence unless they are a member of an amateur society which has been given an exemption called a Body of Persons Licence. A Performance Licence is needed if a child requires time off school, is getting paid or if the production lasts for more than 4 days.
Children can take part in modelling assignments from birth. They are usually registered with one or more modelling agencies. A child involved in modelling needs an Activities Licence.
Where a child excels at their chosen sport and they are either paid or require time off school to participate, the child needs a Sports Licence.
Applying for a Licence
To apply for any of the above three types of licence, a Licence Application Form needs to be completed. The form has three parts:
Part 1 is completed by the person responsible for the production/event or modelling agency
Part 2 of the form is completed by the parent/guardian, who must also provide:
The child's Birth Certificate
Two recent passport-sized photographs of the child
A completed health questionnaire or statement of fitness from the child’s GP
Body of Persons Licence
An amateur organisation may apply for a Body of Persons Licence which allows for multiple children to be licensed for an amateur production at the same time. This prevents the need for a full licence.
A Body of Persons Licence cannot be issued where performers are paid, require time off school or have already been involved with 4 days performance in the previous 6 months.
For further information, see the Body of Persons Guidance. To apply, complete the Body of Persons Application Form.
Chaperones (also referred to as Matrons)
Chaperones are employed in either a paid or voluntary capacity to supervise children who are licensed by the Council to take part in performances. The Council is responsible for ensuring that the chaperone is suitable and can exercise proper care or control of the children they are responsible for, including their health, comfort, kind treatment and moral welfare.
The law states that the chaperone is acting in loco parentis (in place of the parent) and should exercise the care which might reasonably be expected from a good parent. Children often work in an adult environment and the chaperone must take into account the child’s age, experience, concentration and exposure to adult conversation and expectations.
The chaperone must be fully aware of health and safety issues and have a basic understanding of emergency first aid.
Anyone applying to become a chaperone must complete an application form, provide references, be subject to a police (DBS) check and complete online safeguarding training.
For further information, see the Chaperone Guidance. To apply, complete the Chaperone Application Form.