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Child employment

Performance licences

School age children who take part in performances, including broadcast performances, child photography, or modelling, must have a licence issued by the local authority. Licence application must be signed by the parents or legal guardian and accompanied by a photograph. The local authority must be satisfied that arrangements for the supervision and protection of the child are adequate and that disruption to the child’s education is kept to a minimum.

No licence is required if no payment is made to the child and:

  • they have not taken part in performances in the previous six months on more than three days or
  • the performance is arranged by a school or
  • the performance is exempted by Secretary of State (eg Scout gang shows)

If multiple children are involved in the performance, and they won't need absence from school, organisations may be able to apply for a Body of Person Approval (BOPA) licence if they meet the BOPA criteria.

If the performance runs for four days or less, you may be able to apply for a child performance licence exemption.

The circumstances under which your child will need a licence are explained by child performance licence criteria guidance (PDF, 40kb).

Absence from school is allowed only in accordance with the licence.

When licences are requested at short notice, local authorities will try to accommodate requests. However, there must be enough time to deal with the application detail beforehand. Local authorities can legally insist on 21 working days notice.

Apply for a Child Licence Application here.

You can download the Child Licence Application Part 2 (PDF, 345kb) here.

Page last updated: 28 February 2023


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