Children in Entertainment

Regulated under the Children Young Person Act 1933/63 and the Children (Performances and Activities) (Wales) Regulations 2015.

Children involved in entertainment, such as: TV, film, theatre, modelling, dance shows, pantos, amateur dramatics, music groups and paid sport (whether professional or amateur) may require a performance licence and a licensed chaperone.

The purpose of these requirements is to ensure that the ‘work’ is not detrimental to the child’s welfare and education. Child licences are all obtained through the Local Authority where the child resides.

When is a Child Performance licence is required

  • For all children from birth up to the end of their compulsory education. This is defined as the last Friday in June in the academic year in which they turn 16
  • When a charge is made in connection with the performance. This applies whether the performers are paid or not
  • When the performance takes place at licensed premises or a registered club
  • When the performance is recorded to be broadcast or exhibited (for example on TV, radio, film, internet etc.)

What are the exceptions?

Exemptions are set out in section 37(3) of the 1963 Act, which only apply where no payment in respect of the child taking part in the performance is made to the child or another person, other than expenses. These exemptions do not apply to paid sport or paid modelling. The exemptions are:

The 4 day rule

If a child has not performed on more than 3 days in the last 6 months, they will not need a licence for performance on a fourth day. Once a child has performed on 4 days in a 6 month period (in any performance, regardless of whether a licence was in place on any of those days or the child was taking part in a performance arranged under a body of persons approval) then a licence is required for any further performances (unless one of the other exemptions referred to below applies).

If a child is to be absent from school this exemption cannot be relied upon: a licence will be required.

Body of Persons Approval (BOPA)

In some cases, the organiser of a performance involving children can apply for a BOPA. A BOPA covers all children in one approval, rather than individual licences for each child. The decision whether to issue a BOPA is at the discretion of the local authority.

Any organisation can apply for a BOPA, as long as no child is paid. The local authority will require assurance that the body had clear, robust and well embedded policies for safeguarding children. Applications for a BOPA should be made to the local authority where the performance is taking place, the local authority can grant the approval even if the children taking part do not live within its' boundaries. If granted, a BOPA removes the need to apply for an individual licence for each child, it is granted to the organisation that is responsible for the performance. The authority can impose conditions that they feel are needed to ensure the well-being of the children involved and may revoke approvals if these are not met.

If a child is to be absent from school this exemption cannot be relied upon: a licence will be required.

Performances organised by a School

This does not include dance or drama schools, who must apply for licences, where necessary.

Application Process

It is a legal requirement to seek a licence when one is required and any person who causes or procures any child to do anything in contravention of the licensing legislation can be prosecuted whether a child is performing under licence or not, the same duty of care applies.

If you wish to apply for a child performance licence or exemption, download the relevant form below:

Note: This form should be completed and submitted to the licensing authority not less than 21 days before the first performance or activity for which the licence is requested, since the licensing authority may otherwise refuse to grant a licence. Licences might not be granted if the application is received less than twenty-one days before the date on which the licence is required. It is most unlikely that a licence will be granted if the application is received less than five working days before the date on which the licence is required.

Regulations and Guidance Documents

Further information can be found in the following regulations and guidance documents:

Information can also be found on the National Network for Child Employment and Entertainment website.

For further information please contact the Education Welfare Service on 01495 766965.

Last Modified: 05/12/2018
For more information contact:

Education Welfare Service

Tel: 01495 766965

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