How to Get a Child Performance License

  • Amy Bebbington

Have you ever thought about getting a child licence? Those who are compulsory school age are required to have a licence if they are taking part in films, plays, concerts, public performances, sporting events, broadcast performances and modelling assignments. Therefore, any sector of the entertain industry – modelling included – that is typically organised by a production company. In other words every child needs a licence from birth to the end of their education.

Let us talk you through the details of child performance licensing.


What Age Is School Leaving Age?

The age in which a child leaves school varies depending on where you live. Rules change and therefore it is worthwhile checking how old your son or daughter has to be before they can legally stop their education.

England – if your teen is sixteen by the last Friday in June they can leave school by the end of the summer holidays of that year. Until they are 18, they must either stay in full time education, begin an apprenticeship or spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering whilst in part-time education or training.

Scotland – your child can leave school on the 31st May if they turn 16 between 1st March and 30th September. However, if their sixteenth birthday falls between the 1st October and the end of February you can finish school at the start of the Christmas holidays of that school term.

Wales – your son or daughter can leave school on the last Friday in June, if they have turned 16 by the end of the summer holidays.

Northern Ireland – if your child’s sixteenth birthday falls between the 1st September and the 1st July they can finish school education after the 30th June. However, if you turn 16 between the 2nd July and 31st August you have to stay in school until 30th June the following year.

Who knew it was so confusing!

Where to Get a Child Licence?

You can apply for a licence at your local council if your son or daughter has been offered child employment. You will need one for every role that your child is hired for not just for their first performance, for example. On completion of the application form, the timescale that you will hear back could be anything from 24 hours to two weeks. Therefore, it is important that you send off the licence application in advance. 21 days’ notice is required! Be prepared and get all the paperwork you need together so that you are not rushing. The worst-case scenario would be that you have to turn down the role as you are not a licence holder.


How to Apply for a Child Performance Licence

Here is a checklist of the paperwork that you need for the child performance licence application and who needs to fill in each section. As we mentioned above make sure you prepare all the below information in advance to avoid rushing and stressing about its arrival.

  • Part 1 of the form is for the client to complete.
  • Part 2 is for the parent to complete.
  • The signed self certified medical declaration is for the parent to complete. This claims that your child is fit enough to take part in the performance.
  • You will need a letter from the head teacher at your child’s school to authorise the day off. This is for the parent to organise.
  • Get two passport photographs done.
  • A copy of the child’s birth certificate or passport.

Once every party has filled out their section of the licence application form the paperwork is presented to your local authority. Remember you will only be able to fill out the form once your child has been offered the job as you will have to include the dates that the modelling job will take place. This process needs to be repeated each time as the licence is only valid for one role. However, sometimes it does depend on your local authority as some will offer an open licence for the whole year. With this, the client only has to complete part 1 for each job. For further information please visit


Why Does My Child Need a Licence?

The licence is to protect a child’s welfare and to prevent them from being exploited. Therefore, child protection regulations are put in place and it is the law that you provide these details to prove that the job is legit and your child is not put in any risk under the Children and Young Persons Act 1963 and the Children (Performances) Regulations 2014. As well as the licence the child needs to be accompanied by their parent, guardian, or by a Local Authority registered chaperone.

You will need a licence if:

  • The performance charges for admission or the child is paid directly.
  • It is taking part on licensed premises. For example, a theatre, public house or hotel.
  • Your child is modelling/performing for more than 4 days in any six month period over one or more performances.
  • They will be taking the day off school.

When Do I Not Need a Licence?

There are few scenarios where a licence is not needed. For example, if your child is taking part in a school performance and of course, will not receive payment a licence is not required. However this does not include dance schools so it is best to double check the requirements carefully. If your child is not being paid for the part and is taking no time off school, then there is no need for a licence at all. Therefore, any paid performance will require the official approval. Also, children who are taking part in a school film doing everyday activities such as playing in the park or sat in a lesson are not considered performances. You do not require individual child licences if those organising the performance has a Body of Persons Approval (BOPA) licence granted by the Secretary of State or the Local Authority.


What Factors Are Considered for the Approval of the Licence?

The local authorities will consider a few factors when deciding whether to approve the licence or not. The welfare of the children is their main concern when analysing the complete application form. The supervision and protection of the child are of the utmost importance and that their education is not disrupted too much.

  • Therefore, they will certainly check that your child’s education, health and well-being will not suffer due to the modelling job.
  • It is important that the performance/rehearsal space meets their specifications and is deemed satisfactory.
  • The chaperone arrangements will be checked to see if they are suitable to keep the child safe.
  • Lastly, they feel confident that the conditions of the licence will be adhered to.

Working Abroad

If your child is offered a job overseas, you will still need to obtain a licence however, the process is different. Each applicant will need to contact the magistrates’ court nearest to where they live.

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Posted by Amy Bebbington

I express my love of fashion through writing, blogging and styling. My creative personality ensures that I produce unique and original work. I am a keen knitter and enthusiatic dancer.