All children taking part in a performance including TV, film, theatre, concert, modelling or sporting activity may require a performance licence. This licence is issued by the local authority in which the child resides, if the performance takes places within the UK. For any work being undertaken outside of the UK, the licence will be issued by a justice of the peace from the magistrates' court in the district where the child resides.

The purpose of the licence is to ensure the welfare of all children and young people ensuring they are safe, supported and not exploited during any performance. The production company must apply to the local authority on all occasions where a licence is required. 

The local authority is responsible for issuing performance licences and must be satisfied that:

  • the child's education will not suffer;
  • his or her health will not suffer;
  • the place of performance/rehearsal is satisfactory; and
  • the conditions of the licence will be observed.

When is a licence needed:

  • the child receives payment for the performance.
  • the performance requires absence from school, even if the assignment is unpaid.
  • the performance is taking place at a licensed premises or registered club
  • the performance is to be broadcast or recorded by whatever means with a view to its use in a future broadcast or film intended for public exhibition.
  • a licence is not required if the performance is unpaid, no school absence is required, the performance lasts for four days or fewer and the child has not performed within the previous six months.

More Information

  • The age of a child, restrictions the number of hours they can be on set and breaks needed.
  • If schools believe time out will have a negative impact on the child’s progress at school, they are able to decline the request. If schools believe that a child’s education will suffer as a result of taking part in the performance, they must produce a written statement with evidence to this effect.
  • the child must be chaperoned at all times. This may be by the child's own parent or by a registered chaperone hired by the applicant.
  • Night work is considered on a case-by-case basis
  • Section 23 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 states it is an offence for any person to allow a child under school leaving age to take part in a performance endangering life or limb. A performance of a dangerous nature includes all acrobatic performances and all performances as a contortionist. 

How to apply:

We require a minimum of 7 clear working days to process a completed application. If you are submitting a request with less than this time, please be advised it may not be issued.

To apply you will need to complete the application form and attach the following documents:

  • Risk assessment
  • School permission
  • Safeguarding policy
  • Recent photo of child (must not be more than 6 months old)
  • Child’s birth certificate

Body of Persons Approval

A BOPA, if granted removes the need to apply for an individual licence for each child and is granted to the organisation that is responsible for the performance. A BOPA is issued by the local authority where the performance is taking place and covers all children taking part, even if the child does not live within its' boundaries. 

A BOPA can be granted to an organisation for a single performance or for a series of performances within a specified time providing no payment is made to the child or to anyone else in respect of the child taking part in the performance and the child does not require absence from school. The organisation applying will be required to meet certain criteria and will need to be able to demonstrate that they have clear, robust and well embedded safeguarding policies and arrangements in place to protect children.

If you wish to apply for a BOPA or require more information, please contact the Education Welfare Service.


Child performance

Address: Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley BR1 3UH

Education welfare service