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Children in performance

A child performance licence must be obtained if a child under compulsory school leaving age performs in either:

  • theatre - where a charge is made
  • modelling and sport - where the child or any other person is paid (this is not an admission charge but a 'wage')
  • licensed premises.


A child does not require a performance licence when:

  • the child is required to perform for one day and in the 6 months preceding that performance the child has not exceeded the 3 day unlicensed exemption period (a child can possibly perform for 4 days in a 6 month period without the need for a licence)
  • and they do not require time off school (paid or unpaid)
  • or the performance is under arrangements made with school or a Body of Persons (Body of Persons exemptions can be granted by a local authority or Secretary of State if certain criteria are met)
  • and no payment is made to the child or any other person, except for defraying expenses.

Child performance notification

If a child performance licence is not required we still request that the organiser of the performance/show register all children taking part. This can be done by requesting a Performance Licence Exemption form from the Child Employment Officer at child.employment@telford.gov.uk.


The licence applicant is the person responsible for the production in which the child is to take part. This does not include the proprietor of a drama or dancing school or other person (such as an agent) who provides children for a production but does not themselves present it. The holder of the licence is the person who is responsible for observing the restrictions and conditions subject to which the licence is granted.

Sporting activity or modelling

The licence applicant is the person responsible for the organisation of the sporting event or the person who proposes to engage the child as a model.

Performance licence application form

You can apply for a child performance licence from our website.

The application form should be returned at least 21 days before the start of the first performance.

The licence applicant should complete Part 1 of the application form, it should then be forwarded to the parent so they have the full details of the performance or activity their child is taking part in. The parent should then complete Part 2 and sign where indicated. Following completion by the parent, the applicant will then have full details of the child including any medical details they should be aware of and are, therefore, in a position to satisfy the declaration and sign the application form. The form should then be e-mailed to the Child Employment Officer as a complete document with a jpeg head and shoulders photograph of the child (taken within the last 6 months), a copy of the child's birth certificate and a letter of authorised absence from the child's Headteacher if school absence is necessary to perform. Please note: that applications for both Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council are processed at this address.

The local authority may refuse to issue a licence if the performance is believed to be detrimental to the health, care and/or education of the child (1968 Act Section 39(6). The local authority may require additional information from the applicant before a licence is issued and in some cases the local authority may also revoke previously issued licences (licences which are currently running) if there are concerns about the welfare of the particular child named in the application.


Children must be in the care of either their parent (the child's legal guardian) or an approved chaperone at all times. Please note: grandparents, uncles, childminders etc. are not legal guardians (unless they are recognised as such by the courts) and, therefore, need to be approved in order to be the chaperone. Parents, unless they are approved chaperones, cannot be responsible for children other than their own. Applications will not be considered for people below the age of 21 years. The chaperone licence cost is £25. Please contact the Child Employment Officer for more information and an application form.

Inspections - powers of entry

An authorised officer of the local authority or police officer may under a magistrate's warrant enter any place where there is reasonable cause to believe that employment is taking place or a person is believed to be taking part in a performance or being trained for dangerous performances contrary to the provisions of the Act and make enquiries about that person.

An authorised officer of the local authority or a police officer may also -

Without a warrant, at any time enter any place used as a broadcasting studio or film studio or used for the recording of a performance with a view to its use in a broadcast or in a film intended for public exhibition, and make enquiries about any children taking part in performances.

At any time during the currency of any licence granted under S.37 or relating to training for dangerous performances, enter any premises where the performance or training is authorised to take place, and make enquiries about the person to whom the licence relates.

The licence holder (applicant) must hold individual licences for each child in their care at the place of performance. An inspecting local authority officer will wish to check each child's licence together with their record sheets, which should details things such as: arrival/departure/tutoring and performing times throughout the production for which the licence was issued. Inspectors may also want to talk to the children, matrons, parents and the applicant.


  • Children and Young Persons Act 1933 and 1963.
  • The Children (Performance and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014.

Children Performing Abroad

If children are to perform abroad a licence will be issued by your local Magistrates Court. For further information contact your local Magistrates Court or Bow Street Magistrates Court on 0203 1263010 x 5115.

Visit the NNCEE website for useful information about child employment and child performance.

You may also be interested in the Children in Employment page.

Last updated: 03/05/2022 08:40

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