Children in entertainment, modelling and paid sport
Children involved in entertainment and performance outside of their school are protected by performance licensing laws. The laws apply from birth to official school leaving date (the last Friday in June of year 11) and to both professional and amateur organisations.
Performance organisers must apply for either a licence for each individual child, a licence exemption, or Body of Persons Approval (BOPA) covering the organisation.
Schools that provide children's main education do not need licences/exemptions for performances.
Types of performance covered by the laws include:
- talent shows
- paid sport
- any performance for which a charge is made
- any performance on licensed premises
Individual child performance licences
When you need a child performance licence
Event organisers need an individual licence for a child where any of the following apply:
- the child will miss school to take part
- the child is being paid
- the child has performed or will perform more than 4 times within 6 months (including performances for other organisers)
- the performance is being filmed or broadcast
Your responsibilities if you hold a child performance licence
Licence holders must make sure all arrangements meet legal requirements. This includes arrangements for education, accommodation and travel.
Children must also have a chaperone.
We can withdraw a licence and event organisers can be prosecuted if they do not comply with the rules.
How to apply for a child performance licence
The person responsible for organising the performance must make the application and make sure the conditions of the licence are met.
Applications must go to the council covering the child's home address.
For children who live in Cheshire East, download our performance licence application form (MS Word, 60KB) and send it to us.
We must get the application at least 21 working days before the first performance date.
The form includes sections for both event organiser and parents/carers. The event organiser should ask the parent/carer to fill in their section and return it to them before sending the complete document to us with the following:
- a copy of the organisation's safeguarding policy (if there is one)
- a copy of the organisation's risk assessment for the performance (if there is one)
- a copy of the child’s birth certificate (do not send the original)
- two printed identical photos (unmounted) of the child taken during the last 6 months or an electronic photo (e.g. a jpeg file) - photos must be a full head shot taken in good light and not be altered or enhanced in any way
- a copy of the contract, draft contract or other documents (where they exist) containing details of the agreement regulating the child’s participation in the performance or activity to which the application relates.
After you apply for a child performance licence
We will issue the licence if we are satisfied that you have appropriate arrangements in place to protect the child's health, welfare and education and that the child's school is happy with the arrangements.
We may set conditions specific to each licence.
If we refuse the licence we will tell you why.
You can appeal to the magistrate's court if you disagree with our reasons to refuse or if you disagree with any conditions we set.
Child performance licence exemptions
Body of Persons Approval
When you can get Body of Persons Approval
When all the following apply, organisations (both professional and amateur) can apply for Body of Persons Approval (BOPA) instead of getting an individual licence for each child:
- the children are not being paid
- the children will not miss school
- the children have not performed for more than 4 days in 6 months (including performances for other organisers)
- the organisation has a safeguarding policy
If any individual child is paid, will miss school, or will perform for more than 4 days in 6 months, the organisation must get a licence for the child.
BOPA can cover either a specific performance or all performances in a year. Where the approval covers a year, you must give us further details about each specific performance.
BOPA - event organiser responsibilities
Event organisers holding Body of Persons Approval must make sure all arrangements meet legal requirements. This includes arrangements for education, accommodation and travel.
Children must also have a chaperone.
If you do not comply with the regulations, we can withdraw approval and you can be prosecuted.
As part of the regulations, you must record the following information and keep the records for 6 months after the end of the performance:
- performance dates
- times each child arrives and leaves the place of performance
- times that the child took part in the performance
- time of each rest and meal break
- details of any injuries or illnesses suffered by a child at the place of performance
- dates of any medical examinations we ask for
- the notification form advising us that the performance is taking place
You must also keep your Body of Persons Approval available for inspection by our team.
How to apply for BOPA and provide performance details
Applications for BOPA must go to the council covering the address where the performance will take place - it does not matter where the children live.
To apply for BOPA for performances taking place in Cheshire East, fill in the relevant sections of our BOPA application form and send to us.
Body of Persons Approval application form (MS Word, 3MB)
There are two parts to the BOPA application - the approval itself, and the details of each performance.
For each performance, you must provide the dates, times and locations of each rehearsal and performance and the following information about each child taking part:
- name, address and date of birth
- school or other education provision
- details of the part to be played
- name and licensing authority of the child's chaperone
If you are applying for BOPA for a single performance you must give this information with the application. Otherwise you must provide this information at least 21 days before each performance.
Where to send forms
Post documents and forms to:Either via email to email@example.com or by post to:Child Employment Team
Delamere House c/o Municipal Buildings
CW1 2BJ To be sure that children's personal information stays secure, when sending via email please send securely.For information about how we handle personal data, see our children in employment and education privacy notice.To be sure that children's personal information stays secure, do not use email.
More information on legal requirements
Child performance regulations are complicated. It is important you understand the requirements relevant to you. For a list of laws and regulations with useful guidance documents, see National Network for Children in Employment and Entertainment - England performance legislation.
Attendance and Children Out of School firstname.lastname@example.org
Attendance and Children Out of School
Floor 5 Delamere House c/o Municipal Buildings
Page last reviewed: 20 June 2022
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