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Child Performance Licence FAQs

At what age does a child need a licence?


The legislation requires that all children, from birth until they are no longer of compulsory school age, are licensed by the council for the area in which they live to take part in a performance on stage or in a broadcast. Children remain subject to these regulations until the last Friday in June of the academic year in which they turn 16. The academic year runs from 1 September to 31 August inclusive.

What type of performances need a licence?


Any performance:

  • where a charge is made, whether for admission or otherwise
  • on premises licensed to sell alcohol, for example in a hotel, pub, or theatre
  • where there is absence from school
  • recorded with a view to its use in a broadcast, or film intended for public exhibition, for example a live stage performance recorded for a cinema screening, a feature film, a video, or sound recording of a performance on a website

Any child used as a stand in (understudy) should be licensed in the same way as the other children in the performance.

Licences may be issued for children:

  • employed in paid modelling, photographic, or catwalk work
  • working in paid/professional sport
  • in entertainment performing on stage, or in television in activities such as films or commercials

Rehearsals and warm ups for performances


Rehearsals taking place from the first to the last day of the performance period require a licence, and are subject to the same restrictions and conditions as performances. A child may not take part in performances (including rehearsals) on more than six consecutive days. Any rehearsal on the day of a performance or activity counts towards the permitted hours the child can be at the place of performance or activity. Warm-up time should be taken into account when assessing the amount of time that a child spends in rehearsal.

What type of performances do not need a licence?

  • if a child does not perform on more than four days in any period of six months (providing that there is no absence from school and they are not being paid)
  • a performance that has been put on by the school
  • a performance put on by a body of persons who has been approved by the Secretary of State or the council, providing that:
    • there is no absence from school
    • no payment is being made to the child or any other person
    • the performance is taking place in Middlesbrough
  • any activity which the council does not consider to be a performance, for example children interviewed or filmed while taking part in a normal activity not specifically arranged for the purpose, such as doing ordinary school lessons, playing in the park, or at a youth club.

Why is a licence necessary?


A licence is issued for a child to take part in a performance. The licence states the conditions which much be observed to ensure the child’s safety and wellbeing. No child will be able to be absent from school for a performance without a licence. The law contains no provisions under which absence may be authorised for an unlicensed performance.

Do I need a licence for school performances?


Performances under arrangements made by a school do not require licences. The deciding factor is whether the school is responsible for organising and producing the performance. The school in question has to fall within the meaning of “school” in the relevant Education Acts i.e. an educational institution that provides primary and/or secondary education.

Licences are required where children from a school or a number of schools take part in a performance where arrangements are made by a third party.

All children who attend dance schools, circus schools, conservatoires, drama/theatre groups, and similar organisations may need a licence to take part in a performance.

Can I take my own child to a modelling assignment?


Yes, as a parent/guardian you can be the person responsible for your child during the assignment. You cannot chaperone any other child without a Chaperone Licence. You should stay with your child at all times, even during a photo ‘shoot’.

All children who work as models need a licence. A licence must be issued for each performance or ‘shoot’ as and when it takes place.

What are the maximum days permitted to perform?


A child may not take part in a performance or rehearsal on more than six days in any seven day period. However this is the maximum number of days. The council will consider whether it would be appropriate on an individual basis for a child to perform for this number of days.

What are the permitted hours for all performances?


The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014 state the following regulations in relation to all performances:

Topic Age 0 to 4 Age 5 to 8 Age 9 and over
Maximum number of hours at place of performance or rehearsal (Reg 22) 5 hours 8 hours 9.5 hours
Earliest and latest permitted times at place of performance or rehearsal (Reg 21) 7am to 10pm 7am to 11pm 7am to 11pm
Maximum period of continuous performance or rehearsal (Reg 22) 30 minutes 2.5 hours 2.5 hours
Maximum total hours of performance or rehearsal (Reg 22) 2 hours 3 hours 5 hours
Minimum intervals for meals and rest (Reg 23) Any breaks must be for a minimum of 15 minutes.  If at the place of performances or rehearsal for more than 4 hours, breaks must include at least one 45 minute meal break

If present at the place of performance or rehearsal for more than 4 hours but less than 8 hours, they must have 1 meal break of 45 minutes and at least 1 break of 15 minutes.

If present at the place of performance or rehearsal for 8 hours or more, they must have the breaks stated above plus another break of 15 minutes.

If present at the place of performance or rehearsal for more than 4 hours but less than 8 hours, they must have 1 meal break of 45 minutes and at least 1 break of 15 minutes.

If present at the place of performance or rehearsal for 8 hours or more, they must have the breaks stated above plus another break of 15 minutes.

Education (reg 13) N/A

3 hours per day (maximum of 5 hours per day). 15 hours per week, taught only on school days.

Minimum of 6 hours in a week if aggregating over 4 week or less.

3 hours per day (maximum of 5 hours per day 15 hours per week, taught only on school days.

Minimum of 6 hours in a week if aggregating over 4 week period or less.

Minimum break between performances (Reg 23) 1 hour 30 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes
Maximum consecutive days to take part in performance or rehearsal (Reg 26) 6 days 6 days 6 days

The minimum overnight break for all children is 12 hours. However it is generally expected that most children should normally have an overnight break of no less than 14 hours. Consideration will be given to the time required for the child to travel to and from the place of performance and their home, and whether to place any conditions on the licence to ensure the child has an adequate overnight break.

Regulation 5 allows the licensing authority to further restrict these permitted hours, break etc. and place additional conditions on the licence if this would be in the best interests of the individual child.

What do I need in relation to medical requirements?


In order to ensure that a child is medically fit to take part in a performance, we will require a completed medical declaration from parents with all Child Performance Licence applications. We will ask for further information if we feel it is appropriate to do so.

What do I do about travel arrangements?


The licence holder should make sure that suitable arrangements are made for the child to be returned home, or to another agreed destination, after the last performance or rehearsal on each day. Children should not be allowed to go home unsupervised especially for example, after an evening's performance. A child’s age should be taken into account when making these arrangements. Chaperones must be fully advised of all arrangements made for children in their care.

What happens in relation to performances abroad?


The law in relation to performances abroad is quite prescriptive. When a performance is to take place outside of Great Britain or Northern Ireland a licence is required by a Justice of the Peace sitting at a Magistrate’s Court within the area where the child resides. However most applications are made to the City of Westminster Court. Notice of the intended application must also be given to chief officer of the police for the area in which the child resided at least 7 days before the application is heard. The magistrate shall not grant the licence unless they are satisfied that notice has been properly given.

What happens next?


The application will be submitted to Middlesbrough Council and if approved a licence will be issued. Middlesbrough Council holds information such as:

  • name, address, date of birth and school attended
  • name of person applying for the licence
  • name, place and dates of performance

If approved, the licence is sent to the person whose name is on the front of the form (normally the producer). If the child is performing outside of Middlesbrough, a copy of the licence will also be sent to the council for the area where the performance is taking place.

Although current legislation for the issuing of Child Performance Licence applications requires 21 days’ notice, we may grant a licence if the application is received at least ten working days prior to the performance, if all supporting documents are provided.

The person responsible for the production in which the child is to take part must apply to the council for the area in which the child lives for a Child Performance Licence.

Applications must be submitted at least 21 working days before a performance. All supporting documents must be included.

Can a licence be withdrawn?


Yes, if there are concerns about the welfare of the child. We work closely with producers, chaperones, parents, and schools so that children can maximise their opportunities. A child’s welfare is of paramount importance.

Do visits to a place of performance happen?


We have a duty to inspect places where children are performing to check that they are suitable and that the children are being looked after appropriately. This includes ensuring the children taking part in the performance are happy, fit, and not overworked, inspections of facilities, chaperones supervision, tuition, health and safety, and record keeping. This may involve observation and discussion with children, parents, chaperones, and the production team.

What are the rules about chaperones?


A child performing, rehearsing for a performance during the performance period, taking part in an activity, or staying in accommodation in order to take part in a performance or activity under a licence, must be supervised at all times by a council-approved chaperone, unless they are under the direct supervision of either their parent or a teacher from their school.

Note: grandparents, family members, childminders, etc. are not legal guardians (unless they are recognised as such by the courts) and therefore, need to be approved in order to chaperone a child. Parents (unless they are also licensed chaperones) cannot chaperone children other than their own. The licence holder is responsible for engaging the chaperone. The name of the proposed chaperone and the council which has approved them must be included on the licence application.