Child performance licence

Apply for a licence for a child working in entertainment.

1 When a licence is required

If any child, including those of compulsory school age, is involved in performances (as defined in The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014), they must be licensed by the local authority (according to their home address) and appropriately chaperoned.

Children must be licensed if they:

  • perform on stage
  • perform in a television production, film, commercial or modelling work
  • take part in paid sport

and they:

  • are paid
  • need to be absent from school
  • will perform for more than four days. 

2 Apply for a licence

Performance licence application form (Word, 57KB)

A complete application must include:

  • the application form with every question answered (we do not accept answers, for example, TBA or times within regulations) and signed where applicable by the licensee and parent
  • a completed parent's health questionnaire
  • a letter from the school, where applicable
  • two passport sized photos taken during the previous six months
  • a copy of the child’s birth certificate or a valid passport.

Incomplete application forms will not be processed.

Please note: We require the minimum of ten full working days to process all complete applications.

3 Timescales

Legislation states that applications must be submitted with a minimum of 21 days' notice. However, we aim to process all complete applications received with at least 10 full working days before the first performance. 

Applying within ten working days of the performance

Workload permitting, we may be able to issue a licence within ten full working days for a fee of £35 per licence. These will be reviewed on an individual basis and you will be contacted if the processing of the licence can begin.

Please note: Where a fee is paid, this does not guarantee that the licence will be issued, but the application will be considered. The issuing of the licence remains subject to all legal and safeguarding checks being satisfactorily completed.  

4 Exemption to licence

A child may perform without a licence for up to four days, but only if:

  • it is unpaid
  • no absence from school is required
  • the child has not performed for more than four days in the previous six months

It is good practice to notify us by completing and returning an exemption to licensing form below.

Exemption application form (Word, 381KB)

Please note: we can only accept notification of West Sussex children (as defined by their home address). If you have children in your group that live outside of West Sussex, please contact the relevant authority.

5 Body of Persons Approval (BOPA)

A BOPA can be issued to an organisation, whether professional or amateur, for performances involving children in the West Sussex area. This could be for either a single performance or for a limited period of time as set out in the approval.

The granting of BOPA to an organisation replaces the need to apply for individual licenses from each child’s home local authority during the period of approval, providing the BOPA criteria and conditions continue to be fulfilled.

Who can apply?

The organisation responsible for putting on the performance, and for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the children taking part, must apply. You cannot apply for BOPA if payment is made to the child and/or absence from school is required.

Please complete the application form and contract of agreement together and return to the address on the forms.

Please contact the Child Employment Team for further clarification.

6 Help and advice

For details on how we collect your data, see our pupil entitlement privacy notice.

Last updated:
16 February 2023
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