Child performance licences


Festivals now come under child performance legislation.

Any child of school age or below involved in a performance must be licensed and have a chaperone if they:

  • have to miss school
  • receive payment, or
  • perform more than three days in any six month period.

Performances arranged by an ordinary school (not a dance school) don’t need a performance licence.

Rules apply on when and for how long children can perform. Child employment restrictions also apply.

Applying for a licence

The person responsible for the production must apply 21 days before the first performance. Download and complete part 1 of the child performance licence application.

They then give it to the parent or carer to complete and sign part 2 and return it to the Child Employment officer with:

  • a copy of the child’s birth certificate
  • two identical unmounted passport size photographs of the child, taken within the last 6 months
  • a letter from the child’s headteacher, agreeing the child can attend the performance in school time
  • a declaration under section 38(1)(a) or (b) of the Children and Young Person Act 1963 stating that only a child can play the part
  • a copy of the child’s work contract, agreeing to regulate the child’s appearance in the performance
  • a copy of the licence held by the child’s chaperone

Child modelling

If a child is likely to be employed at short notice, the parent should download and complete Part 2 of the child performance licence application form. Send it to the Child Employment Officer, with the proof documents.

They keep this application for six months from the date of receipt.

If a child is employed during this time then the employer must fill in and return Part 1 to the Child Employment Officer as soon as the child starts work.

Child employment guidelines, for employers and young people

Child performance legislation and licences

What records need to be kept

The Child Employment Officer may ask to see the licence at any time. The licence holder must keep records on:

  • the nature and dates of the performances
  • the time of the child’s arrival and departure
  • the time of each meal or break
  • the child’s education arrangements
  • details of injuries or illnesses suffered at the place of performance
  • medical certificates from the doctor, stating the child’s fitness to perform
  • all money earned by the child and who it’s paid to.

Criteria for granting child performance licences

The Child Employment Officer will look at the following:


The child’s education must not suffer because of the performances. It’s the licence holder’s job to make arrangements with the child’s headteacher.

Children in long-running performances can have private tuition. The council must approve the tutor and classroom. Class sizes are limited to a maximum of 6 pupils of mixed age or ability. This rises to 12 if children are a similar age and standard.


A child isn’t allowed to perform if they’re unwell or at risk of becoming unwell. They need a medical certificate from their doctor to be involved in a performance that is:

  • longer than three weeks or
  • going to be broadcast.

If the performance is an amateur, one-off production, the parent/carer needs to complete a medical questionnaire. The producer should send it with the other documents.

The Child Employment Officer can ask for a child’s medical report before, during or after a performance.

Contact us

Child Employment Officer
St Marks House
14 Upperton Road
East Sussex BN21 1EP
See a map of this address

01273 481967
Email Child Employment Team