Children in entertainment (stage, film, television, radio, modelling, and sport) need to have a licence to take part in the performance or activity. Such children must be supervised at all times, either by their parent or guardian or by an approved chaperone. 

We issue Child Performance Licences and Chaperone Licences to protect children in entertainment and make sure that their experience is enjoyable, safe and rewarding.

Child Performance Licences

There are laws which regulate children in entertainment. When a performance involves children these laws require an application to be made to the Local Authority for all children up to the end of their compulsory education. This is defined as the last Friday in June in the academic year in which they turn 16.

The licensing system is designed to provide a check that those responsible for using children in performances, paid sport and modelling, make suitable arrangements to safeguard them. Licensing applies to both professional and amateur performances but it does not apply to school performances. Licences are issued free of charge.

If you are unsure whether you need to apply or which type of licence to apply for, please contact us to discuss your performance.


Applications should be submitted 21 days before the first day of the performance. Any applications submitted with only 5 working days, or less, prior to the performance may be refused if the necessary checks cannot be completed in time.

If school absence is required for the performance then please request that the headteacher of the child’s school completes the form called headteacher’s permission.

Standard Licence

A Standard Licence is for performances which run on specific days with a specific production company. It is required if there is a payment being made for the child’s involvement in a performance or if the child will be absent from school for the performance.

Children performing abroad

If a child is going to perform abroad, a licence cannot be granted by the Local Authority. An application for a licence must be made to the Magistrates Court where the child lives.

Body of Persons Approval 

A Body of Persons Approval (BOPA) is an approval given by the local authority where a performance is taking place to a group (a ‘Body of Persons’).  This means that they do not have to have standard licences for each child in a performance. 

In order to be granted a BOPA, a group must demonstrate that they have clear, robust and well embedded safeguarding policies and arrangements in place that  protect the children. 

The performance has to also meet the following criteria:

  • no payment is being made for the child’s involvement in the performance
  • there will be no absence from school

The organisation responsible for putting on the performance and for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the children taking part, must apply for the approval. They can be any type of organisation; it does not matter if they are a professional company, amateur group, stage or broadcasting company.


An exemption from licensing can be granted if:

  • no payment is being made for the child’s involvement in the performance
  • there will be no absence from school
  • the child has not performed on more than 4 days in the previous 6 months


We may make inspections at places of entertainment in Sheffield. These inspections are normally done by the Child Employment and Entertainment Team or Sheffield Safeguarding Team. Inspections could also include a Fire Officer or Health and Safety Inspector or a Police Officer. The inspectors will make themselves known on arrival and provide proper identity cards.


A parent or legal guardian can act as chaperone for their own children only. Anyone else acting in the role of a chaperone must have a chaperone licence. A chaperone acts on behalf of the parents. Their primary duty is the welfare of the child or children in their care. 

Chaperones are there to:

  • protect children
  • secure the health and comfort of the child
  • mediate between the child, the licence holder and the licensing authority
  • advocate on behalf of the child
  • ensure the performance licence conditions and laws are upheld

Applying to be a Chaperone

To become a Licensed Chaperone you will need to fill out our application form and complete the following requirements, please be aware this process can take up to 6 weeks to complete:

  • submit an application including two passport style photographs
  • provide two references. One should be your present or previous employer
  • complete our online chaperone training module
  • attend a short informal interview with our team
  • undergo a DBS check, even if you already have a check for your current job role