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Children in entertainment (Performance Licences)

Many children enjoy taking part in performances and their parents enjoy supporting them.

However, there are laws which exist to protect such children to ensure that their experience is enjoyable, safe and rewarding.

We issue Child Performance Licenses to offer such protection once certain conditions are satisfactorily met.

In order to issue a licence for a child to take part in any performance, we must be assured that:

  • the child's education, health and wellbeing will not suffer;

  • the place and conditions of the performance are satisfactory;

  • the Head Teacher of the child's school gives consent if a child will miss any school;

  • the conditions of the licensing regulations are observed.


When a Child Performance Licence is required

  • 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.

  • When a charge is made in connection with the performance. This applies whether the performers are paid or not.

  • When the performance takes place at licensed premises or a registered club.

  • When the performance is recorded to be broadcast or exhibited (for example on TV, radio, film, internet etc.)


When a Child Performance Licence is not required

  • For school performances (not including dance schools: a licence is required for performances in dance schools).

  • For certain amateur groups (a Body of Persons) where a whole group licence is sufficient and no payment is made to the child.

  • For an activity that we do not consider is a performance.

  • If the child is required to perform for one day and, in the 6 months preceding that performance, the child has not exceeded the 3 day unlicensed exemption period and they do not require time off school (paid or unpaid).


Types of licence

Standard Licence

This is required for performances which run on specific days with a specific production company.

Body of Persons approval (BOPA)

A BOPA can be issued by us for a specific performance or a limited period of time from us for performances taking place in Sheffield. It means that you don't have to apply for individual licenses from each child's local authority.

The organisation putting on the performance should apply for the BOPA. Any organisation can apply as long as no payment (other than expenses) is made for the child to take part.

Unlicensed authorisation

Granted where a licence is not required but we have been notified of the performance.

Children performing abroad

Any child aged 14 or over (up until compulsory school leaving age) must have a license to go abroad for the purpose of:

  • singing
  • playing (a musical instrument)
  • performing or being exhibited for profit (including any broadcast performance)
  • taking part in a sport
  • working as a model (where payment is made to the child other than expenses for taking part in the activity)

The DFE advice on Child Performance Regulations 2014 came into force on 6 February 2015 and provides further information.


Application forms

A number of forms are available to download below for the various types of licence. Also included is the Headteacher Permission form, which you may need to complete if the performance is during school time. Please use the DFE guidance and the checklist to make sure you submit everything required.


Contact us

You can contact us with any questions or to submit your application for a licence.

Email: Childpermits&

Telephone 0114 2037442
Fax: 0114 2053524

Prevention and Early Intervention
Sheffield City Council
Children, Young People and Families (CYPF)
Floor 7
North Wing
Moorfoot Building
S1 4PL


National Network for Child Employment & Entertainment (NNCEE)

The NNCEE is an online resource for children, their parents/carers, employers, entertainment organisations and chaperones. It provides news, updated and resources which may be useful.

  • Modified: Jul 26, 2016 10:31:01 AM