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Children in employment and entertainment

A child under the age of 16 will need a performance licence from the council, before they can perform.

Last updated: 9 February 2021

There are a number of different legislations that apply to entertainment performances. They include:

  • Children and Young Persons Act 1933
  • Children and Young Persons Act 1963
  • The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014

The purpose of the licence is to ensure that all children are adequately safeguarded and supported.

General guidance

The licensing officer will consider a number of standards that the licence holder must meet before a licence can be issued.

Where a child will be absent from school to perform, the head or deputy headteacher at the child’s school must consent to the absence and provide a letter to the council. The school is consenting to authorising the child’s absence for the agreed period for which the licence covers. Under the regulations, such absence must be recorded in the school register as authorised using registration code C.

The council will not grant a licence unless they are satisfied that the child's education will not suffer. Where a school declines to consent to a child’s absence, they must be able to prove to the council that the child’s education will suffer as a result of being absent to engage in a performance. The school may demonstrate this by for example, missing homework, slipping grades, inability to catch up on work, missing additional days due to tiredness or unexplained absences etc. If this is the case the officer will refuse the application.

Where a school has raised concerns with the council's school support officer regarding frequency of absence to attend performances and auditions the officer may make contact with the agency or applicant to request that future appointments are offered outside school time.

Any school absence due to an unlicensed performance will be recorded as an unauthorised absence on the child’s attendance record.

A tutor must be supplied, where appropriate, on longer productions. The tutor must be registered with a licensing authority and hold valid Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. It is the responsibility of the licence holder to negotiate educational arrangements and support with the head teacher prior to the licence application.