Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ 1 - From what age do children no longer require a performance licence?

From birth to the statutory school leaving age children will come under Performance Licence legislation. A child ceases to be of compulsory school age on the last Friday of June in the academic year in which they turn 16. Production still have a duty of care for all children until they are 18 years of age. 

FAQ 2 - Does a child performer require tutoring? 

Regulation 13 Education – states among other things, that a licence must not be granted unless the licensing authority is satisfied the child's education will not suffer by taking part in the performance or activities.

Many licensing authorities want to know when they should put tuition in place i.e. what is the trigger point.  Unfortunately the regulations do not state if the child requires absence from school for more than a specified number of days then tuition by a private teacher must be put in place.

The decision must be based on whether the child's will education will suffer by taking part in the performance, on the particular performance in question and on the needs of  the individual child.  There is not a one size fits all.

Section 2 Regulation 13 Education in A Guide to Child Performance Licensing gives a number of examples of when tuition would be appropriate and explains the regulation in detail including the aggregation of hours.

FAQ 3 - Can a child be chaperoned by their grandparents or extended family members?

A child can only be chaperoned by a an approved Chaperone approved by a Local Authority, as per the Performance Regulations, by their parent or carer who has parental responsibility for them, or by their usual teacher. In order for a grandparent, aunt/uncle, step parents who don't have PR, or older siblings to chaperone a child they would need to become an approved chaperone. In order to do this they would need to contact the Local Authority where they live and request an application pack. 

FAQ 4 - Do music hub performances need to be licensed? 


Section 1.3.6 of the Department for Education Advice 2015 makes it clear that section 37(3)(b) of the 1963 Act only applies to 'schools' within the meaning of relevant Education Acts.  This would not include Music Hubs, local authority Music Services, Arts Councils and other third parties, so performances arranged by them cannot be exempt under that section.  A Music Hub must apply for the appropriate licence or exemption.  In the majority of cases this will be a Body of Persons Approval providing they are able to satisfy the criteria.

See Section 8 Performance organised by School Music Hubs/Music Services in A Guide to Child Performance Licensing. 

FAQ 5 - If a child takes part in a festival does it need to be licensed?

If a festival meets any of the criteria specified in section 37(2) of the 1963 Act then it falls under child performance licensing legislation and the organiser must apply for either a licence or appropriate exemption (in the majority of cases this will be a Body of Persons Approval).

See Section 4 Body of Persons Approval p54 Festivals (Dance, Drama, Music, Speech) and 'Competitions' in A Guide to Child Performance Licensing. 

FAQ 6 - Is there any guidance for when a child needs to stay away from home overnight?

Regulation 16 Accommodation states the licensing authority must approve the accommodation where a child will be staying and also give the local authority the power to impose conditions regarding transport, arrangement for meals and any other conditions to ensure the child's welfare.

Section 2 Regulation 16 Accommodation in A Guide to Child Performance Licensing goes into more detail and gives examples of types of accommodation and additional conditions to be considered to ensure the child's welfare. 

FAQ 7 - Can a child perform at night?

A child can perform at night, however as the latest permitted hour for children under 5 years is 10pm and 11pm for those over 5 years the demand for 'night work' should be rare.

A licensing authority does not have to permit 'night work', the regulation states they may permit.  Each request should be viewed on its' merits and whether it is reasonable.

See Section 2 Regulation 28 Night Work in A Guide to Child Performance Licensing.

FAQ 8 - Can a child be absent from school in order to perform? 


However, if a child is required to be absent from school to take part in a performance then a licence will be required.

See Section 7 Absence from School in  A Guide to Child Performance Licensing. 

FAQ 9 - Can a child take part in a dangerous performance?


Section 23 Prohibition against children taking part in performances endangering life or limb of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 states it is an offence for any person (or parent who allows it) to allow a child under school leaving age to take part in a performance in which his life or limbs are endangered.  A performance of a dangerous nature includes all acrobatic performances and all performances as a contortionist.

With the increased incidence of new forms of dance the distinction between dance and acrobatic routines can become blurred.  Licensing authorities should consider each situation on a case by case basis and seek advice from their departments if required.  Further reference should be made to Section 3 The Children and Young Persons Act 1933 section 23 in A Guide to Child Performance Licensing. 

FAQ 10 - Is a licence needed if a child from the UK is travelling abroad to perform?

If the child is travelling abroad to perform for profit then a licence will be required.  The licence will be issued by a justice of the peace from the magistrates' court in the district where the child resides. 

The issuing of licences for children performing abroad for profit does not fall within the remit of local authorities.  See Section 25 Restrictions on children going abroad for the purpose of performing for profit of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.

FAQ 11 - Are licences required when a child from outside the UK comes here to perform? If so, who do I apply to for a licence? 

Yes, a licence is required for a child entering the UK from abroad to perform.  Section 37(1)(b) of the 1963 Act states the licence should be issued by the local authority where licence applicant resides or has his place of business.

If the licence applicant does not reside or have a place of business in Great Britain then best practice should be that the licence is issued by the local authority where the performance is taking place.

See Section 1 The Children and Young Persons Act 1963 section 37(1) in A Guide to Child Performance Licensing.


NNCEE A Guide to Child Performance Licensing August 2020