Child performance and stage licences

Information about child performance licensing and how to apply.

Introduction

Any child taking part in performances such as broadcast performances, child photography and modelling must have a licence issued by Oxfordshire County Council.

The laws which demand this licensing are the Children and Young Persons Acts (1933 and 1963) and the Children (Performance and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014 and are designed to keep children safe.

Backdated licences cannot be issued.

Warning All licence applications must be submitted at least 21 days before the performance to comply with statutory guidance.  Applications received after 21 days cannot be guaranteed.

Key issues covered by the regulations

  • is the child/young person below minimum school leaving age?
  • do they live in Oxfordshire?
  • is there a charge made for admission to the performance?
  • is it performed within licensed premises?
  • is it broadcast on TV?
  • is it intended for filming?
  • is the child/young person fit to take part?
  • has the child's head teacher been consulted if in school time
  • is the activity safe?

Will the child need a licence?

Paid/unpaid work Type of work Absence from school? Length of performance Licence required?
Paid TV or filming Yes Any period of time Yes
Paid TV or filming No Any period of time Yes
Paid Theatre, sporting activity or modelling Yes Any period of time Yes
Paid Theatre, sporting activity or modelling No Any period of time Yes
Unpaid TV or filming Yes Any period of time Yes
Unpaid TV or filming No Any period of time up to and including four days (and not performed within the previous six months) No
Unpaid Theatre, sporting activity or modelling Yes Any period of time up to and including four days (and not performed within the previous six months) Yes
Unpaid Theatre, sporting activity or modelling No Any period of time up to and including four days (and not performed within the previous six months) No
Unpaid TV or filming Yes Five days or more Yes
Unpaid TV or filming No Five days or more Yes
Unpaid Theatre, sporting activity or modelling Yes Five days or more Yes
Unpaid Theatre, sporting activity or modelling No Five days or more Yes

Explanation of terms

Paid performance: Payment to the child for taking part in the performance, whether to the child or to any other person.

Unpaid performance: No payment is made to the child or any other person except for expenses.

Absence from school: Leave of absence may not be given to enable a pupil to undertake employment except in accordance with the licence. Absence from school will not be authorised for an unlicensed performance. Schools retain the right to refuse requests for absence.

No licence is required when:

  • no payment is made to the child and they have not taken part in performances in the previous six months on more than three days
  • no payment is made to the child and the performance is arranged by a school
  • no payment is made to the child and the performance is exempted by the secretary of state, for example, scout gang shows.

Apply online for an unlicensed performance permission

How do I get a licence?

  • allow 21 days to receive your licence
  • send a photograph with your application and make sure it is signed by the parents or guardians
  • licences must be applied for per child, per production.

We must be satisfied that arrangements for the supervision and protection of the child are adequate and that the disruption to the child's education is kept to a minimum.

Apply online for the child performance licence

Body of persons application form

A Body of Persons Application (BOPA) can be issued for an organisation - known as a ‘body of persons’ for these purposes - for a specific performance or, for a limited period of time as set out in the approval, to put on performances involving children.

The granting of a BOPA to an organisation replaces the need to apply for individual licences from each child’s home local authority during the period of approval – as long as the BOPA criteria and conditions continue to be fulfilled.

Who can apply

Any type of organisation can apply. It doesn’t matter if it is a professional company, amateur group, stage or broadcast - as long as no payment (other than expenses) is made for the child to take part.

Apply online for a body of persons licence (BOPA)

Medical certificates

A medical declaration to prove that a child is fit to take part in the performance/activity may be requested by the Local Authority. Any costs incurred with obtaining medical certificates are generally accepted as being met by the body responsible for the production.