Children in entertainment

If a child of school age or below is involved in performances, they must be licensed and properly chaperoned.

Read the GOV.UK guidance on child performance and activities: licensing legislation

If you have any questions or need advice on child employment email childemploymentandentertainment@kent.gov.uk

Find out more about child employment.

A licence is required if a performance meets the following criteria:

  • it takes place on licensed premises
  • is broadcast, filmed or recorded for public exhibition
  • a charge is made (even if there is no admission charge).

A licence is also required if the child:

  • performs for more than 3 days in 6 months
  • is being paid
  • requires time off from school.

It is illegal for the the child to perform without a licence.

Performances arranged by schools that take place in the school do not need to be licensed. This does not include dance schools.

Read about new regulations for children in entertainment.

Children should not take part in performances or rehearsals:

  • on more than 6 consecutive days
  • for more than 8 consecutive weeks without an interval of 2 weeks
  • more than once a day if attending school that day
  • without an interval of 1 hour 30 minutes between 2 performances on the same day
  • without an interval of 12 hours between the end of an evening performance and the start of the following day.

Times and hours for children aged 9+

The child must not be at the premises:

  • for more than 9 hours 30 minutes in 1 day (including tuition)
  • before 7am at the earliest
  • after 11pm at the latest.

While the child is at the performance premises they:

  • can perform for a maximum of 2 hours 30 minutes at a time and 5 hours in total
  • must have at least 2 breaks (45 minutes for a meal and 15 minutes for a break) if they are at the premises for 4 hours or more
  • must have at least 3 breaks (45 minutes for a meal and 2 15 minute breaks) if they are at the premises for 8 hours or more.

Times and hours for children aged 5 - 9

The child must not be at the premises:

  • for more than 8 hours in 1 day (including tuition)
  • before 7am at the earliest
  • after 11pm at the latest.

While the child is at the performance premises they:

  • can perform for a maximum of 2 hours 30 minutes at a time and 3 hours in total
  • must have at least 2 breaks (45 minutes for a meal and 15 minutes for a break) if they are at the premises for more than 4 hours.
  • must have at least 3 breaks (45 minutes for a meal and 2 15 minute breaks) if they are at the premises for 8 hours or more.

Times and hours for children under 5

The child must not be at the premises:

  • for more than 5 hours in 1 day (including tuition)
  • before 7am at the earliest
  • after 10pm at the latest.

While the child is at the performance premises they:

  • can perform for a maximum of 30 minutes at a time and 2 hours in total
  • must have at least 2 breaks (1 hour for a meal and 15 minutes for a break) if they are at the premises for more than 4 hours.

The person responsible for the production needs to apply 21 days before the first performance however workload permitting, we may be able to issue a licence within 5 working days. Please contact the child employment office on 03000 420 883, to ask if this is possible before submitting your application.

You will need to complete a separate application for each child.

You need to complete the child performance licence application form (DOC, 152.0 KB) and upload it using the online performance licence form.

For each application, the following is required:

  • proof of date of birth - a copy of the birth certificate or passport is needed
  • a digital photograph (head and shoulders only)
  • a letter from the school authorising the absence if required.

This function is only suitable for single licence applications. For more than one application, please email the licence applications to: Childemploymentandentertainment@kent.gov.uk

Read about new regulations for children in entertainment

This is known as Body of Persons Approval.

It allows groups and organisations to have an overall licence for their performance. This means you don't need a licence for each individual child.

All performances must comply with the law.

You must apply at least 21 days before the first performance. However workload permitting, we may be able to issue a licence within 5 working days. Please contact the child employment office on 03000 420 883, to ask if this is possible before submitting your application.

The criteria for a Body of Persons Approval are:

  • the organisation must have complied with licensing and performance regulations for 3 years or held 3 consecutive performances including children
  • all performances and rehearsals must take place in the area covered by Kent County Council
  • performances and rehearsals must take place outside of school hours
  • no one should receive payment for taking part in the performance
  • the organisation must have a child safeguarding policy.

You will need to complete a Body of Persons Approval application by following the procedure below:

A Body of Persons approval can still be approved even if some of the children do not meet the criteria. For those children who do not meet the criteria, you will need to apply for individual licences.

1. Body of Persons approval application (DOC, 50.0 KB),

2. Contract of Agreement form   (PDF, 120.4 KB)

3. Online Body of Persons application

4. Notification of performances form (DOC, 139.5 KB)

5. Body of Persons notification form.

Please note points 4 and 5 can be completed and submitted at a later date if the details needed for these forms has not yet been confirmed.

If you already have a valid Body of Persons Approval, you will need to notify us of any additional performances you are taking part in within the Kent area. In order to do this you will need to complete steps 4 and 5.

All children taking part in a licensed performance must be supervised by a registered chaperone or their parent /guardian.

A chaperone can look after up to 12 children at one time and should give the same care a parent would give.

They are responsible for:

  • ensuring the child has enough breaks and meals
  • taking action if the child is ill, upset or tired
  • considering health and safety issues
  • safeguarding issues.

You should apply at least 6 weeks before you need the licence.

You will need a Disclosure and Barring Service Check as part of the application process, and will need to provide names and contact details of 2 references to support your application.

Apply

Applications for chaperone training are now online; please do not contact the team directly to book.

How to book

  • Find an appropriate course on our training date list (PDF, 99.2 KB)
  • Once you have chosen your course, set up your CPD online user account following the guidance notes (PDF, 391.4 KB) provided. The notes clearly outline the information you need to provide as part of your booking. If you fail to provide this information, your place may be withdrawn
  • On the day your course is open for bookings, log into CPD online and book. Please be advised due to high volume of applicants, book soon after 8:30am.

After booking

  • You will receive an email either confirming your place or informing you your chosen course is full.
  • If your booking is successful, it will trigger your DBS request.
  • Your confirmation email will also contain a link to the Chaperone Licence Application form to complete. This requires you to provide contact details for your 2 references. Your licence will not be issued if references are not received. References need to be from someone who has known you longer than 2 years and is of no relation to you in any way.
  • You must bring your DBS ID check documents along to training for verification.
  • If your chosen course is full please refer to the training dates list (PDF, 99.2 KB) to identify an alternative date. An alert will also be sent to the Child Employment and Entertainment team informing them that you have tried to book onto a full course for their records.