Licence - child employment and performance

Child employment - employment card/work permit

UK legislation states that children under the age of 13 are not permitted to be employed in any capacity by any person, including their parents/relatives.

Legislation and local Bracknell Forest bylaws restrict the type of work and the number of hours that children aged 13 and over may be employed. The employer must obtain a young persons employment card/work permit. The restrictions and the need for a permit apply until a young person reaches the end of compulsory school age.

A young person is of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June in the school year in which they reach the age of 16. This has not changed following the introduction of the participation age, which requires young people to remain in education, training or employment until they reach 18.

Permits are issued by the Local Authority in which the employment is to take place, which may differ from the authority in which the child lives. To apply for a permit to employ a young person in Bracknell Forest an PDF file downloadapplication form for employment of children (PDF, 124kb) should be completed and submitted to the Child Employment Officer within the first week of employment.

Further information on child employment can be found in our PDF file downloadguide to child employment (PDF, 123kb) and on the National Network for Children in Employment & Entertainment website.

Child entertainment - performance licence

Legislation exists to protect children of compulsory school age or below working in the entertainment industry. This includes children who perform on stage or in television, film, or radio productions, commercials or paid modelling assignments or paid sporting activities.

A child is of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June in the school year in which they reach the age of 16. This has not changed following the introduction of the participation age, which requires young people to remain in education, training or employment until they reach 18.

A child performance licence, issued by the child’s home Local Authority, is required for a child to take part in a performance. The child must be properly chaperoned either by their parent or an approved chaperone registered with a Local Authority.

A child is exempt from licensing and therefore does NOT require a licence if:

  • they will not have performed on more than 4 days in any 6 month period (a licence is required to cover the 5th day of performing onwards); and do not require any time off school; nor will they (or anybody on their behalf) receive any payment or reward as a result of their performing
  • they perform in their school’s production e.g. their main education provider’s production not their dance school

Productions are expected to gain proof of exemption from licensing from a child’s home Local Authority.

To apply for a child performance licence the PDF file downloadchild performance licence application form (PDF, 108kb) must be completed and signed by both the parent and applicant and sent together with the following documents:

  • a recent passport sized or electronic photograph of the child (front facing, head shot with a plain background)
  • a copy of the child's birth certificate or valid passport
  • a letter from the child's school giving permission for the child to be absent from school to perform, if applicable

The council are willing to consider issuing a Body of Persons Approval (BOPA) exemption to amateur productions taking place within the Bracknell Forest area, as an alternative to individual licensing and exemptions, so long as no child will require absence from school to participate.

 A Bracknell Forest BOPA is issued per performance under condition the production conforms fully to the child performance legislation, with the exception of the need to acquire individual performance licences. It covers all children taking part regardless of where they live. Further information on a Bracknell Forest BOPA can be found in our PDF file downloadBOPA guidance for applicants (PDF, 63kb).

Before issuing either a performance licence or BOPA exemption, we must be satisfied the arrangements for the supervision and safeguarding of the child(ren) are appropriate. They must conform to both legislation and safeguarding best practices and that the disruption to a child's education is kept to a minimum.

Legislation states a licensing authority can request applications be submitted with 21 days notice before the first performance or activity for which the licence is requested. However every effort is made to process applications well within this timescale. Incomplete applications or applications received with less than 5 working days notice may be declined. Chasing of incomplete details or missing paperwork is the responsibility of the applicant/agent.

Guidance on the current child performance regulations can be found in PDF file downloada guide to child performance licensing (PDF, 1966kb).

Further information on children in entertainment can be found on the National Network for Children in Employment & Entertainment website.

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