Children who perform or take part in a paid activity such as modelling or sport may require a licence. Laws exist which are designed to protect children's health, welfare and education, and prevent them from being exploited.

The law applies to all children from birth until completion of compulsory schooling. This is the last Friday in June, during the school year in which the child reaches the age of 16.

Who needs to apply for the licence?

  • Performances - the person responsible for production
  • Modelling - the person who proposes to engage the child
  • Paid Sporting Activity - the person responsible for organising the event

Performances that need a licence

  • Performances at a licensed premises or a registered club
  • If a performance is to be broadcast. This includes performing on stage, TV, filming and modelling
  • If children will be paid
  • If absence from school is required
  • If production directed in any way
  • If it includes working in paid/professional sport

Performances that do not need a licence

A child may perform without a licence for up to four days, but only if:

  • It is unpaid
  • No absence from school is required
  • The child has not performed in the previous six months

Performances arranged by schools, scouts, guides, and youth clubs are exempt from licensing and you do not need to tell us. However, if a child is absent from school for rehearsals or performances, then they must be licensed.

Apply for a child performance licence

  • The application should be sent to us at least 21 days before the performance will take place
  • Applications submitted at short notice are not guaranteed to be authorised in time
  • Scan and email the completed application form to
  • Send the completed form to: Southampton City Council, Children in Employment Officer, 1st Floor, North Block, Civic Centre, Southampton, SO14 7LY
  • For any queries, either email or call 023 8083 3646

Apply for a child performance licence (PDF)

Apply for a child performance licence (Word)