Child performance licensing

Children who perform or take part in a paid activity such as modelling or sport may require a child performance licence. Laws exist which are designed to protect children's health, welfare and education. While we want to give children the opportunity to work and gain experience, we have a statutory duty to prevent the work impacting their education and to prevent children 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 turns 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 the production will be 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 sent less than 21 days prior to a performance are unlikely to be processed. It is the duty of the applicant to ensure a timely request is made, including all of the documents required in full
  • Please be aware that it is your responsibility to ensure that you have read and fully understood the statutory requirements for the licence you are applying
  • Failure to comply with the regulations may lead to the licence being revoked and/or prosecution
  • Either scan and email the completed application form to or post it to Southampton City Council, Children in Employment Officer, 1st Floor, North Block, Civic Centre, Southampton, SO14 7LY
  • For any queries please email

Apply for a child performance licence (PDF)

Apply for a child performance licence (Word)