Educational welfare services

Child entertainment, employment and chaperones

Performance licences

It is a legal requirement to apply for a licence and anyone who asks any child to do anything in contravention of the licensing requirement will have committed an offence and may be subject to a fine, imprisonment or both.

Individual child performance and activities licence

Children who perform on stage, in television, film or commercial work, who take part in paid or professional sport or who work as models, need to be licensed by their local authority for such performances if:

  • they are paid
  • they require absence from school
  • they will perform for more than four days within a period of six months 

The application must include the following:

  • A signed Part 1 and Part 2 of the application (medical declaration included in Part 2)
  • A clear photo of the child 
  • A copy of the child’s birth certificate and/or passport
  • A school permission letter (if performance is during school time)

Apply for an individual child performance and activities licence

To apply for a child performance and activities licence, please download and complete the form below:

Body of Persons Approval (BOPA)

A BOPA licence is a required contract agreement which removes the need for an individual to apply for a performance licence. A performance can only be classed as a BOPA if no payment is given or received on behalf of the child’s performance(s), the child is not missing education and the performance venue requires or has a premises licence. If you are unsure if your chosen performance venue has a premises licence, please ask the director or manager of the building.

This type of licence authorises the organisation responsible for the performance, not the children involved. If an organisation is approved it means the Local Authority deems them to be suitable around children. For example, they will have met a certain criteria and demonstrated that they have clear and precise safeguarding policies in place to protect the children involved.

BOPA’s are normally issued to amateur dramatic societies and groups, dance schools or choirs. They can be issued for a single performance or for a series of performances within an indicated time. The BOPA licence will be sent to the lead organiser of the performance and it is also their duty to apply for the licence.

The BOPA licence needs to be requested from the Local Authority the performance is taking place in. If you are unsure, check by using the Find Your Local Council website

The Local Authority can approve the licence even if the children involved do not live within its boundaries.

Apply for a BOPA licence

To apply for a BOPA licence, download and complete the following form:

If you require more information about the BOPA licence, read A Guide to Child Entertainment and Chaperones (PDF), or visit the National Network for Children in Employment and Entertainement website.

Employment of young people

Work permits are required for young people who carry out work outside of school hours. It is illegal to employ a child without a work permit. If a child is employed, it cannot interfere with their education or coincide with their schooling hours and they must be over the age of 13.

Work permits only need to be applied for once the child has had an offer of employment. 

Children are not allowed to work:

  • without an employment permit issued by the education department of the local council, if this is required by local bylaws
  • in places like a factory or industrial site
  • during school hours
  • before 7.00am or after 7.00pm
  • for more than one hour before school (unless local bylaws allow it)
  • for more than 4 hours without taking a break of at least 1 hour
  • in most jobs in pubs and betting shops and those prohibited in local bylaws
  • in any work that may be harmful to their health, well-being or education
  • without having a 2 week break from any work during the school holidays in each calendar year

Swindon byelaws on employment of young people

An application form must be completed by the employer, the child’s parent or carer and the child’s school (unless home educated).

The application must include the following:

  • A clear photo of the child
  • Parent or guardian signature
  • School’s approval and signature
  • Full contact details including an email address (where possible)
  • Days and hours the child will be working

Apply for a work permit

To apply for a work permit, download and complete the following form:

For more details on what children can and can’t do, read the Swindon Byelaws on the Employment of Children of Compulsory School Age (PDF)


If you need to assist a child at a performance and you are not the legal guardian, you must apply to be a chaperone.

The Local Authority must approve a chaperone to have care and control of a child and to safeguard, support and promote the well-being of the child while they are taking part in a performance, rehearsal, activity or living away from home during the period of the licence.

This does not apply if the child is being cared for by a parent or teacher who would ordinarily provide the child's education. The maximum number of children a licenced chaperone can care for is 12.

You can apply to become a chaperone from the age of 16, subject to a DBS check.

Apply for a chaperone licence

To apply for a chaperone licence, download and complete the following form:

Further details are available in the Chaperone Guidelines (PDF)

Required notice for all licence applications

We require 21 days’ notice to complete all licences and work permits with the exception of chaperones, in which case we require a minimum of 60 working days’ notice. If you are unable to give us enough notice, we may be able to issue your desired licence or permit in time if you contact us by email below. Applications received with less than 21 days’ notice may be refused.

It is important to note that we need to be in receipt of ALL paperwork in order to begin processing licences and permits. It is the agency or applicant’s responsibility to provide us with this information.

Email all completed forms to: or post to:
The Child Licence Team
Reuben George
Royston Road

If you have any questions or need further information, please contact our business support team.

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