Educational welfare services

Child entertainment, employment and chaperones

Performance licences

Individual child performance and activities licence

Children may need to be licensed by their local authority if they:

  • perform on stage
  • perform in television, film or commercial work
  • take part in paid or professional sport
  • work as models

Licences will only be required however, if:

  • the child is paid
  • the child needs to take time away from school
  • the child will perform for more than four days within a period of six months 

When applying for a licence, 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 the performance is during school time)

Apply for an individual child performance and activities licence

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

Body of Persons Approval (BOPA)

A BOPA licence is an agreement that removes the need for an individual 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
  • the performance venue requires or has a premises licence

If you are unsure if your chosen performance venue has a premises licence, ask the director or manager of the building.

This type of licence covers the organisation, not the children involved. If an organisation is approved, it means the local authority thinks they are suitable around children. For example, they will have answered certain questions. They will also have proven that they have clear 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. The BOPA licence will be sent to the lead organiser of the performance. It is also their duty to apply for the licence.

The BOPA licence needs to come from the local authority where the performance is taking place. 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 affect their education or schooling hours. They must also 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 if:

  • they do not have an employment permit issued by the Education Department of the local council
  • the work is in places like a factory or industrial site
  • the work is during school hours
  • the work is before 7.00am or after 7.00pm
  • it it takes place more than one hour before school (unless local bylaws allow it)
  • it is more than 4 hours without taking a break of at least 1 hour
  • it takes place in a pub or betting shop and those prohibited in local bylaws
  • it is any work that may be harmful to their health, well-being or education
  • it prevents the child having a 2 week break. This applies to 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. This is to safeguard, support and promote the well-being of the child while they are taking part in a performance. This includes any rehearsals and activities or while they are 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 this 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 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 us at: 

Alternatively, post completed forms to:

The Child Licence Team
Reuben George
Royston Road

For further information on any of the details above email:

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