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Child performance

For compulsory school age children and younger (Children reaching 16 years of age between 1 September and 31 August remain of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June).

Bedford Borough Council is responsible for licensing children who take part in TV/theatre/radio, modelling and paid sporting activities in accordance with 'The Children and Young Person's Act 1933 and 1963' and The Children (Performances and Activities)(England) Regulations 2014. 

A licence for children taking part in Performances is issued to the Applicant, the Applicant being: "the person responsible for the production of the performance in which the child is to take part" (production/theatre company), for the specified performance and for the duration of the specified performance.

If a child requires time off school to take part in a performance Bedford Borough Council will only issue a licence if the absence has been agreed by the Headteacher.

Headteachers may agree to a child being absent from school under Regulation 7.(1)(2)(a)/(b) of The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Regulations) 2006.  This is not affected by recent changes to legislation preventing headteacher's authorising leave of absence for family holidays.

Child Performance Licence applications

Applications should be fully completed and are submitted with the required supporting documents at least 21 days prior to the start of your performance or before the first day that absence from school is required; failure to do so may result in your application not being processed. Authorisation for any absence from the school must be included. 

A complete application must include:

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Chaperone information
  • Birth certificate
  • Parental Health Declaration (the local Authority may request a GP medical certificate if they feel the child’s health may be affected by the performance)
  • School letter giving permission to be absent
  • 2 Passport size photographs

Notification alone will not constitute an application within the deadline. It should be noted that chasing up of incomplete or missing paperwork is the responsibility of the Applicant/Agent and needs to be completed within the deadlines described above. Applications received with less than the due notice may not be processed.

Children who have reached the end of their statutory education do not need a Child Performance Licence. This is not affected by the raising of the participation age to 17/18. 

A licence may not necessary if:

  • Children are performing in a school production are (ie child's main educational establishment)
  • A license is not necessary if the 4 day rule exemption is applied – please contact the LA if using this rule as the LA requires details of the performance and children involved at least 21 days prior to the performance.
  • Licences for a child working abroad should be applied for from a local magistrate court

Body of Persons approval

Find out more information on Body of Persons approval.


If a parent does not accompany a child, the production company is required to supply a chaperone that is currently licensed by the Local Authority in which he/she lives.

Chaperone licences are obtained from the Local Authority. A Disclosure Check from the Barring and Vetting Service (DBS), references and a social care check are required.


The Local Authority may include a condition in the licence that sums earned by the child are dealt in a particular way.


The Local Authority has the legal right to inspect the arrangements made for the child at the place of performance.


The Local Authority has the right to refuse or withdraw a licence.

For more information please contact the Child Employment Officer

By post at:
Bedford Borough Council
Borough Hall
Cauldwell Street
Bedford Borough Council
MK42 9AP

Download the Child Performance Application Form (PDF)

More information relating to Restrictions on Performance (PDF)

More information on Child Performance (PDF)