Children in entertainment

The legislation requires that a licensing system regulating the participation of any child in a performance is administered by the local authority in which the child lives. 

A child, for the benefit of legislation, is anyone below compulsory school leaving age. A child remains of compulsory school age until the last Friday in June, of the school year in which they reach the age of 16. 

You should apply for a licence for any performance your child is taking part in by downloading and completing the Child Performance Licence application form.

The Legislation:

The above legislation relates to:

  • Children in entertainment (performing on stage, television, film, commercials etc.)
  • Children working in paid/professional sport
  • Children working as models (fashion and photographic)

The Children and Young Persons Act prescribes how the health and safety needs of child performers are met through regulation of the number of hours they rehearse and perform, the activities they can and cannot undertake and the standard of facilities and conditions in which they may work. 


According to regulations, children who take part in performances must be supervised by a responsible adult known as a matron or chaperone. A matron or chaperone may be of either sex, but in the Regulations they are referred to as a ‘matron’. The matron acts in 'loco parentis' and should exercise the care which a good parent might be reasonably expected to give that child.

It is a legal requirement that children engaged in public performances or entertainment under a licence issued by the local authority, must be supervised by a chaperone approved by a local authority, unless they are in the care of either their parent or agreed tutor.

Approved chaperones are essential to ensure that proper provision is made to secure a child’s health, safety and welfare whilst at the place of performance. The local authority consider them to have a very important role. In Poole a Criminal Record Bureau Check (CRB) and references are required before a chaperone is approved.

It is essential that chaperones are properly advised and understand their duties and responsibilities due to the varying nature of their role.

A chaperone’s first duty is to look after the children in their care and must not undertake any activity that would interfere with the performance of these duties.

Chaperones have the responsibility of care for children in entertainment and the nature of a matron’s role is that s/he is in a position of trust regarding those children. Abuse of a position of trust in respect of young persons under the age of 18 is considered an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

The regulations are designed wholly to protect the child’s welfare and to prevent a child being exploited. Chaperones must familiarise themselves with these restrictions, especially where they have specific relevance to their role.

The law states that the maximum number of children an individual chaperone may supervise is 12. However, the local authority may consider that due to the ages, gender of the children, or a combination of both, that the chaperone would only be able to effectively supervise a smaller number.

Chaperones must remain with the children all of the time. It is only when they are on stage or performing that chaperones are not required to be by their side.

The chaperone’s sole concern must be to protect the health, safety, moral welfare and education, whilst ensuring the kind treatment, of each and every child in their care. Chaperones have the power to withdraw a child from a performance if they have good reason and should have the confidence to do so when it is in the interest of the child.

The chaperone must keep daily records of the children at the place of performance. There should be emergency contact numbers available.

Any significant incident or accident must be fully recorded. Parent and the local authority must be informed at the earliest opportunity. The records must be available for examination on request.

Qualified first-aiders should be on hand in all entertainment establishments. Chaperones should establish where the first-aid kit and accident book are located.

The chaperone should become familiar with the procedures for evacuating the building in case of fire and the escape routes from whatever rooms the children are using.

A chaperone is required to ensure that suitable travel arrangements are in place for each child under their control. They are also required to ensure that the person previously agreed collects the child.

The local authority are empowered to enter any premises where a performance or entertainment is being performed by children, without prior notice, to establish that the children are being properly supervised and cared for. They have the authority to withdraw the children from the performance, to rescind the chaperone’s approval, or both.

Page last updated: 23 June 2020
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