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Children in work, entertainment and chaperones

Children in work, entertainment and chaperones

There is legislation in place to protect children who are of compulsory school age and who work part-time or who are involved in entertainment, sporting activities or modelling.

Children in work / employment

The child employment leaflet explains the type of work and hours that children (who are of compulsory school age) are legally allowed to do. The law states that a child is of compulsory school age up to the last Friday in June in the academic year in which they turn 16. If your child finds a part-time job they will need to apply for a work permit from Cambridgeshire County Council, which must be signed by you as parents / carers, their employer and their school (not required during school holidays).

Children in entertainment

There are regulations covering children working in entertainment (this covers children from birth to end of compulsory school leaving age), which includes restrictions on the working hours / breaks. The performance hours and breaks table shows details of these restrictions.

More information on child employment and entertainment can be found on GOV.UK or by calling Cambridgeshire County Council's Child Employment Team on 01354 750 166.

Performance licence and work permit application forms can be submitted via email to:

A Body of Persons Approval (BOPA)

A Body of Persons Approval (BOPA) allows children to perform in productions without the need to apply for a child performance licence for each child. There must be no school absence or payment to the child.

The BOPA is only issued to a group of responsible adults such as a Youth Theatre, Dance Schools, Amateur Dramatic Societies and in some cases a Professional Company. The BOPA is issued by the Local Authority in which the performance is taking place. Children must always be supervised by their own parent or a licensed chaperone who's allowed to look after a maximum of 12 children. This ratio may be reduced depending on the venue and ages of children.

The licence is for a single production, and must be applied for 21 days before the first day of the performance.


CHILDREN AND YOUNG PERSONS ACT 1963, s. 37 Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014

Details on how to apply to become a licensed chaperone, what this means and a frequently asked questions section is available below. 

Becoming a licensed chaperone

Chaperones look after children who take part in performances or activities such as dancing, theatre, film, television, modelling, or paid sport.

All children who require a performance licence must be always supervised by a licensed chaperone or their own parent/legal guardian.

Grandparents, aunts and uncles, childminders etc are not legal guardians, unless they are recognised as such by the courts and will need to be licensed as a chaperone.

Parents, unless they are a licensed chaperone, cannot be responsible for children other than their own when on a performance licence.

Your duties as a chaperone

A chaperone must show the same care a good parent would and cannot carry out another role at the same time, or have any other responsibilities associated with the performance. The main responsibilities include:

To protect the health, safety, and welfare of the children in your care.

Being aware of health and safety issues on set/stage/backstage.

Making sure the children have sufficient breaks, rest and meals.

Ensuring the conditions of all children's licences are met.

You must stay with the children you are supervising at all times, when they are performing you don’t need to be by their side, but you must always be able to see them.

Applying to be a licensed chaperone or to Renew a Chaperone License

You must be at least 18 years old and live in the Cambridgeshire County Council Local Authority area.

The licence will be valid for 3 years.

New Chaperone Licenses include training which is the ‘NSPCC Protecting Children in Entertainment - eLearning Module’ and a DBS

Information on how to access this training/DBS will be given during the chaperone Licensing process.

We only accept DBS’s if they are linked to the update service.

There are two different chaperone licences that you can apply for:

Voluntary Chaperone licence - Apply for a volunteer licence if you are not receiving payment to work (e.g., if you are a volunteer for a local Dance School/Amateur Theatre).

New Voluntary License - £40 (includes DBS and training)

New Voluntary Licence with DBS on the update service - £25 (includes training)

Renewal Voluntary License - £30 (includes DBS, does not include training)

Renewal Voluntary Licence with DBS on the update service - £15 (does not include training)

Professional chaperone licence

Apply for a professional licence if you are contracted to an organisation and will receive payment.

The cost of a professional licence is:

New Professional Licence - £90 (includes DBS and training)

New Professional Licence with DBS on update service - £35 (includes training)

Renewal Professional Licence - £80 (includes DBS, does not include training)

Renewal Professional with DBS on update service - £25 (does not include training)

If you are now sure which licence you require please email the Child Employment office for guidance before making payment.

Before you begin to complete the application make sure you have the following ready.

Payment Card.

Your 2 referees’ details: full name, address, phone number and email address

You will need to upload the following:

Photo – as a Jpeg passport style, only head & shoulders, plain background, (but you can smile)

ID, we need 3 documents i.e. original birth certificate, Passport or driving licence or any other relevant documents on the list

Your original DBS certificate that is linked to the update service.

If you are using a DBS linked to the update it must meet all the following conditions:

Be an 'Enhanced' Certificate

Child Workforce

Permission to carry out an Update Service check.

Once you have completed the application you will be taken to the payment page.

Once your application has been received you will be contacted by the Child Employment Office to arrange a virtual meeting via teams so they can check your ID and have a quick discussion regarding your role as a chaperone.

Once this has taken place you will be sent a link to complete The NSPCC online training. Note your DBS (if required) will not be processed until this training has been completed.

It can take up to least 8 to 12 weeks to process a chaperone licence – please consider this if you wish to be a licensed chaperone for a specific event.

Approved applications

If you have been approved as a licensed chaperone, we will inform you via email and you will be sent your confirmation, ID badge and booklets by post with 6 weeks.

You must tell us if your circumstances or address changes as this can invalidate your licence.

Further Information can be found in the following document below.

DBS ID Groups check list121KBpdf
Size: 121KBFile format: pdf

Frequently Asked Questions - Chaperones

Only Cambridgeshire County Council residents can apply. You must apply to the local authority where you live and pay your Council Tax.

We do not offer this service.

Your chaperone licence is valid all over the country, you are not bound to the organisation that you are applying to chaperone for.

You can request a replacement badge at a cost of £10. Please email to report lost and

Yes, you will be contacted via email 1 month before your expiry date.

Only if they have parental responsibility for the child or if they are a licensed chaperone.

The child will need a chaperone until they have completed compulsory education (the last Friday in June of year11). But please note that you still have a duty of care for this child until they are 18.

You can speak to someone from our Child Employment Team on 01354 750166 or email

Yes. Section 28 Powers of Entry allow the Local Authority, where the performance takes place, is legally permitted to carry out unannounced inspections whenever they desire.


Child Employment Office
Telephone: 01354 750 166
Post: Young People March, City Road, March, Cambridgeshire, PE15 9LS