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Children in employment and entertainment

Child employment

Minimum age

The minimum age for employment is 13 years of age.

Work children can do

These are some examples of the types of work children of school age can be employed to do:

  • Work in shops including on tills
  • Shelf stacking
  • Delivering newspapers, journals and leaflets
  • Office work
  • Serving at a table in a café or restaurant
  • Car washing by hand
  • Light agricultural/horticultural work
  • Working in a riding stable
  • Shampooing/sweeping up in a hairdressers
  • Working in hotels
  • Jobs in entertainment

This is not a complete list.

Work children cannot do

These are some examples of work children of school age cannot be employed to do:

  • Work in any commercial kitchen such as a café, pub, hotel, restaurant or fish and chip shop
  • Serve alcoholic drinks in pubs, clubs or restaurants
  • Work in cinemas, discos, nightclubs or theatres
  • Work in a factory or industrial undertaking
  • Work in a fairground, amusement park or where gambling takes place
  • Work in milk delivery or butchers shops
  • Telephone sales
  • Serve petrol/fuel/oil, or handle any dangerous biological or chemical substances
  • Collect money, selling or canvassing door to door or in street trading
  • Lift heavy objects

This is not a complete list.

Hours and breaks

No child may start work before 7am or finish later than 7pm. When aged between 13 years and their school leaving date a child may work:

During term time:

  • They must not work more than a total of two hours on any school day.
  • Either up to one hour between 7am and the start of school and one hour between the end of school and 7pm, or up to two hours between the end of school and 7pm.
  • The maximum allowable working hours per week during term time is 12 hours, this includes hours worked on a Saturday and Sunday.

During school holidays:

  • Children aged 13 or 14 years old can work for a total of five hours daily to a maximum of 25 hours weekly, this includes hours worked on a Saturday and Sunday
  • Children aged 15 years and over can work for a total of eight hours daily to a maximum of 35 hours weekly, this includes hours worked on a Saturday and Sunday

Weekend employment:

All Saturday employment (both term time and school holiday) is restricted to:

  • Children aged 13 or 14 years old can work for up to a total of five hours on Saturday
  • Children aged 15 years and over can work for a total of eight hours on Saturday

All Sunday employment (both term time and school holiday) is restricted to a maximum of two hours.


A child who works for four hours in any one session must have a break of one hour.

A child must have at least 2 consecutive weeks without employment in each year

Working during school hours

Children may not work during school hours.  Employment should not impede the child's education.

Apply for a work permit

All children who are of statutory school age who work must by law have a work permit.

You can apply for a work permit by completing an application form.

Download the child employment permit application form (Word doc) [48KB]

Once completed please email to

Responsibilities of the employer

Employers are responsible for ensuring that each child:

  • Carries a work permit
  • Works only the hours stated on the work permit
  • Carries out only the employment stated on the work permit
  • Has adequate and appropriate clothing for the work to be undertaken
  • Is in a good state of health for the work they are undertaking

The employer is also responsible for carrying out a risk assessment.

Work experience

Work experience is a part of the education curriculum and is governed by education legislature which is very different from child employment legislation, both in the work a child is allowed to do and the hours they are permitted to work.

Useful resources

Additional resources on child employment:



Performance licencing

What is a performance licence?

Children who are of school age may require a licence to perform in entertainment. This includes amateur dramatic groups, dance schools, orchestras, choirs and singing groups.

The person responsible for the production of the performance needs to make an application to the Local Authority where the child lives for a performance licence.


How long a licence lasts

Performance: a licence is issued for the duration of the specified performance (which must not exceed six months).

Modelling: In certain circumstances it is possible for the Local Authority (LA) to issue a six-month extended licence to cover such activities as modelling.


All children must be always under the care and supervision of a responsible adult. This can be their parent or a registered Chaperone. Please see further information about this in the Chaperone Licencing section of this webpage.

Before applying for a performance licence or exemption

We (the local authority) will only grant a performance licence if we are satisfied that:

  • The child is fit to undertake the performance
  • Proper provision has been made to the secure the health and kind treatment of the child
  • The child's education will not suffer
  • Robust safeguarding and supervision arrangements are in place

If we decide to grant a licence, we may impose conditions that will be specified on the licence.

Child performance and activities licensing legislation in England (opens new window) "a local authority may refuse to consider an application if the performance or activity is less than 21 days away. Responsible persons should consider the risks to children and the arrangements needed to mitigate them at the start of planning for any performance or activity. Safeguarding children must not be an afterthought."

Please read our Norfolk County Council - performance licencing overview section of this page and use the appropriate form below to make your application.

Norfolk County Council - Performance licencing overview

Please read the Norfolk County Council Performance licencing overview.

Norfolk County Council - Performance licencing overview (PDF) [361KB]

Apply for a performance licence

You need to complete a separate performance licence application for each child.

You will need to include with each application the supporting information detailed on page one of the application form.

Please email completed applications to

Apply for a performance licence (Word doc) [70KB]

Headteachers declaration (Word doc) [37KB]

(Please contact to arrange a discussion if you intend to apply for twenty or more performance licences, as we may be able to help make the submission of multiple performance licence applications easier.)

Apply for a body of persons approval (BOPA) exemption

A body of persons approval (BOPA) can allow children to take part in performances without the need to apply for a child performance licence for each child.

There must be no school absence or payment to the child.

It is the local authority where the performance is taking place that issue the BOPAs. A BOPA is issued at the discretion of the local authority and can be granted to any type of organisation - professional or amateur. This can be for a single performance or for a series of performances within a specified time period.

To complete the BOPA application webform below, you will need:

  • Details of the proposed chaperone(s)
  • Dates, times, durations and locations for rehearsals and performances
  • Contact information for your organisation
  • Details of the number of young people taking part and their ages

You should also prepare the following documents for upload:

  • Safeguarding/child protection policy and procedures
  • Risk assessment

When completing your BOPA application, please have the above information available. You will need to complete and submit your application within a single session of under two hours or you will be timed out.

Body of persons approval (BOPA)

Applying the four-day rule exemption

If an organisation is relying on the four-day rule as a basis for not applying for a licence, they should have reasonable grounds for believing the child has not (or will not when including your performance) performed on more than four days in the previous six months.

If you are thinking of applying the four-day rule, you should assess each child individually on a case-by-case basis as you will need separate assurances for each child.

Four-day rule (Word doc) [49KB]

Please email notifications of intent to apply four-day rule exemption to


Chaperone licencing

What is a Chaperone?

Anyone wanting to become a licenced Chaperone needs to be trained to understand their responsibilities and how to fulfil them.

As a Chaperone you are fully responsible for children all the time they are in your care. This includes when children are on tour when you must check that the accommodation is both suitable and safe.

You are the main point of safety for each child in your care and they must be able to rely on you at all times. It is your responsibility to:

  • Protect, safeguard, and support the children you are responsible for.
  • You must ensure that a child is not asked to work when they are tired, ill or upset.
  • You must ensure that a child is not exposed to adult behaviour or language this includes online safety.

Chaperones act in the place of each child's parent or guardian, always ensuring that the child is put first, their needs are met, and they are safe.

Applying to be a chaperone

To become a licenced chaperone:

  • Email the completed application form and supporting documentation to
  • Incomplete applications or applications without supporting documentation attached will be rejected. We cannot hold copies of supporting information sent with an incomplete application
  • Please read the Making an application and supporting documentation section of the application. Ensure you can meet the requirements prior to submitting your application
  • We require all chaperone applicants to complete NSPCC training 'Protecting children in entertainment training for chaperones'. Chaperones must complete the training within 12 months prior to this application. You or your employer will need to purchase this training from NSPCC. The personalised certificate of achievement issued to you, is part of the supporting documentation required with your application. This course helps applicants to understand the responsibilities of Chaperoning prior to applying for a chaperone licence. We do not accept alternative safeguarding certificates as we cannot ensure the quality and relevance to this role
  • If your application is accepted, we will arrange an online document verification interview. If you pass this check, during the interview we will ask for payment for our licence administration charge of £15. Please note that if subsequent safeguarding checks result in refusal of your application, refunds will not be made

You must be aged eighteen or over to make an application.

Chaperone Application Form (Word doc) [65KB]

Overview of Application Process (PDF) [89KB]

Providing a reference for a Chaperone applicant

Chaperones must arrange for two responsible adults to each provide a reference detailing their suitability to be a chaperone. We encourage applicants to signpost referees to the information on this webpage for them to understand what the chaperone role involves before they comment on the suitability of the applicant. Please also ensure they read the Referee form in full before completing it.

Referees need to complete Appendix 1 - Referee form and return direct to within five days of the chaperone application submission, failure to do this may result in the rejection of the application.

We do not share details of your reference with the applicant. This so that you can feel secure and give an open and honest account of the applicant's suitability for the chaperone role.

Appendix 1 - Referee form  (Word doc) [38KB]

Social Care Checks

As part of the Chaperone Licence application process, we must complete background checks. Consent for these checks is included in our application form, and these checks include a Social Care check.

Social Care Check Information (PDF) [92KB]

Chaperone Support Pack

This pack includes information, guidance and useful links to relevant information and is a support pack for Norfolk County Council Licensed Chaperones. This may also help others to better understand the role.


Replacement Chaperone Licence Request

The Norfolk County Council Chaperone Licence takes the form of a photo ID card and branded lanyard so that the Chaperone Licence can be worn to help identify the Chaperone.

The following form should be used when a photo ID card chaperone licence has been issued but a replacement is required as this has been lost or damaged.

Replacement Chaperone Licence Request (Word doc) [40KB]

Useful links

Additional resources for children in entertainment:


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