There are laws that cover employment of children under school leaving age. Children are of compulsory school age until the academic year in which they turn 16. Our guides can help children and young people, their parents, employers and producers.
- Our child employment guide for parents (PDF) explain the regulations covering your child whilst they are in part-time work
- Our child employment guide for young people (PDF) outlines the work they can do whilst in compulsory education. Children are of compulsory school age until the academic year in which they turn 16.
- Our employers guide (PDF) explains the laws you need to know and follow.
- Our resource pack for teachers (DOC) provides lesson plans and other resources to use in schools. See our presentation slides on child employment (PDF), child employment for pupils in year 11 (PDF) and 'hazards and risks' (DOC).
If you have a young person of compulsory school age working for you, you must make sure they have valid work permits (employment cards). The employer must apply for these and they are issued for specific employment. They cannot be transferred with the child if they change job or employer or transferred to another child or job by you. The work permits are issued by the local authority where the employer is based and not where the child lives (if that is different).
If you are employing a young person within the Surrey County Council Local Authority area, you will need to apply to us. Please complete and follow the instructions on our work permit application form (PDF).
For more information on any aspect of child employment in Surrey, email our child employment team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01483 517838.
There are also specific rules covering children working in entertainment.
- Our parents guide (PDF) gives advice to parents with a child working in the entertainment industry
- If you are a producer of entertainment working with a child or young person our guide for producers (PDF) explains your responsibilities towards that individual, including the important role of the child's chaperone.
All children of compulsory school age require a performance licence (PDF) to take part in any performance. Applications for performance licences should be submitted at least 21 days before the date of the first performance.
We can only issue performance licences for children that are permanently resident in the Surrey County Council Area, which is not the same as the postal area of Surrey. Proof of address may be required with applications.
Although we will process applications received with less than 21 days notice whenever possible, we cannot guarantee to do so. We will charge a fee of £35 per licence for applications received five full working days or less before the date of the first performance, but this does not guarantee it will be issued if required information is missing. See our guidance to help you complete the performance licence application form (PDF).
Body of Persons Approval exemption
We can allow exemption approvals to some organisations putting on non-professional or amateur performances that would normally have to licence individual children taking part, for example, amateur dramatics, operatic societies, dance schools and organisers of music/drama/dance festivals. These are issued per performance/festival or for 12 months and the performance/festival must still comply with the law around children in entertainment.
There is a different BOPA application form for organisers of festivals or events. The organisers should complete the BOPA Events Application Form (PDF) and ask all groups participating in their event to complete the Group Participation Info Form (PDF).
Organisations that wish to involve children in their productions should have a child protection policy. We have produced guidance to help you write a child protection policy (PDF) for your organisation.
Applications should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the first performance date.
Unlicensed performance exemption (four day rule)
We can only grant an exemption from performance licensing if the child is not being paid to take part, no other person is being paid for the child to take part (other than out of pocket expenses), the child is not missing any school and will not have performed for more than 4 days in the last six months. This includes the current performance that is being applied for.
If you want to apply for an exemption from performance licensing for a child living within the Surrey County Council Area, please complete the performance exemption application form (PDF) and submit it to us at email@example.com at least two weeks prior to the first performance date.
We provide guidance for all holders and operators of premises licences in a Surrey borough. All applicants for new premise licences or variations to existing premise licences should familiarise themselves with this guidance when completing section M (measure to promote the licensing objective 'Protection of Children from Harm').
If you would like to see how we use your personal data please read our privacy notice.
For more information, including details of performance licences, email our child employment team at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 01483 517838.