Children can be employed in certain occupations from 13 to 16 years old.

It's illegal to employ a child without a work permit.

Children under the age of 13 can't be employed.

How to apply for a work permit for a child

As a parent or guardian, you and your child's employer must fill in the  pdf work permit application form (141 KB) . There is no charge for this.

We'll send a copy of the work permit to the employer, your child's school and you for the job stated on the application form.

You must let us know if your child leaves this job. They'll need a new work permit if they want to work for another employer.

We may inspect the workplace and speak to the employer. We'll write a report and let you know if there are any problems.

pdf Hours of work allowed for children working part time (99 KB)

Information leaflets

Work that children are not allowed to do

Your child is not allowed to:

  • work in an industrial setting like a factory
  • work in a cinema, theatre, disco, dance hall or night club except in connection with a performance given entirely by children
  • sell or deliver alcohol unless it is in sealed containers
  • deliver milk
  • deliver fuel oils
  • work in a commercial kitchen
  • collect or sort rubbish, recycling or other waste
  • work more than 3 metres above ground level or, in the case of indoor work, more than 3 metres above floor level
  • work in employment involving harmful exposure to physical, biological or chemical agents
  • collect money, sell or canvas door to door unless they're with an adult
  • work where they would be exposed to adult material
  • work in telephone sales
  • work in a slaughterhouse, butcher's shop or anywhere that involves preparing meat for sale
  • work in a fairground, amusement arcade or anywhere the public can play automatic machines, games of chance or skill or similar devices 
  • give personal care to people in residential care or nursing homes

Children in entertainment and sport

Your child may need a licence to: 

  • perform on stage, in television, film or commercial work
  • take part in paid or professional sport
  • work as a model

However, a child can perform for a cumulative total of up to 4 days in a 6 month period without the need for a licence, as long as 

  • they don't need time off school
  • the performance is unpaid

This total includes licensed and unlicensed productions, but not school productions.

The production company or agency will need to apply for the licence.

pdf Child Performance and Activities Licence Application Form (263 KB)

Email your completed licence application to:

Any licence applications with less than 21 days' notice must be discussed with Julie Griffin or Paul Harse who can be contacted on 0117 352 1438.


All children must be supervised when performing.

This can be done by either:

  • a registered chaperone
  • their regular school teacher
  • by the child's own parent(s)

A chaperone must hold a valid chaperone's licence, issued by the Local Authority in which they live.

Duties of the chaperone

The chaperone's role includes the following:

  • safeguarding the child's welfare
  • responsibility for the proper care and control of the child, including health, comfort, kind treatment and moral welfare
  • supervision of the child when at the place of performance, except while they are in the charge of an approved tutor
  • keeping a record of the times the child is on the set, i.e., rehearsals and performances
  • ensuring the child has the right breaks for rest and meals. Also ensuring the child is provided with nutritional food and any special diets for whatever reason are adhered to
  • making arrangements for the child to be escorted home, or medical attention given, in the event of illness
  • in the event of any contravention of the licence, or incident affecting the well-being of the child, the chaperone must inform us at the earliest opportunity

How to apply for chaperone approval

If you live in Bristol, email or call the Education Welfare Service on 0117 3521438 and ask to leave a message for Paul Harse or Julie Griffin.

Before you are approved as a registered chaperone, a process will be followed to ensure you are suitable for the role.

This full process will include:

  • the completion of a chaperone application form, in Bristol we have adopted the Safer Recruitment Process for vetting chaperones.
  • an interview, usually conducted via Microsoft Teams, sometimes the interviews may be held face to face
  • submitting two satisfactory references, sometimes additional references may be required
  • an Enhanced DBS check.
  • completing an online Child Protection Course run by the NSPCC

You'll be required to show original documents for the DBS and ‘right to work' check, in person, following their interview.

Following your interview, a time will be arranged for this in person check to take place.

Approval to act as a chaperone will only be granted if we are fully satisfied that an applicant has demonstrated their suitability for the role.

The overall process usually takes between 6 to 12 weeks, from the date of the interview, to complete.

Chaperone application costs

There is a charge to become an approved chaperone. The costs are:

  • professional chaperone: £82
  • volunteer chaperone: £38

You'll also be required to pay for the relevant Child Protection course.