Child Employment, Children in Entertainment and Chaperone Applications

EA is responsible for ensuring that safeguarding responsibilities placed upon us and other parties are enforced in respect of children who are involved in entertainment and employment in Northern Ireland.

Children in Entertainment and Employment Team (CEET)

The Children Entertainment & Employment Team (CEET) on behalf of the EA has responsibility and a specific function for the issuing of children’s performance licences in accordance with the provisions of the Children (NI) Order 1995 and the Children (Public Performances) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996.

CEET furthermore has responsibility for the issuing of employment cards/permits for school aged children under the provisions of the Children (NI) Order 1995, the Employment of Children Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996 and the Employment of Children (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006.

These statutory regulations are in situ to ensure that children are safeguarded and protected when partaking in artistic performances in non-broadcast and broadcast media and when employed in permitted occupations.

Child Performance Licences

The Education Authority issues performance licences in respect of children (babies up to children of compulsory school leaving age) who live in Northern Ireland and propose to engage in public performances in Northern Ireland. This is in accordance with the provisions of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995, Part X11, articles 137 – 145 & the Children (Public Performances) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996.

This legislation applies to children who are involved in broadcast performances including those on televisions, film, radio or by way of internet streaming. It also includes non-broadcast performances such as stage performances including those taking place in venues such as theatres, sports clubs, hotels and church halls. Such performances may be produced by amateur or professional groups/companies and involve children in drama, music, song or dance.

There are performances where some or indeed all of the children may not require individual licences such as where a child has not taken part in other performances on more than three days in the six months preceding the performance in question. In such cases an “exemption” letter will be issued. Performances arranged by schools irrespective of where the performance takes place are exempt from the requirements of the legislation. However where a school takes part in a performance organised by a third party the performance will be required to meet the requirements of the legislation and it is the responsibility of the third party to make an application to EA for either licences or an exemption. 

Production companies should submit applications to CEET for a licence for each child at least 30 days before the first performance is due to take place. This is to ensure that all applications are fully considered and licences are issued with appropriate safeguards in place.  Late applications may result in licences not being issued and any performance that proceeds in the absence of a licence will be deemed unlawful. EA will consider legal action against any production company which proceeds with an unlawful performance.

The Designated Officer for CEET will advise applicants if a licence and/or an exemption from a licence applies in respect of the performance.

Applications for performance licences must be accompanied by:

  • Written consent from the parent/carer
  • Written consent from the Principal of the school attended by the child if the performance/s necessitate absence from school
  • 1 photograph of the child with the child’s name written on the back
  • Proof of age of the child (either passport or birth certificate)

If the CEET Designated Officer is satisfied that all legal and regulatory conditions are met, one or more performance licences will be issued. Any performance which proceeds in the absence of either performance licences and/or an exemption letter is unlawful.

Application forms, regulations and guidance are available from CEET at the contact number above or by clicking on the links below:

Chaperone Licences

The Education Authority approves, registers and trains chaperones to safeguard children who have been licensed to perform.

As required by law [Children (Public Performances) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996 Regulation 14], all licensed children who perform, if not accompanied by a parent/carer, must be accompanied by a licensed chaperone, who “shall have the care and control of the child with a view to securing his health, kind treatment and moral welfare” (Reg 14). The chaperone can care for a maximum of 12 children and is engaged / employed by the production company.

The CEET team maintains the register of all licensed chaperones in Northern Ireland on behalf of the Education Authority. Application forms for chaperone licensing and registration are available from the CEET team or by clicking on the links below:

Child Employment Permits

The Education Authority (EA) issues employment permits in respect of children of compulsory school age who propose to engage in part-time employment. 

As required by law, namely,  Articles 135-136 of The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 and The Employment of Children Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996 (amended 2006) all employers of children of compulsory school age must apply for a permit to the Education Authority i.e. to the CEET team before the proposed starting date of the child's employment. The application must include written consent from the parent/carer of the child.

N.B. It is unlawful for any child under the age of thirteen to be employed.

The Designated Officer for Child Protection in CEET has to be satisfied that all legal and regulatory conditions are met before an employment permit will be issued. If a permit is not issued, the proposed employment is unlawful.

When applying for an employment permit it is necessary for the employer (applicant) to obtain written consents of both the parent and the young person for whom they seek to employ. These consents should be kept by the employer for the term that the permit is issued and provided for inspection upon the request of EA. All matters relating to the hours, days and permitted occupations the young person is permitted to work is contained within the guidance (available below) and should be read before the application form is completed.  Failure to complete the form properly will result in a rejection of the application and a delay to the commencement of employment of the young person.

To proceed with an employment permit please click on the link below:

Contact Us

Education Authority 
Belfast Office 
40 Academy Street 

Phone number : 028 95985591
Email Address :

Last updated: 24/09/2021