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 Licenses & Exemptions

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:

Child Performance Exemption

Applicants can apply for an Exemption Licence if the performance runs for four days or less and the following apply as outlined below:

  • The child will not have performed for more than four days in the last six months, including the date(s) of your performance.
  • No payment is made to the child or another person for their performance, other than to cover expenses.
  • The performance is not being organised by the child’s school.
  • The performance is given under the arrangements made by a Body of Persons approved by EA.

If the above doesn’t apply you will need to apply for a child performance licence.

Please note, we can only licence performances that take place within the jurisdiction of Northern Ireland.

Best practice would recommend that an appropriate adult such as a registered chaperone is in charge of the child/ren throughout the performance period. Please read the website for further details. If a registered chaperone is not available the child can be cared for by their parent/carer.

Please ensure that you have read and fully understand the statutory requirements for the licence that you are applying for. Failure to do so may lead to the licence being revoked and possible prosecution.

Please make sure you complete all relevant questions.

For an exemption, you must first download the excel spreadsheet below and input the performers details. You should then fill in the online Child Performance Exemption form and upload the excel spreadsheet when prompted in order to complete your application.


Can I apply for a child performance exemption?

If the child has performed for four days or less in the last six months, including the days you are applying for, then you can apply for a performance licence exemption.

If the child has performed for more than four days in the last six months, including the days you are applying for, then you will need to apply for a full performance licence. You can find the Performance Licence Application Form under the ‘Child Performance Licences’ heading.

Who should apply for a child performance exemption?

The production company/performing arts company/event organiser should apply for the performance licence exemption. A child or their parent/guardian should not complete these forms.

How do I apply for a child performance exemption?

You should download the exemption spreadsheet and input the details of all children who will be performing. Once the spreadsheet has been fully completed, you should provide details of the performance using the ‘Apply for a Child Performance Exemption’ online application form and attach the spreadsheet when prompted. After you have submitted your application, you will receive an acknowledgement email.

If you have any queries about your application, you should contact CEET on 028 9598 5591 or via email to

What hours can a child perform?

You can find the Broadcast and Non-Broadcast tables under the ‘Child Performance Licences’ heading.

Which rehearsals do I need to include in my application?

Rehearsals that occur during normal performing arts classes do not need to be included on your application. Only rehearsals that occur outside these classes, such as technical or dress rehearsals at the venue, need to be included in your application.

What if the children are performing the same show but on different dates or at different times?

You should separate the performers into groups according to their performance schedule, for example, Group A and Group B.

You can either submit separate applications and spreadsheets for each group, or you can provide details of all groups on one application and spreadsheet. If you choose to submit one application for all groups, please ensure you clearly indicate which children are in which group on the spreadsheet, and which rehearsal/performance dates and times relate to each group on the application.

Further Information

If your query has not been convered in these FAQs, you can contact CEET via Telephone : 028 9598 5591 or via email to

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: 21/09/2023