Press release

New rules to help children’s talents shine

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Rules about how and when children can perform in public are to be updated and clarified under proposals published today.

Young person

Outdated and confusing rules surrounding how and when children can take part in public performances - such as treading the boards in a local drama production or taking up a starring role in a film or TV show - are to be updated under proposals published today.

The current regulations are complicated and restrictive, meaning children can often miss out on exciting opportunities to show off their talents. The new simplified rules will update these overly complex restrictions while keeping in place important safeguards to ensure children are kept safe and fully rested.

Children and Families Minister, Edward Timpson, said:

Taking part in a local dance production or performing on a West End stage can be hugely rewarding - helping to build important confidence, teamwork and communication skills. Yet too often, children can miss out on these exciting chances due to unnecessary barriers and restrictions.

Simplifying the rules so children are able to access a wide range of opportunities while keeping essential safeguards in place will help children and young people show off their talents.

The current rules mean that children under the age of 9 cannot be licensed to take part in recorded or broadcast performances after 4:30pm, rising to 7pm for children aged between 9 and 16 - meaning a budding Billy Elliot would have to cast aside his ballet pumps before the evening show began if it was to be shown on television.

There are also overly-bureaucratic regulations on how many rehearsals or performances a child can take part in during a single day or a week - no matter the duration of the session. This means an aspiring young performer who takes part in a number of performances would be limited in the activities they could take part in.

The new rules will:

  • replace the complex restrictions on the hours children can perform with a single set of limits - based on age groups - which cover all types of performances
  • scrap the limit on the type of performances children can take part in over a single day or a week
  • strengthen the number of breaks children must have during performances - making sure children get adequate rest

There will also be a greater emphasis on ensuring young performers are able to wind-down and rest overnight.

The proposals will now be publicly consulted on for 10 weeks.

Notes to editors

  1. Read the consultation.

  2. Learn more about the Children and Families Act.

DfE enquiries

Published 23 June 2014