A note to leaders of bands containing young people.

Do you have children in your band? If you do it's great that you invite them to join you, because as we all know, this is a fantastic way to fire their enthusiasm for brass banding. It may be of course that like us, you are a youth band, where your band consists entirely of children and young people.These youngsters are the future of banding, and anything we can do to encourage themĀ to join the banding ranks is a step well taken. When they progress a little, you will invite them to join you on the performance stage, which is a really big event for them.

One thing you may not be aware of though is that once these youngsters join you at a performance, if they are of Compulsory School Age (CSA) they will need a performance licence. (the pdf document below explains more about how CSA is determined) As there seems to be so very little publicity about this, we thought it might perhaps be helpful if we published the "guide" that we drew up recently in response to enquiries about how we manage this process within our band, and what the licensing process involves.

The attached document certainly doesn't set out to be a comprehensive guide to Child Performance Licensing, but it does describe what is required of a group that involves children in its performances. At the end of the document there is a flowchart which takes you through the process to help you decide if a licence is required or not. There is no doubt that this process canĀ create quite an admin burden, particularly within youth bands where there are many children, but if effectively managed in a timely manner, it can be quite a streamlined process. It is a legal requirement, so ignore it at your peril!

Remember - a child cannot simply "turn up to a performance and play". He/she must have a licence, an exemption certificate, or your group must be in possession of a BOPA and a Show Letter allowing specified children to perform with you under the terms of your BOPA.

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This may all seem very draconian, but help is at hand! Is your band a member of Brass Bands England (BBE)? If it is then you are in luck! BBE have obtained their own BOPA direct from the DfE, & provided you can fulfill all the various details in their “BOPA Toolkit”, all you need to do is to add how many children are involved in your event plus a few other items, hit “send” & your BOPA certificate arrives almost immediately! Don’t forget though, you can only use a BOPA if you can – amongst a few other things – confirm that your players don’t need time off school for your event. If they do, you’ll need certificates!