Students under the age of 18 at the BIA

This information is for prospective, new and current students who are under the age of 18. The Birmingham International Academy provides a unique learning experience for international students at the University who require further academic qualifications to prepare for their main University degree.

Students Under the Age of 18 at the University

For campus-based and online courses, the Birmingham International Academy (BIA) admits students who are under 18 (but older than 16) and who are mature and responsible enough to study in a large university. Students under the age of 18 are classed as children or 'minors' under UK Law. 

Parents/UK Guardian

All students under the age of 18 are required to have a UK Guardian that we can contact if we need to. This can be your parent if your parent lives in the UK, or an adult chosen by your parent (if your parent lives outside of the UK). The UK guardian must:

  • reside in the UK
  • be over the age of 18
  • be able to speak English 
  • be familiar with the culture
  • be available and contactable at all times in case of an emergency 
  • have a UK postal address and telephone number
  • take responsibility for you during holiday periods unless you have made other arrangements

For students aged under 18 years, AEGIS  can supply a UK-based guardian if the parent or legal guardian is unable to identify an individual to take up this role. Kaplan International Pathways works in partnership with College Guardians, an established guardian service for overseas parents.

Parental Agreement Letter

If you are under the age of 18 when you start your studies, and on a full-time course, your parent or legal guardian must complete a Parental Agreement Letter (PAL).  A student under the age of 18 cannot register with the University until this has been completed and returned by their parent or legal guardian. The Parental Agreement Letter (PAL) sets out the responsibilities of the UK guardian.

Safeguarding students

Approximately a quarter of students on our Foundation Pathways course are under the age of 18. This means the Birmingham International Academy (BIA) has a special duty of care and sets clear expectations to promote a safe and positive learning environment.

Our expectations are communicated to students aged under 18 years in a welcome event at the start of the academic course and during 1-1 meetings with the wellbeing team.

Joining details for the Welcome event are sent to students as part of the pre-arrival communications, which you will receive before the start of the course. You can read more about the welcome event on this page under the header 'Welcome and Onboarding Event'.

You can read the University’s policy Safeguarding Children and Young People. Our duty of care to under 18s and the safeguarding procedures are set out in a BIA Safeguarding Statement.  This statement is in line with the University Safeguarding Policy.

The University and Safeguarding Children and Young People

UK Law and University rules and regulations for students under the age of 18

While at the University, your child will be subject to English law and to the rules and regulations of both the University and the Guild of Students. Many of these rules will be explained to your child during their welcome and induction period at the University but you should be aware of the following:

Disclosure of information

The University is prohibited, under the 1998 Data Protection Act, from disclosing information about a student's academic or personal progress to parents or other third parties without consent including a UK Guardian.

However we will ensure that we are able to contact a student's parent/UK Guardian in the following circumstances until  the age of 18: 

  • if the University has reasonable concerns about a student's whereabouts, wellbeing or behaviour or that the risks posed warrant sharing this information. 
  • if a student is admitted to hospital, in which case the student's parent/guardian agrees to the University providing the hospital with their contact details so that they may contact them directly.
  • in an emergency.

Medical emergencies

  • When a minor turns 16 years of age, they are able to give consent for most medical or dental treatment without a parent’s knowledge. Treatment will remain confidential.
  • Where a minor is unable to consent in the event of a medical emergency and it is not possible to contact the child's parent or UK Guardian, the University can authorise emergency medical treatment.


  • There are a number of venues both on and off the University campus where it is possible to purchase alcohol. Please note that it is illegal for someone under the age of 18 to try to buy alcohol or to be sold alcohol or to consume alcohol in relevant premises.

Overnight absences

  • If your child is planning to be absent from their University accommodation, for example at weekends or during vacations, they will be requested to notify their University accommodation. They will be required to indicate their whereabouts and the date of their return.


  • Your child will have access to the University computer network and will be subject to the University’s General Conditions of Use of Computing and Network Facilities which explains the appropriate and lawful use of computer facilities. 

University's General Conditions of Use of Computing and Network Facilities 

Student Expectations 

Students under the age of 18 receive additional support from the BIA Student Wellbeing  and Experience Manager and International Student Support Officer, who will schedule in meetings at the start of your time with us to make sure you are settling in to university life. 

As a student at the University who is under the age of 18, you will be expected to:

  • attend an introductory meeting with the BIA Student Wellbeing and Experience Manager 
  • attend all scheduled lessons, seminars and 1-1s with academic tutors
  • tell us if you are struggling, worried or have a concern
  • be helpful, have good manners and treat everyone with respect
  • be able to live independently in an adult environment (e.g. manage your own finances, domestic arrangements, physical and emotional wellbeing)
  • follow the University rules and regulations and UK law
  • notify the BIA Student Wellbeing and Experience Manager and the International Student Support Coordinator before you confirm your travel arrangements to leave the UK at any time before the end of your course, if you are still under the age of 18. You also may be asked to complete a travel survey.

As a student under the age of 18, you are undertaking your university studies in an adult environment and as such we expect you to follow the advice and guidance given to you in your welcome and induction event to keep yourself and others safe.

We expect all students to display appropriate behaviour at all times. This includes behaviour taking place outside the University and also online. If staff have concerns about a student under the age of 18, this is followed up by the BIA Student Wellbeing and Experience Manager and the Academic Programme Manager.

University Student Charter University Expectations of Student BehaviourUniversity's Harassment and Bullying Policy

Attendance monitoring

Students are expected to promptly attend all scheduled lessons, seminars and 1-1s with their academic tutors. Students are also expected to make full use of online learning material for their programme of study.

We monitor student attendance and the wider academic engagement of online learning material. Regular attendance and academic engagement is very important for successful learning and necessary for progression. If a student is not in attendance and not engaging with their studies, this raises welfare and visa concerns.

If a student is unable to attend or lesson or misses a lesson, seminars or 1-1 tutorials with their tutors, they are expected to contact staff at the BIA or their UK guardian immediately.

Tutors are made aware of any students who are under the age of 18  in their class and asked to share any concerns with the relevant Programme Manager and Student Wellbeing and Experience Manager. If a student under the age of 18 fails to attend a scheduled class, the tutor reports it as an unauthorised absence at the end of the session. The BIA has the appropriate risk management and escalation processes in place.

All students are expected to follow the University's Code of Practice on Student Attendance and Reasonable Diligence which sets out our expectations for attendance and academic engagement.

If students study part of their campus course remotely for reasons related to Covid-19, the code of practice sets out our expectations for attendance and academic engagement. We also expect students under the age of 18 to share details of their online timetables and scheduled 1-1s with academic tutors with their parents or UK guardian. This will enable parents/UK Guardians to monitor internet use during online lessons and for academic engagement.

University's Code of Practice on Student Attendance and Reasonable Diligence

Staff Expectations 

Staff code of behaviour

At the BIA we expect all staff to promote a safe and positive learning environment for students under the age of 18. This forms part of the University’s wider duty to promote an inclusive learning environment.

Staff are expected to:

  • prioritise the wellbeing of children and young people
  • provide a safe environment for children and young people ensuring equipment is used safely and for its intended purpose
  • have a good awareness of issues to do with safeguarding and child protection and taking action when appropriate
  • follow our principles, policies and procedures including:
  • UoB and BIA policies and procedures for child protection/safeguarding, whistleblowing and online safety
  • staying within UK law at all times
  • modelling good behaviour for children and young people to follow
  • challenging all unacceptable behaviour and reporting any breaches of the behaviour code to the BIA Student Wellbeing and Experience Manager and/or Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO)
  • Staff are expected to report all concerns about abusive behaviour, following our safeguarding and child protection procedures. This includes behaviour being displayed by an adult or child and directed at any person of any age.

Staff suitability and criminal record checks

All reference requests for staff appointed to the BIA include enquiry about suitability to work with students aged under 18. In addition to the checks conducted during recruitment, BIA staff with responsibility for or substantial access to under 18s, also undergo criminal record checks.

For teaching staff recruited within the UK, an enhanced DBS with Barred List check is undertaken by the UK Government's Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). 

The Children's Barred List is a list of people whom authorities have decided must not work with children, even if they have not been convicted. The Barred List also contains people with convictions against children.

For teaching staff recruited outside of the UK, first appointment reference checks are conducted, a recent police certificate from the last country they worked in, as well as the relevant UK criminal record check if they have been a UK resident.

UK Government Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) 

Staff training safeguarding 

There are a number of mandatory staff training courses which staff must complete immediately upon starting, or re-joining the University. All BIA staff must complete the Safeguarding and Prevent Training. This training is repeated and staff are advised on the frequency.  University policies and local procedures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students under 18s are made available to all BIA staff on the staff intranet and through induction procedures and staff training.

Parent/ UK Guardian Expectations

By signing the Parental Agreement Letter, as a parent or legal guardian, you agree that:

  • While at the University, your child will be subject to UK law and the University’s rules
  • You are  liable for your child’s debts to the University, such as tuition fees and accommodation fees
  • Your child may attend University activities without your specific consent and your child must notify the University of any Medical Conditions.
  • The University must have your child’s consent before disclosing any information and so you do not have an automatic right to receive reports on your child’s progress. 

If you have been appointed as a UK guardian you will be expected to:

  • make necessary decisions on the behalf of the child's parent or legal guardian, including decisions concerning medical treatment.
  • be the named contact in case of a medical emergency.
  • take responsibility for the student during the vacation period (unless other arrangements have been made with the child's parent or legal guardian)

UK guardians will also need to complete a short consent form to confirm that they are happy to be in this role.

Student Safety and Supervision

Travelling to the University

It is the responsibility of the student and the student's parent or their UK guardian to arrange travel to and from the University. This includes their journey back home or travel with or to their UK guardian during vacation periods. 

If you reside overseas the University offers an airport collection service.  Students under the age of 18 and their parents or UK guardians will receive information about how to book on to the collection service as part of the pre-arrival student communications sent out before the start of the course.

We recommend that you book onto this service, however, if a student under the age of 18 is arriving on a date where the service is not running they will need to make their own travel arrangements to the University. 

We can provide information and advice on how to do this, if requested. When you arrive we will also provide general advice on transport to and from the University and around the local area (including the use of taxi services and DBS check). This will form part of your induction talk and welcome to the University. 

Visit 'Welcome to Birmingham: information for international students' for information on travel and much more.

Welcome to Birmingham: information for international students

On and off-site activities (including day trips)

Parents and legal guardians of under 18 year olds coming to study at the University of Birmingham should remember that the University is an adult environment and subject to English law and to University regulations, students are expected to organise their own studies and social life and take part in activities available to the wider University community. In signing the Parental Agreement Letter (PAL), you have agreed to your child taking part in social activities happening across the University and at the BIA.

However, whilst the University allows students under the age of 18 to take part in most of the events, societies and sports on offer, risk assessments are carried out before all activities, events and trips away from campus and whereas provision is made for the inclusion of under 18s where possible, participation in some activities may be limited. This may concern specific events with alcohol or where the University feels that the activity involved, though legal, is not suitable for under 18s. The University also reserves the right to refuse participation in an activity if it considers that a student’s health condition will make it unsafe. If a student has any concerns about a particular activity and whether it is suitable for them, they should be talk to the BIA Student Wellbeing and Experience Manager and the International Student Support Coordinator.

For on and off-campus activities, day trips and social events organised by the BIA, there will be at least one suitably DBS checked adult group leader for every 20 students aged under 18. We ensure staff leading these  activities and social organisers who support them are aware of their safeguarding responsibilities and undertake the appropriate level of training. For off-campus events, students under the age of 18  are briefed separately before the event takes place. We work closely with the University's Guild of Students and any external organisations hosting events for students aged under 18 around their safeguarding policies and procedures.

Accommodation Choices 

University residential accommodation and students aged under 18

All students under 18 years old studying on a campus taught course are offered University-managed accommodation. 

Students who express an interest in living off campus with a locally based designated UK guardian or a responsible adult must have consent from their parents or legal guardians.

Student Accommodation

Students living on campus are advised to use the pre-paid Meal Plan. Some University accommodation comes with the Meal Plan built in, which means payments are automatically included in your accommodation costs. But even if you’re in self-catered accommodation, you can still choose to add the Meal Plan.

Meal Plan

For frequently asked questions on accommodation for students under the age of 18, read our support pages for students and their parents/guardians.

Students under 18 at the University

Please contact the BIA Student Wellbeing and Experience Manager if you have any queries about accommodation for under 18s and/ or parental consent.


Welcome and Onboarding Event

When you start your course, you will be invited to join a BIA introductory welcome event. You will receive more information on the scheduling of the event with your joining instructions before you start your teaching and learning with us.

At your welcome event you will meet the BIA team, who will offer you structured support during your time with us at the Birmingham International Academy. 

Meet the BIA team

Your team at the Birmingham International Academy:

  • BIA Student Wellbeing and Experience Manager
  • Designated Safeguarding Officers (DSOs)
  • BIA International Student Support Coordinator
  • BIA Academic Tutors

Meet the staff at the BIA

Welcome event

During your introductory welcome event, the BIA Student Wellbeing and Experience Manager and the BIA administrative team will cover some of the following items:

  • The BIA Social Programme and how you can get involved
  • How we monitor your attendance and make sure you are safe on campus and online
  • Why it is important to attend class regularly
  • How to look after yourself, healthy lifestyles and promoting your wellbeing
  • How to access health care in the UK

You will also discuss many of these items in class with your academic tutors.

Online Safety

The BIA Student Wellbeing and Experience Manager will cover online safety during your welcome event, our expectations of students and who you can talk to if you have a safeguarding concern or an academic problem. 

  • Students are given clear practical guidance on preparing for and setting up their online lessons. This includes checking they have access to a good internet connection, an appropriate study space in their home and that they share their online timetable with their parent, their UK guardian or an adult member of their household.

Staying safe on campus

Security Services operate 24 hours a day all year around and are always available to offer assistance and advice to all students, regardless of age. In addition there is a West Midlands police liaison room in University Centre which is open on Wednesdays between 12.00 and 15.00, and the University has its own community police officer.

Campus security team

Safer Students Campaign

Wellbeing and Student Support

Whether you are on campus or starting your course online, for more information on the University's wider wellbeing and support services and what to expect, visit:

Welcome 2022

Students under 18 at the University  

Further Information

For more information, please contact the BIA Student Wellbeing and Experience Manager by email at: .

University Security can be contacted in an emergency 24 hours a day on 0121 414 4444.

The Vale Village reception can be contacted out of hours on +44 (0) 121 415 8520.

The BIA Administrative Team can be contacted during working hours on +44 (0)121 414 5697.