Information for students aged under 18 joining Birmingham International Academy

This information is for students who are under 18 at the time of applying and are studying on a campus-based course at the Birmingham International Academy (BIA). Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the University is offering a limited range of courses taught on campus during the first phase of the campus reopening. Some of our courses will be offered online . We may offer a combination of the two. If you are joining an online course, read our separate arrangements.


Birmingham International Academy (BIA) provides a unique learning experience for international students at the University who require further academic qualifications to prepare for main their main University degree.  

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For campus-based and online courses, Birmingham International Academy admits students who are under 18 (but older than 16) who are mature and responsible enough to study in a large university.

If you are under the age of 18, we recognise you may have different needs in relation to your support and wellbeing. The BIA will ensure you have access to structured support throughout your time with us. You will have access to a BIA Academic Tutor, the BIA Student Welfare Officer and a dedicated International Support Coordinator who works between the BIA and the Vale Village. In addition to this, we provide a wide range of online learning support on our Virtual Learning Environment called Canvas, which is linked to your course. You will also be able to access online resources from across wider University departments and services.

The BIA works closely with wider-University services including Student Services, Hospitality and Accommodation Services (HAS) and the International Student Team (IST) to ensure you have access to the full range of academic and wellbeing support needed to do well in your course. We believe this will prepare you for your future studies, whether it is campus-based, online or a combination of the two.

Arrival and induction

If you are joining one of our campus-based courses, we aim to ensure your safe arrival at Birmingham and will ask for your travel details. We will ask for details of your flight, so it is important that you provide us with full details of this in good time. We ask you to use our airport collection service or alternatively to use a taxi service recommended by us.

Within your first few days, you will attend a workshop which will cover:

  • How we monitor your attendance and make sure you are safe
  • Why it is important to attend class regularly
  • Steps we have put into place around Covid-19 and social distancing
  • How to look after yourself, healthy lifestyles and promoting your wellbeing
  • Guidance on safety and security and sensible behaviour
  • How to access health care in the UK
  • Legal advice about alcohol, tobacco, drugs and gambling laws
  • Emergency contact details. You will need to supply two emergency contacts. We will supply you with contact details for the BIA and a 24-hour emergency contact for University Security
  • Do and Don’ts of living in the UK.

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

Contact details

It is important that we know your contact details before you arrive in the UK. This includes your UK address, email and your UK mobile phone number. We encourage you to obtain a UK mobile phone number as soon as you can. You must tell us if you change your contact details whilst you are with us.

We will require at least one UK-based emergency contact for every student aged under 18.

University Security can be contacted 24 hours a day on 0121 414 4444. Out of hours you can also contact the Duty Manager at the Vale on 0121 415 8520.

The Birmingham International Academy can be contacted during working hours on 0121 414 5697.

Welcome and induction

We aim to provide a safe physical environment to develop your academic skills and confidence, as well as opportunities to join a friendly and welcoming online student community. In line with UK government requirements on COVID-19 we will have in place social distancing and other measures for students, staff and visitors to ensure a safe learning and living environment.

All students under the age of 18, as part of their welcome and induction, are given a talk by the BIA Welfare Officer and the International Student Support Coordinator. This will cover our system of daily safeguarding checks, COVID-19 safety, our expectations of students and who they can talk to if they have a safeguarding or academic concern. Students are given clear practical guidance on preparing for lessons whether these are delivered in class, online or a combination of the two.

Our expectation of students under the age of 18

The University is an adult environment and students under the age of 18 are supported to develop the confidences and social skills to make the transition to adult learners. We will provide you with support and opportunities to do well academically and to flourish during your time at the BIA. All students are expected to follow the University's Code of Practice on Student Attendance and Reasonable Diligence. This sets out our expectations for attendance and academic engagement.


All students under 18 years old studying on a campus taught course are required to live in University-managed accommodation. Our accommodation meets UK government requirements for Covid-19. We will have measures in place to monitor this and take action where necessary to ensure the safety of all students, staff and visitors. You will be supported by the Customer Services Manager, the BIA International Student Support Coordinator and the BIA Welfare Officer.  


Students who express an interest in living off campus with a locally based designated UK=guardian or a responsbile adult must have consent from their parents and the agreement of the BIA.


Contact the BIA Welfare Officer if you have any queries by email at:


Students living on campus are required to use pre-paid meal plans unless alternative arrangements are confirmed in writing by the parents or legal guardians.

Attendance and monitoring

Students are expected to 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 wider academic engagement of online learning material.

Students under the age of 18 will receive additional support from the BIA Welfare Officer and the International Student Support Officer who will schedule regular meetings with them. If we have concerns about a student, this will be followed up by the BIA Welfare Officer and the relevant Programme Manager who may arrange a meeting with the student.


All BIA staff are expected to have completed the University’s training on how to safeguard young people. Additional training is given to BIA Tutors on safeguarding by the BIA Welfare Officer. The University has a Safeguarding Policy which sets out how we fulfil our responsibilities for students under the age of 18, how concerns are reported, and roles and responsibilities.

The BIA has a separate Safeguarding Policy which sets out how we fulfil our responsibilities. We will conduct daily safeguarding checks on students under the age of 18. This will be explained at their welcome and induction by the BIA Welfare Officer and the International Student Support Officer.

All Staff who have regular contact with students under the age of 18 will have an advanced disclosure check undertaken by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). This system is coordinated by the UK government and provides employers with information on the criminal history of their staff.

Suitable arrangements will be made for the supervision and safety of students during scheduled lessons and on-campus activities. For off-campus activities, day trips and social events, there will be at least one suitably DBS checked adult group leader for every 20 students aged under 18.

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.

Social events

We believe strongly that in order for students to make most of the opportunities to develop their academic skills and confidence that they should make full use of our programme of social activities. This enables students to interact with other students. Students will have the chance to develop their social skills and practice their English language skills. The BIA runs a programme of age-appropriate social activities led by the International Student Support Officer and the BIA Welfare Officer. Both are Designated Safeguarding Officers. Students also have access to a full programme of social events and activities offered by the Student Guild during term time. The BIA and the Student Guild will give guidance on this to students under the age of 18.

All BIA trips and residential courses are organised with the care and safety of under-18s in mind. A risk assessment is carried out by a suitably trained officer for all excursions. These events and the centres we use all have appropriately trained and DBS checked staff. 

The University allows students aged under 18 to take part in most of the events, societies and sports on offer. However, there are some restrictions concerning specific events with alcohol or where the University feels that the activity involved, though legal, is not suitable for under-18s. The BIA and the Student Guild will inform you of what is suitable for under-18s to take part in.

Further information

If you require further information we would encourage you to contact the BIA Welfare Officer by email at: . University Security can be contacted 24 hours a day on 0121 414 4444. The Duty Manager at the Vale Village can be contacted out of hours on 0121 415 8520. The BIA Admin Team can be contacted during working hours on 0121 414 5697.