Information for students aged under 18 joining Birmingham International Academy

This information is aimed at students under the age of 18 at the time of applying for their chosen programme and are studying on any online courses offered by the Birmingham International Academy. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the University is offering a limited range of courses on campus during the first phase of the campus re-opening. If you are joining a campus-based 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 their main University degree.

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For campus-based and online courses, the BIA 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 there are different demands when undertaking online study for the first time. We also recognise you may have different needs in relation to your support and wellbeing within a virtual learning environment. The BIA will ensure you have access to structured online academic and wellbeing support throughout your time with us. You will have access to an experienced BIA Academic Tutor, the BIA Student Welfare Officer and a dedicated International Student Support Coordinator. In addition to this, we provide a wide range of online learning support on our Virtual Learning Environment called Canvas linked to your course as well as online resources from the wider University.

The BIA works closely with a wide range of University services including Student Services, Library Services and its International Student Team to ensure that our students have access to the full range of academic and wellbeing support needed for students to do well in their online courses. We believe this will prepare you for your future studies, whether it be campus-based, online or a combination of the two.

Welcome and induction

If you are joining one of our online courses, we aim to provide a safe virtual environment to develop your academic skills and confidence, as well as opportunities to join a friendly and welcoming online student community. All students, as part of their welcome and induction are given an online talk by the BIA Welfare Officer and the International Student Support Coordinator. This will cover online safety, our expectations of students and who they can talk to if they 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 good internet connection, an appropriate study space in their home and that they share their online timetable with their parent or an adult member of their household.

Our expectations 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.

The code of practice sets out our expectations for attendance and academic engagement. We 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 an adult member of their household. This will enable them to monitor the student’s internet use during online lessons and academic engagement.

Attendance and monitoring

Students are expected to attend all scheduled online lessons, seminars and 1-1s with their academic tutors. Students are also expected to make full use of learning material for their programme of study. We monitor student attendance in their online classes 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. If we have concerns, this will be followed up by the BIA Welfare Officer and the relevant Programme Manager who may arrange an online meeting with the student.


All BIA staff are expected to have completed the University’s online training on how to safeguard young people. Additional training is given to BIA Tutors on online safety and best practice 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.

Safeguarding children and young people within the University

All Staff who have regular online interaction 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 have been put in place to ensure that our online lessons are delivered in line with best practice. Online lessons delivered by our EAP Tutors are recorded to enable student to access lessons afterwards. These live lessons are monitored by another member of the team to ensure they are running smoothly and to pick up any issues that may occur. The BIA has a number of Designated Safeguarding Officers (DSOs). These are staff members who receive specialist training on child protection. We have a DSO available throughout live online lessons to pick up any safeguarding issues that might occur during lessons so that these can be followed up quickly in line with our safeguarding policies.

Students under the age of 18 are expected to fully engage with their online lessons and will be expected to have scheduled 1-1s with their academic tutors. These will be agreed in advance and we expect the student to share details of these with their parent or an adult member of their household so that they can drop into the session to monitor the session.

Social activities

We believe strongly that in order for students to make most of the opportunities to develop their academic skills and confidence that students should make full use of our programme of social activities. This enables students to interact with other students in a secure online room, led by a member of BIA staff. Students will have the chance to develop their social skills, mix with other students and practice their English language skills.

The BIA runs a programme of age-appropriate online 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-18.

Further information

If you require further information we would encourage you to contact the BIA Welfare Officer by email at: