Pathways to Birmingham Eligibility Criteria

Pathways to Birmingham supports students to decide on the best route for their future. Our eligibility criteria ensures we recruit priority students who will benefit most from our activity which is designed to raise aspirations and prepare for higher education study.

Follow the steps below to see if you meet our Pathways to Birmingham eligibility criteria:

You currently attend a Pathways to Birmingham partner school [1] and have attended a non-selective state-funded school in the UK at Key Stage 4 (GCSE or equivalent) [2]



You will be eligible if you have had experience of public care [3]

OR meet at least three of the following measures:

  • You  attend or attended a school or college that performs below the national average at Key Stage 4 or Key Stage 5 [4]
  • You currently live in a low progression area [5]
  • You are in the first generation of your immediate family to attend higher education [6]
  • Your household income is below the national average (below £42,875) [7]
  • You have a disability and are in receipt of a personal independence payment [8] 
  • You are estranged from both of your parents or guardians [9]


If you only meet two of the criteria at stage 2, we will still consider your application if you also meet one of the following:

  • You are currently living in a quintile one POLAR3/4 area [5]
  • You have experienced significant extenuating circumstances that has had (or is having) a detrimental impact on academic attainment [10]
  • You provide unpaid care to a friend or family member (is a young carer) [11]
  • You have been in receipt of or eligible for Free School Meals in the last 6 years [12]


A2B applicants[13] must also:

  • Be applying to study at least one full-time undergraduate programme (not including Foundation Year programmes) at the University of Birmingham.
  • Currently be completing at least one A Level or equivalent qualification
  • Not have completed and passed the Realising Opportunities Programme or a Year 12 Pathways to Birmingham programme [14] prior to applying for A2B.

If you meet the criteria as stated in the steps above, you will be eligible for any of our Pathways to Birmingham programmes and should apply when applications open in September 2019.


 Additional Information

[1] Typically a state-funded school, college or sixth form in the greater West Midlands that has elected to be a Pathways to Birmingham partner school. NASS students must attend a non-selective state school with a high proportion of free school meals and/ or in inner-city areas.

[2] If you are a refugee or an asylum seeker, we will still consider your application if your Key Stage 4 qualifications were not taken in the UK. 

[3] Experience of public care is defined as currently being looked after by a local authority, foster parents/other family members, at home with their parents under the supervision of social services, in a residential children’s home or in another residential setting such as school or secure unit, or someone who has experienced a period of three months in the care of the local authority within the last ten years.

[4] Determined by the performance of your school/college at Key Stage 4 or 5, based on the data on the Department for Education’s school performance database. To check your school, use this tool and search for your school. To view your school’s performance at Key Stage 4, click the ‘Secondary’ tab and view the Attainment 8 Score for school and how this compares to the national average. To view your school’s performance at Key Stage 5, click the ’16-18’ tab to see the average point scores for A Levels and other qualifications and how this compares to the national average. If your school appears under these measure to be below the national average you will be deemed to have met this criteria.

[5] Measured by POLAR3 or POLAR4 young participation quintile 1 or 2. To check your postcode, visit the Office for Students’ postcode look-up. Your postcode should be assessed as 1 or 2 under the first and/or last boxes for ‘young participation’ as shown below:Postcode look up

[6] You are considered to be in the first generation of your immediate family to attend higher education if neither of your parents/guardians have obtained a degree from a university in the UK or abroad before your secondary or further education began. If either of your parents began a degree qualification but withdrew before completion, this is not considered as having obtained a degree. Whether an applicant’s siblings or cousins went to or currently attend university is not taken into consideration.

[7] An annual household income should be judged before tax. Support on what classifies can be found on the Student Finance England website. We may give additional consideration to applicants with very low household incomes e.g. those in receipt of free school meals, 16-19 Bursary Fund or Discretionary Learner Support relating to financial hardship. 

[8] Students should be in receipt of a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) at the 'enhanced' rate in either the 'daily living' or 'mobility' components, OR the 'standard' rate in both components.

[9] Defined as a young person who has no communicative relationship with either of their biological parents/legal guardians and who does not expect this situation to be reconciled. This must be verified by a teacher or adviser.

[10] Extenuating circumstances that affect exams or likelihood of going to university will be considered on an individual basis and must be verified by a teacher or advisor. A moderation board will ensure consistency across programmes.

[11] Young carers are defined as persons under the age of 18 who help look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol. There is no time limit on the amount of care they provide for their dependents, this is just above and beyond what is normally expected. A moderation board will be ensure consistency across programmes. This must be verified by a teacher or adviser.

[12] This must be verified by a teacher or adviser.

[13] Year 12 Pathways to Birmingham participants are required to meet these conditions in Year 13 should they choose to apply to the University of Birmingham and wish to be eligible to apply for a Pathways to Birmingham offer.

[14] Pathways to Birmingham include Academic Enrichment Programme, Inspired@Birmingham or Routes to the Professions.