Transparency Condition Information

The Office for Students (OfS) requires the University to publish a series of data showing admissions related data, continuation data (to follow in 2020), and attainment data in a prescribed format. The University of Birmingham data is set out below.


Office for Students introduction

The information published on these pages shows:

The number of applications for admission on to recognised, undergraduate higher education courses that we have received from UK domiciled applicants.

The number of offers we have made in relation to those applications.

The number of those offers accepted and the number of those who have registered with us.

The number of students who attained a particular degree or other academic award, or a particular level of such an award, on completion of their course with us.

It also shows these numbers by reference to:

  • The gender of the individuals to which they relate
  • Their ethnicity
  • Their socio-economic background

It is important to note that the data presented has not been contextualised. This means, for example, that you will not be able to see from this data how many of those applying to courses met the entry criteria. It is also the case that universities and colleges will often receive many more applications than they have spaces on courses and so offer rates will necessarily be lower than application rates in those circumstances.

The detailed data is available to download in the Transparency Tables 2019 spreadsheet.

Table 1a: Summary of applications, offers, acceptances and registrations for 2018-19 entrants

Table 1a: Summary of applications, offers, acceptances and registrations for 2018-19 entrants
      Number of applications Percentage of applications that received an offer Percentage of applications that  accepted an offer Percentage of applications that led to a registration
Full Time Ethnicity White 26620 79.9% 14.7% 14.4%
    BAME 15100 61.4% 10.7% 10.5%
  EIMD quintile 1 and 2 12920 58.7% 10.6% 10.3%
    3 to 5 27290 79.8% 14.6% 14.2%
  Gender Male 18060 71.9% 11.9% 11.7%
    Female 24080 73.9% 14.2% 13.8%
    Other N N N N
Part Time Ethnicity White 240 96% 86% 83%
    BAME N N N N
  EIMD quintile 1 and 2 60 91% 82% 75%
    3 to 5 210 96% 86% 82%
  Gender Male 190 97% 94% 89%
    Female 100 89% 69% 63%
    Other N N N N
Apprenticeships Ethnicity White 70 65% 40% 40%
    BAME 40 70% 25% 25%
  EIMD quintile 1 and 2 30 55% 15% 15%
    3 to 5 80 70% 45% 45%
  Gender Female 30 75% 45% 45%
    Male 80 65% 30% 30%
    Other N N N N
N/A Not applicable as no qualifiers at this mode and level
N 24 or fewer students in this population
DP Data suppressed for data protection reasons

Table 1a: Birmingham commentary

The University of Birmingham has embraced widening participation and fair access since its foundation and is committed to ensuring that students from all backgrounds have the opportunity to study with us. Three quarters of our UK undergraduate first-degree students are from state schools, one third are first generation students, and one fifth are from disadvantaged backgrounds (Polar Quintiles 1 and 2). Our diversity is a source of strength, and it underpins the exchange of ideas, innovation, and debate, which is at the heart of our academic mission. We have a long and successful track record in pioneering access for students from all backgrounds, and we are continuing that ambition through our Access and Participation Plan.

We are the only University to have opened a secondary school. Its distinctive ‘nodal admissions’ policy is designed to reflect the diversity of the city of Birmingham, and has led to the school being one of most diverse in Birmingham. 36% of the Key Stage 3 intake qualify for Pupil Premium Funding (above national and West Midlands averages), whilst 14.6% of pupils were eligible for free school meals and 17.3% of the intake had English as an additional language. 80% (112 students) of the school’s 2017/18 A-level group gained places at universities, with 43% of these students progressing to Russell Group institutions.

Our access programmes are collectively known as Pathways to Birmingham, which includes our flagship Access to Birmingham programme. We were one of the first universities to use contextual offers, with up to two grade reductions for those who had demonstrated the potential to succeed but not reached the standard entry tariff. Pathways to Birmingham also includes a number of other schemes to support access to Birmingham, including Routes to the ProfessionsRealising Opportunities, and Academic Enrichment programmes, as well as the National Summer School. Further detail about the measures and support we have in place to support increased access can be found in our Access and Participation Plan.

The transparency data in the table above indicate that offer rates to Black and Asian students are lower than those to White students, and that offer rates to students from disadvantaged backgrounds (IMD1) are lower than offers to those from more advantaged backgrounds (IMD5). It is important to set these data in context, recognising that many of the issues are rooted in prior attainment at secondary education level.

90% of White applicants to the University of Birmingham are predicted to achieve grades ABB or better at A-level (our typical offer), compared to 82% of Asian applicants and 77% of Black applicants. Applicants from Black and Asian backgrounds are therefore more likely to apply with predicted grades that do not meet our typical offer criteria. This results in offer rates for these groups being lower. Our own analysis shows that when prior/predicted attainment is taken into account, our offer rates are broadly equal across the different ethnicity groups. It is important to note that the UCAS process means that the University does not know an applicant’s ethnic background when making decisions on applications.

In relation to actual attainment at A-level, 61% of White applicants go on to achieve ABB or better, compared to 35% of Black applicants and 48% of Asian applicants. As a result, the number of offers accepted is lower for these groups.

 A similar picture emerges when looking at measures of disadvantage. 79% of applicants to the University of Birmingham in Polar 4 Quintile 1 (which is broadly equivalent to IMD1) are predicted to achieve ABB or better, whereas 92% of applicants from Q5 are predicted to achieve these grades.

In relation to actual attainment, 44% of quintile 1 applicants go on to achieve ABB or better, compared to 65% of quintile 5 applicants. As a result, the number of offers accepted is lower for applicants from lower participation areas.

These issues are consistent with the national picture and they point to a complex, national challenge at schools, with many of the factors being outside of the University’s control, notably prior attainment. The University is committed to playing its part in addressing these issues and we have a range of actions in place in response, as set out above. We are also working with partners across the higher education sector to address these challenges and support increased access to higher education. One of the strategic aims outlined in our Access and Participation Plan is focussed specifically on collaborative initiatives to support improving prior attainment and subsequent progression to university-level study.

Table 2a: Percentage of first degrees at grade 2:1 or above by characteristic for 2017-18 qualifiers

Table 2a: Percentage of first degrees at grade 2:1 or above by characteristic for 2017-18 qualifiers
Ethnicity BAME 79.9%
White 91.6%
EIMD quintile 1 and 2 79.8%
3 to 5 91.5%
Gender Female 90.4%
Male 86.3%
Other N
N/A Not applicable as no qualifiers at this mode and level
N 24 or fewer students in this population
DP Data suppressed for data protection reasons

Table 2a: Birmingham commentary

The University of Birmingham provides its students with an excellent education. We are rated Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework, and our students’ outcomes are better than the sector in absolute terms in terms of continuation, attainment, and graduate employability. Birmingham students from under-represented groups are as likely (if not more likely) to achieve a First or 2:1 degree classification than the average student at an English university. Student attainment is better than the sector average for each of the four under-represented groups that the Office for Students has highlighted as a priority (Polar 4 Quintile 1, Black Asian and Minority Ethnic groups, mature students, and disabled students), and in some cases better.

It is important to note that a relatively large proportion of our Asian and ‘Other’ ethnicity students are studying Medicine and Dentistry degrees. These appear in table 2b as ‘degrees that do not lead to a classification’.

The data in table 2A above show that there is an 11.7%pt difference between the proportion of BAME and White students who achieve a First or 2:1 degree classification. There is also an 11.7%pt difference between students from high and low socioeconomic backgrounds (IMD3-5 and 1-2 respectively) on the same measure. Whilst these gaps are smaller than the national position, and our students’ absolute performance in achieving good honours is better than the sector average, we take these gaps seriously and have already identified actions to address the position. Our actions in response are set out below.

The University has committed to implementing the Universities UK framework for addressing the BAME attainment gap, and a number of initiatives supported by the framework are already underway. Our sector-leading Equalities and Diversity Ambassador Scheme is one example of the support we provide. The Scheme supports students to be successful, empowered and to develop a sense of belonging through peer-to-peer networks. Our Academic Skills Centre provides students with their academic transition, progression and attainment through targeted support to develop the academic, digital and study skills needed for successful higher education study. In line with the UUK BAME attainment framework, we are establishing mechanisms for good practice to be shared across the institution and for staff training to take place in priority areas.

Our Birmingham Scholar framework provides a range of targeted, personalised interventions to support specific groups (including BAME students and those from a low socioeconomic background) of applicants, students and recent-graduates who are likely to face additional challenges throughout their student journey.

A key part of the Birmingham Scholar programme is Pathways through Study. Through this framework, we provide further academic support to students (in addition to that available to all students) from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds. Our interventions start with support for transition, developing belongingness, wellbeing support on course and the opportunity to develop academic skills that underpin successful study.

Through our Access and Participation Plan, we have committed to reducing the attainment gaps for Black, Asian and POLAR 4 Quintile 1 (broadly equivalent to IMD5) students.