Students under 18

These pages provide useful information for students who will be under the age of 18 whilst studying, and for their parents/guardians.

We understand that starting university can be an exciting but daunting time, particularly when you're under 18. The University is committed to supporting all students to help them settle in and make the most of their time at Birmingham.


Can students who are aged under 18 apply for University accommodation?

Students under the age of 18 are able to apply for accommodation in the same way as any other student. If you are a student under the age of 18 and wish to be co-located in accommodation with other students under the age of 18, this can be requested in the notes section of your application. The University will ensure that students under the age of 18 will only be accommodated in University owned and managed accommodation.

If you are a Birmingham International Academy Foundation Pathway student who will be under the age of 18 when your accommodation contract is due to start, you will only be able to apply for Shackleton accommodation, where you will be co-located with other Birmingham International Academy students. This accommodation is located close to the Residential Advisor; ensuring support is always close by. You can choose either to take a catered package or to be self-catered.

Can students who are aged under 18 enter into contracts for accommodation?

Students aged 16 and 17 are able to enter into contracts for accommodation. However, we ask that students who will be either aged 16 or 17 on the date when they are due to move into their accommodation, have their accommodation contract counter-signed by a parent or guardian. 

This means the contract cannot be completed online and a contract will be issued to you by email, which will need to be signed by both you and a parent/guardian and then returned to the University.

What measures are in place to protect students under 18 living in University accommodation?

The University of Birmingham is committed to ensuring a safe and supportive environment exists for all staff, students and visitors to the University.

In Student Accommodation we have developed and implemented robust procedures, which have been adapted from the University’s Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy to specifically provide support and a framework to report incidents or concerns staff may have about residents under the age of 18. 

All complaints about accommodation, minor incidents or if a resident is in any form of distress, upset or has an injury, staff will refer this to the Customer Service Manager (CSM), responsible for Birmingham International Academy residents and under 18 year old residents, as soon as possible. 

For more serious incidents where a resident’s welfare is being affected, is in danger or an emergency situation arises staff will contact the emergency services immediately and contact a Manager and the Customer Service Manager (CSM). The CSM will consider the matter and refer to the appropriate third parties, such as the University’s Child Protection Officer, the Police or Local Authority.

Relevant staff working in Student Accommodation have been vetted by the Government’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). In addition they have received training and advice on how to support all residents, in particular, those who are under 18 years of age.   

Student Accommodation provides a 24-hour service throughout the year across the three student villages and all residents, including those under 18, can access this service for a variety of needs.  

Wherever possible accommodation staff will have contact with under 18 year old residents in an open environment, avoiding situations in which an adult and an individual child or young person are alone. If staff are required to visit an under 18 resident in their study bedroom to carry out a repair they will do this with a colleague rather than on their own.

 Legal information

What steps does the University take to seek to prevent the purchase of alcohol and tobacco by students who are under 18?

It is illegal for someone under 18 to attempt to buy alcohol or to be sold alcohol or to consume alcohol in relevant premises. It is also illegal to sell tobacco products to someone under 18.

The University will take reasonable steps to seek to ensure that the law is not broken in this way but cannot undertake to supervise any individual student.

Students can be asked by bar staff to provide proof of age when attempting to purchase alcohol at a University bar. Students who are under 18 are issued with an identity card that is a different colour and this can help bar staff to make the distinction and decide who they should refuse to serve.

What general measures does the University have in place to ensure safeguarding of students aged under 18?

The University is not able to take on the usual rights, responsibilities and authority that parents have in relation to a child and it will not act ‘in loco parentis’ in relation to students who are under 18 years of age.

While it is predominantly an adult environment, the University does recognise that it interacts with children in various ways, including on occasions, its own students. The University therefore has in place a Safeguarding Children & Young People Policy to help make relevant staff aware of the issues and risks of working with children and to provide guidance. The Policy also includes procedures that should be followed in the event that a member of staff has safeguarding concerns about a child.

  • Safeguarding Children & Young People Policy (PDF - 83KB)

Will the University share information with the parents/guardians of a student aged under 18 about their academic progress and/or welfare?

Parents should be aware that UK law on data protection means that the University is not permitted to give information about its students to third parties (including parents), without the student’s explicit consent. This applies even when the student is under 18 years of age. The University will therefore correspond with students not parents.

However parents will be contacted in case of emergency and for this reason it is important that students ensure that the University has up to date contact information.

Can a student aged under 18 give consent to medical treatment?

Under UK law, a child between 16 and 18 years can give valid consent to medical treatment. Should a child refuse emergency treatment, a parent or person with parental responsibility can give such consent on behalf of the child. However a parent or person with parental responsibility cannot overturn consent validly given by a child.

If a medical emergency requires action before parents or guardians can be contacted, the University will act on medical advice and do what is considered to be in the best interests of the child. Parents and students should notify the University of any medical procedures that they would not consent to or which may be prohibited by their customs or religion.

Safety and security

Where can I find advice about staying safe on campus?

A: 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.

Can students under the age of 18 years undertake the same activities as part of their study (regarding health and safety impacts)?

Yes. Students under the age of 18 years have a different status under the health and safety legislation (as “young persons”), but in most cases if you are a student under 18 you will still be able to undertake the same work as if you were over 18 (because, in all cases the health and safety risks will be assessed and controlled regardless of the age of the students).

There is a requirement for the University health and risk assessments to take into account that the student is under 18 years of age, and in some cases to provide additional control measures. In these circumstances, the findings of risk assessments may be shared with parents or guardians. In a very limited number of circumstances, there are prohibitions or limits on exposure to certain specific risks (for example, relating to exposure to carcinogens, or some specific exposures to radiation).

How are the occupational health provisions the University makes to students changed where an individual is under 18 years of age?

In general, where it is appropriate for occupational health provision to be extended to students (for example, health screening prior to working in certain laboratories), this provision will automatically be extended to students under the age of 18.  There may be a requirement for parents and guardians to provide medical consent for some occupational health testing or services.

Student experience

What Welcome events are available for students who are aged under 18?

The University and the Guild of Students offers an inclusive social programme, including events that are alcohol-free such as afternoon teas, BBQs, film, pizza and 'mocktail' (non-alcoholic cocktail) nights. Visit the Welcome Timetable from August for full details of all of the events being run across campus during Welcome Week.

Can students who are aged under 18 be a member or an officer of a group or society?

The Guild of Students has more than 200 groups and societies, so there's something for everyone and all students are encouraged to join in and get involved, regardless of age.

However, if you are a student under the age of 18 you will not be able to hold office until after your 18th birthday because some positions carry legal responsibilities. Participation in some activities may be limited. 

Can students who are under 18 attend field trips and other visits away from the campus?

Risk assessments are carried out before all field trips and provision is made for inclusion of under 18s where possible. Participation in some activities may be limited. 


Who can students under 18 talk to if feeling unhappy or homesick?

The Mental Health and Wellbeing service are here to support students during their studies and offer confidential appointments throughout the year. Please visit the Mental Health and Wellbeing website for details on how to arrange an appointment.

Will parents/guardians be informed a student under 18 has seen a counsellor?

The Counselling service at the University is confidential. Staff are not permitted to disclose names/details of students who contact them for support. This applies to all students, including those under 18. See Information about students' progress for more details.

How can parents/guardians support their son or daughter who is under 18?

Visit How to help for advice about how you can help your son or daughter adjust to university life.

Help and contacts

Need help or have a question? Check out our student help page.

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