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Coronavirus information for applicants and offer holders

This page will be kept up-to-date as and when the situation for Birmingham City University applicants and offer holders changes. For all up-to-date details about coronavirus, the Government web pages are being frequently updated.

Last updated: Tuesday 7 April 2020

Information for applicants and offer holders

 What will the news about exams means for me as an offer holder / applicant?

We understand that the Government’s decision to cancel exams will leave many Year 13 students concerned about their university place. We want to reassure you that we will do all we can to ensure that no one is disadvantaged as a result and are today announcing some changes to the offers we have already made.

The University has taken the decision to move conditional offer holders who have five or more GCSEs at grade 4 or above OR have been predicted to meet that offer to an unconditional offer, as long as you have achieved grade 4 or above in your English Language and Maths GCSEs at first sitting.

This means that if you already have a conditional offer from us and have five GCSEs at 4 and above including English language and mathematics, this offer is now unconditional and if you accept our offer you will have a confirmed place at Birmingham City University in September. If you already have a conditional offer from us, achieved grade 4 or above in English language and mathematics GCSEs at your first attempt, and you have been predicted to achieve the grades set out in that offer, this is now also unconditional, so if you accept our offer you will have a confirmed place at Birmingham City University in September.

For those students who have a degree offer from us but do not have five GCSEs at grade 4 or above and do not have predicted grades which meet the terms of the offer, your conditional offer will still stand at this stage. If you have already accepted, or plan to accept this offer but are concerned about whether you will be successful in meeting the offer, we will guarantee you a place on a related Foundation Year as a back-up. If you want us to make this course swap now (to a Foundation Year) so that you are holding an unconditional offer in UCAS, please email Admissions@bcu.ac.uk. We would always transfer you back to year 1 of the degree if you subsequently met the requirements for the degree offer.

There are a small number of courses for which we are unable to make unconditional offers because they are regulated by professional bodies – these are listed below.

In the next few days, we will be processing these offers via UCAS and will email you again to confirm exactly what unconditional offer we are making you, based on your GCSEs. In the meantime, please see below for answers to some of the questions you may have, or check our website for more information as we have it.

***Updated 24 March 2020***

The government has requested all universities temporarily postpone the formal making of unconditional offers following the introduction of its latest social distancing measures. Birmingham City University will of course be complying with this request. 

This slight delay will not disadvantage any prospective students, but the process of transferring offers is currently on hold to comply with government guidance.

 How will grades will be awarded in the absence of GCSE, AS and A level examinations this summer and given changes to assessment and learning for vocational qualifications? 

Ofqual published guidance on 3rd April outlining how it is aiming to award GCSEs, AS and A levels in the summer 2020, in the absence of the previously planned examinations. The guidance sets out how schools and colleges are being asked to produce grades for each student based on a range of information.

This does not apply for students taking other general and vocational or technical qualifications – whether instead of or alongside GCSEs, AS and A levels. For students studying Access to HE qualifications, work is underway to clarify how grades will be awarded – this update includes reference to those expected to complete their studies before and after 31 July 2020. More information for BTEC learners is expected to be published shortly.

 I have a conditional offer from BCU – what does that mean now?

If you have five or more GCSEs at grade 4 or above including English language and mathematics – we are pleased to confirm that your offer is now unconditional, and you will have a confirmed place for September, if you have or will be accepting the offer – unless your course is one of a small number of courses listed below.

If you have been predicted to achieve the grades set out in your offer, and achieved grade 4 or above in English language and mathematics GCSEs at your first attempt - we are pleased to confirm that your offer is now unconditional, and you will have a confirmed place for September, if you have or will be accepting the offer – unless your course is one of a small number of courses listed below.

If you have a degree offer from us but do not have five GCSEs at grade 4 or above and do not have predicted grades which meet the terms of the offer, your conditional offer will still stand at this stage. If you have already accepted, or plan to accept this offer but are concerned about whether you will be successful in meeting the offer, we will guarantee you a place on a related Foundation Year as a back-up. If you want us to make this course swap now (to a Foundation Year) so that you are holding an unconditional offer in UCAS, please email Admissions@bcu.ac.uk. We would always transfer you back to year 1 of the degree if you subsequently met the requirements for the degree offer.

***Updated 24 March 2020***

The government has requested all universities temporarily postpone the formal making of unconditional offers following the introduction of its latest social distancing measures. Birmingham City University will of course be complying with this request. 

This slight delay will not disadvantage any prospective students, but the process of transferring offers is currently on hold to comply with government guidance.

 Which courses are not eligible for unconditional offers?

The following courses are excluded from Unconditional Offers and Contextualised Conditional Offers;

  • BA (Hons) Architecture; BA (Hons) Interior Architecture & Design
  • BEng (Hons) courses in Automotive Engineering; Civil Engineering; Electronic Engineering; Manufacturing Engineering; Mechanical Engineering
  • BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS; BA (Hons) Secondary PE with QTS; BSc (Hons) Social Work; BSc (Hons) Secondary Computing with QTS; BSc (Hons) Secondary Science Biology with QTS; BA (Hons) Conductive Education
  • BSc (Hons) courses in Diagnostic Radiography; Midwifery; Nursing (Adult, Child, Learning Disability or Mental Health); Operating Department Practice; Paramedic Science; Radiotherapy; Speech and Language Therapy; BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy
  • Sports courses also require a GCSE in Science

Wider exclusions include:

  • Music and Acting courses which recruit via the UCAS Conservatoires Scheme
  • Non BA/BSc provision (DipHE, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree and HND)
  • Two-year fast-track degrees
  • Integrated Masters
 When will I receive my updated offer?

As you can imagine, the admissions team is currently very busy ensuring all offers are updated. Therefore, it may be a few days before we process your offer and send an updated confirmation – but please be assured that if you meet the criteria above, your unconditional offer will be confirmed.

 I do not have an offer yet from BCU – what does that mean for me?

We are still accepting applications and are busy getting offers out as quickly as we can, so we will be in touch if we are able to make you an offer. The offer strategy above will be applied to all new applications where eligible.

 Will I get the Meet or Beat scholarship?

Eligibiity for our Meet or Beat scholarship is based on your results meeting or exceeding our published entry requirements. The Government has promised more details around ‘alternative arrangements’ to exams this summer. For all offer-holders who meet the terms of the scholarship under those alternative arrangements, we will honour the scholarship and you will still receive the £850. We will update you when we know more about what the Government is proposing. All new entrants also receive £150 credit for our online shop.

 I already have my A-level or BTEC results.

If this is the case, your original unconditional offer, and any eligibility for scholarships is unchanged.

 Should I still book my accommodation?

Our accommodation team are accepting bookings for September so please do go ahead and book your accommodation if you have an offer from us.

When will I find out about accommodation?

Due to the disruption, we have changed the date when we will make you your room offer for university accommodation. Students who have accepted Birmingham City University as their firm choice and hold an Unconditional Course Offer will receive a room offer from 1 May 2020. Students who have accepted Birmingham City University as firm choice and hold a Conditional Course Offer will receive a room offer from 13 August 2020.

I'm due to enrol on my course soon. Will that still go ahead?

While the University remains closed, there will be no face-to-face enrolment sessions or course inductions. Please check your email for further updates from the course team.

I am a Postgraduate student due to start Semester 3 in June. Will my course start on time?

The situation will be reviewed over the coming months, and further announcements will be made as the pattern of COVID-19 transmission becomes clearer. We will let you know more, including a schedule, once we know when the campus will reopen.

General enquiries

What is coronavirus and COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.

The symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature
  • shortness of breath

But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.

The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.

How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus?

Do:

wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
always wash your hands when you get home or into work
use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Don't:

touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

If you believe you might be at risk, you can call NHS 111 or use the dedicated online tool. Government advice asks anyone with a new persistent cough or high temperature to self-isolate for seven days, as the UK government moves to the "delay" phase of its plan to tackle coronavirus.

The World Health Organization has detailed updates on its website about the current worldwide situation.

What can I do while the country is in lockdown?

The Government has outlined that you should only leave your house for the limited purposes only:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home

Read more about what you can and can’t do on the Government website.

What is the University doing about coronavirus?

The University set up its first dedicated task force on Monday 20 January 2020 due to our strong links with the city of Wuhan, Hubei province including two University partnerships. This group is led by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Prof Clare Mackie and includes key staff from all relevant areas of the University. It has been meeting regularly and updating staff and students with information and evidence supported by advice from Public Health England, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Education. We have since established a number of other groups to ensure we are considering all implications for our University community.

These groups have been working to safeguard staff and students as far as possible from the spread of the virus.

What steps have been taken so far?

Initially, we remained in close contact with students and staff who study/deliver our degrees in China and those students and staff who may have recently returned to the UK from Wuhan or Hubei Province, as well as our partners in Wuhan. The initial group worked with staff based in Wuhan at the time of the initial shutdown, and kept in close communication with both them and students returning from China, to ensure both their safety and well-being, and that of the wider university population.

We have ensured all affected staff and students – whether they are from areas most affected or have friends and family in those areas – are supported by our well-being teams and relevant counselling services. The group has also worked extremely closely with halls of residence partners to ensure students based there receive appropriate advice, care and support, and has also put in place measures to review all business travel before staff leave the country. Additional hand sanitiser was ordered and received at the beginning of February then distributed across all university buildings.

More recently, we have suspended all face-to-face teaching on our campuses with immediate effect. Academic staff have been moving as much teaching material online as possible with support from the teams across their faculties. From Monday 30 March, we will be teaching online for the rest of this semester.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday 23 March, we closed our campuses with immediate effect to all staff and students. This included the closure of libraries and all other facilities, however student accommodation remains open at present.

We are constantly reviewing Government advice in light of the changing situation. Any relevant updates will be posted here or in the intranet page for staff.

How do I keep updated about the latest University information about coronavirus (COVID-19 outbreak)?

This page will be kept up-to-date as and when the situation for Birmingham City University staff, students and visitors changes. Staff can also see regular updates on the intranet page. For all up-to-date details about coronavirus, the Government web pages are being frequently updated.

Students should also check their BCU email regularly for updates, while staff will continue to receive messages in the Tiger Today newsletter.

To date, there have been no confirmed cases amongst our staff or student body. Should this change, we will immediately offer advice to staff and students about next steps.

International students

I am an international student holding an offer from BCU – will I be able to start my studies at the University in September?

It is currently our expectation that International students will be able to study at BCU in the normal way but we are closely monitoring events in the UK and globally and will contact you with more information as the situation becomes more clear.

Will the University still process my applications for September?

Yes we are continuing to provide our admissions service and process our applications, issuing offers and taking deposits. 

If I pay my deposit and my course is not running, will I get a refund?

Applicants are presently able to pay their deposit in the usual way. If borders are closed to international travel, or prohibitive restrictions apply in the student’s home country or in the UK, the University will refund the money paid by an applicant.

I am an international student who has applied to BCU but my examinations have been cancelled so I am uncertain about how I will achieve my qualifications.

Birmingham City University is determined not to disadvantage students from any country whose education has been disrupted by the pandemic. We are aware that lots of countries are having the same difficulties in completing examinations and awarding grades as we are currently experiencing in the UK.

BCU is supportive of formal arrangements to replace exams with a different model of awarding qualifications. If you are an international student living in the UK and studying qualifications validated by UK examination boards, please see information in our FAQs titled.