All student email, Friday 29 May

Dear student,

We know many of you have asked about plans for the next academic year and in today’s update we are pleased to share the first details of our plans including information about our on campus and online approach to learning, discussions with large private accommodation providers to negotiate some flexibility and our approach to maintaining social distancing while on campus.

We also share a reminder that campus remains under restricted operations and not open for leisure visits.

If you missed it the first time, you can catch up with the Vice-Chancellor’s Great Debate on trust and social media online and we also share the fantastic charitable work of Birmingham MedSoc students who have raised £25,000 for charity.

Today’s update includes:

  • Update on plans for the 20/21 academic year
  • Restricted operations on campus remain in place
  • Catch up on the Vice-Chancellor’s Great Debate
  • Birmingham MedSoc students run, swim, cycle and canoe 37,000km for charity


Update on plans for the 20/21 academic year

We know many of you are keen to find out what the next academic year holds, how your course will be taught, and what will resources and support will be available, both on campus and online.

We are starting to reopen parts of the Edgbaston campus from next week for some essential activities, and we are planning for the campus to be open in September for teaching. The University is planning to welcome as many students as possible from its global community for the start of the next academic year, guided as always by advice from the UK Government and Public Health England.

As previously confirmed, term dates for next year will remain as they were originally scheduled in order to help our students to start to make plans for the autumn.

Given the uncertainty about the COVID-19 crisis through the next academic year, we are preparing to teach both on-campus and online from the start of the autumn term. We are working on the basis that lectures will initially take place online because current social distancing measures make large gatherings impossible. However, putting lectures online creates more (socially distanced) space on campus for other activities to take place, including some seminars, tutorials and lab activities where possible. Nearer the start of term we expect to have further clarity about the mix of online and on-campus teaching, based on the government guidance at that time.

Student and staff safety is a key priority and these steps will increase our resilience, while also ensuring that we continue to follow government guidance and maintain safety and social distancing on campus.  The campus experience may feel different at first as we apply new precautions to keep everyone safe, but our strong community will help us all to adapt and support each other.

To help us plan for the next academic year we have developed a Framework for Educational Resilience 2020-21 and work to define what this means for each course is underway in academic departments, with input from Student Representatives and the Guild of Students.  As part of this, we remain committed to ensuring that students can continue to access a high quality teaching experience, as well as a wide range of campus support services such as the Library, including access to study spaces and PC clusters, Careers Network and Student Wellbeing teams, both in person and at a distance as appropriate. As such, and consistent with the guidance from the Office for Students, there will be no change in the fees charged for degree programmes.

We recognise that students are keen to firm up accommodation plans for the next academic year. For University accommodation next year, we have extended the application deadline to offer students some much needed flexibility. We are also in discussion with local large private accommodation providers to encourage them to be as flexible as possible for next year and will update students on these conversations as soon as possible.

We can reassure you that we are taking steps to ensure that campus is a safe and secure environment when you return. We will be adhering to government policy but also ensuring that we use our own academic expertise which has contributed to the national and international fight against Coronavirus. Work is ongoing to develop a full set of measures that will be in place by September, and we will keep you updated in the coming weeks as our plans take shape.

We are grateful for all of your ongoing understanding and patience at this time. This remains a fast moving situation and we cannot say with any degree of certainty what the government’s social distancing advice will be from September so we will continue to keep the situation under review and update students as and when we can through these regular bulletins.


Restricted operations on campus remain in place

While the Edgbaston Campus is still under restricted opening we would like to remind students who live locally that the campus is not open for general use including exercise, walks, and photography.

We understand that you will be missing campus - we are too.  But in order to maintain the safety and security of the site at this time we are maintaining the campus closure to the public and to all students and non-essential staff.   There is clear signage at all the pedestrian access points to remind everyone that the campus estate is currently closed.  This is for everyone’s safety, which we hope you will understand.

There are plenty of lovely walks around the Edgbaston Campus – including canal side walks and why not try a walk to Cannon Hill Park  We have also put together some walking routes from our accommodation sites and Selly Oak - please remember to look after yourselves and maintain a social distance.


Catch up on the Vice-Chancellor’s Great Debate

If you missed the very first online Vice-Chancellor’s Great Debate yesterday evening, you can catch up on the University’s YouTube channel or Facebook. This year, the panel considered "Trolls, flat-earthers and fake news purveyors: What are the challenges we face in trusting social media?"

Ritula Shah, journalist and regular presenter of The World Tonight on BBC Radio 4, returned for a third year to moderate a high profile panel featuring:

  • Anne McElvoy, Senior Editor, The Economist
  • Will Moy, Chief Executive, Full Fact
  • Isabel Oakeshott, Political journalist and commentator
  • Professor Alice Roberts, Professor of Public Engagement in Science, University of Birmingham


Birmingham MedSoc students run, swim, cycle and canoe 37,000km for charity

Meet our running, swimming, cycling and canoeing Medical School students who together have covered more than 37,000km during lockdown to raise money for charity.

The Birmingham MedSoc students were also joined by doctors - all former members of the sports clubs - to raise a fantastic £25,000 in one week with all money going to various charities struggling during the COVID-19 crisis.

They did this all in-between helping out in hospitals and supporting frontline staff.

To find out more visit the University’s Facebook page.


Best wishes

Student Communications Team


Professional Services