Monthly Archives: September 2008

Teacher Training: Information and Resources for Prospective Students

Teaching is a highly an enjoyable and thoroughly rewarding career for those who are motivated by helping others to learn and develop in an educational environment. The teaching profession offers a competitive starting salary for newly qualified teachers, opportunities for career progression into more senior teaching or management roles and the chance to make a real difference to the lives of those whom they teach.

There are specific routes to qualifying as a teacher depending on the sector individuals wish to teach in. The information detailed below is intended as a general guide to teacher training courses so it’s important that, whichever course you choose to apply for, you carefully research individual course providers’ requirements to ensure that you have a good understanding of their individual entry criteria.

Early Years and Primary Education

Early Years and Primary teaching can be studied for through an initial teacher training qualification as a BA or BEd degree which leads to Qualified Teacher Status. Continue reading Teacher Training: Information and Resources for Prospective Students

Thinking About Studying for a Part-time Course?

Over recent years, part-time study has become more appealing to a large number of people. Increased interest generated by employers’ staff development needs and individuals’ desires to further themselves educationally at various stages of their lives has seen Higher Education course providers move to offer more flexible study modes in addition to their full-time course provision to respond to this need.Part-time courses can range from short practical courses, professional qualifications and vocational studies through to academic courses at bachelors and masters degree level. Some courses may allow students to prepare for a change in their career or enhance their current one. Students may be able to study on a day release basis, in the evenings or at weekends depending on the course itself.

The benefits of part-time study mean that students with other commitments – whether work or family – have greater opportunities to access courses which accommodate these more effectively.

Funding part-time study

Financially, many part-time courses are more cost effective than full-time study in terms of actual fee amounts charged and the ability to pay for the course over a longer period of time. Some students may be able to gain funding from their employer if the course they are studying is relevant to their professional development and their employer agrees to this. Other students may be able to gain support for funding for eligible courses via their Local Education Authority. Continue reading Thinking About Studying for a Part-time Course?

Autumn Links Round-up for Prospective Undergrad Students

The new academic year’s now underway, meaning that our first year students have reached the end of the application process and are at the beginning of their life at university! Many people will now be in the same position they were in this time last year, with the seemingly daunting task of applying to university ahead of them.

As prospective students start thinking about where to begin, here’s a quick round-up of some useful websites to get you started:

UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service):

Information about the admissions process, deadlines, available subjects and links to university websites. You can apply for full-time undergraduate courses at universities across the UK using their online application system.

Searchable calendar of university open days. Open days are a must if you want to be in a good position to decide which universities end up on your UCAS form! Seeing the university first hand will help for you to get a feel for the place and decide whether it’s right for you.

A good site for general information about student finance, housing and student life. There are also links to online student finance application forms.

Additional resources for prospective students considering studying in Birmingham:

Birmingham Live and Learn

A new blog-based website written by university students in Birmingham for prospective or new students. Bloggers are students from Birmingham City University, Aston University and the University of Birmingham. A great way of getting a students-eye view of the city.

Visit Birmingham

General information about the city of Birmingham, and a good starting point for those travelling to Birmingham for an open day who may be looking for accommodation in the city during their visit.


Birmingham City University Open Days – October 3rd & 4th

Birmingham City University will be opening its doors to prospective students who are planning to apply for courses commencing in 2009 when its main open days take place next month.

The open days will be taking place on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th October provide a great opportunity to find out more about the full range of undergraduate courses on offer here at the university. With staff on hand to talk to enquirers about our courses and scheduled talks, subject workshops and tours happening throughout the day, prospective students can access as much information as they need to help them weigh up their university choices before making an application.

For more information please visit the open days section of the university’s website. To ensure you receive further details about the open day schedules before the event, you’re welcome to pre-register online.

Please call Choices on 0121 331 5595 if you have any questions about these upcoming events or would like to talk to us about your course options.




Settling in – Freshers week

Freshers week is now well underway and our office in the Students’ Union is buzzing with students attending the Freshers Fayre today, along with a random assortment of strange characters wandering around in giant inflatable costumes.   The event is organised by the Students’ Union and it’s a great opportunity to find out what’s going on within the University and around Birmingham in general.  Students can sign up to get involved in one of the many sports teams or societies within the University and there is loads of free stuff on offer as local bars, clubs and sporting and leisure venues all queue up to promote themselves to this year’s intake of new students.  Today’s goodie bag haul included free bowling tickets, baked beans (!) and posters from the Ikon gallery.

If you are new to student life in Birmingham or are thinking of studying here next year and want to find out what’s going on in the city then take a look at Keisha Thomson’s guide to the music and arts scene.  Keisha is a Birmingham City University student with a blog at Birmingham Live and Learn

Applying for PGCE courses commencing in 2009

If you’re planning to apply for a PGCE initial teacher training course commencing in September 2009, applications can now be submitted through the Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR). Applications should be made online at

Deadlines for applications are as follows:

  • 1st December 2008: Primary and Early Years courses for ‘on time’ applications. Applications received after this date up until 30th June 2009 will only be sent to universities if they have remaining vacancies on the course.
  • 30th June 2009: Last date for receipt of applications for PGCE courses at Secondary and Post-Compulsory Education and Training level.

Due to the popularity of PGCE courses in areas such as Primary and Early Years teaching, early applications are advisable – don’t wait for the deadline to creep up before making your application, as places on these courses are often being filled throughout the autumn. Whilst Secondary and Post-Compulsory Education and Training PGCE courses have a more flexible deadline, it’s worth bearing in mind that popular specialist subject areas, such as Art & Design, can fill quickly, so you should apply as early on in the application cycle as possible to be in a good position to be considered for your chosen courses.

Up-to-date vacancy information for PGCE courses can be found on the GTTR website.

Arriving at University

Starting university is an exciting time. Not only will you be embarking on a new course, but you’ll be meeting new people, possibly be living in a new city and adapting to university life – all at once! With so many things going on, here’s just a few essentials for new undergraduate students to think about when joining university.

Food shopping

Amidst all the excitement and upheaval, you’d be surprised the number of students who forget to sort out the essentials – like food! Think about the staple items you’ll need to tide you over for the first week and plan what you’ll need so you don’t have to make several trips to the supermarket. Stick within your budget – if you start out as you mean to go on, you stand a better chance of not running out of money by the end of term. Above all, make sure you eat properly.

Not sure of what to stock up on or stuck for ideas of what to cook? Get some ideas here and here

Register with a doctor and dentist

There’s only one thing that’s worse than feeling ill or having a raging toothache, and that’s feeling ill or having toothache and not being registered with a doctor or dentist. Hopefully, you’ll not need to see them too often, but it’s essential that you sign up with them when you arrive. Many universities have practices they have links with, so you should check with them to find out more.

Birmingham City University students can find out more about their local doctors and dentists practices at:

Find out more about healthcare services at Birmingham City University here. Continue reading Arriving at University

How to… deal with those last minute pre-course worries

You’re due to start a course but the dreaded last minute doubts sometimes creep in for a whole host of reasons. Many people who are about to join a course may feel apprehensive as the time to start their studies draws nearer. It’s quite natural and totally understandable to feel like this as studying at university is a big step and can mean many changes for you.

Here, we talk about three typical last minute niggles and give you ideas about how to deal with them.

Worry 1: I’ll be away from home and won’t know anyone!

Studying at university may mean studying a new subject, moving away from home and will certainly mean meeting new people so can seem a little overwhelming! Try and remember that there will be many other people in exactly the same situation as yourself. Freshers’ Week takes place at the beginning of the academic year and is a great way for students to get together and meet each other in a social environment. The Students Union organises the event and you’ll usually also be introduced to the full range of social and sporting events, societies and activities on offer to students at the university during this time.

For some students, settling in at university seems to come as second nature; for others it may take some time to get used to the course, the city and student life away from the family home. Like anything new, starting university takes a certain amount of personal adjustment to accommodate the changes that come with it. Remember – you won’t be the first and certainly not the last person in this situation to feel like this! Talking to your friends, getting involved with student societies, sporting activities or social events, and establishing a routine for yourself can help to ease the transition. Continue reading How to… deal with those last minute pre-course worries

The Final Checklist

Have you forgotten anything? If you are due to start university this September here are a few things you should act upon now if you’ve not already done so.

Student finance forms completed?
Accommodation application completed?
Place confirmed?
Course commencement details received?
Exam certificates/ results received?
Accommodation confirmed?
Student bank account?
Insurance arranged?
TV licence acquired?
Basic living items purchased? (If living away from home)
Area map?
Student travel pass?
Money to tide you over in case of delays in receiving your student financial support?

If you’re coming to Birmingham City University you may find some of the following contact numbers useful if you need to chase anything up or have any questions:

Birmingham City University:

University switchboard 0121 331 5000
Accommodation services 0121 331 5191
Academic Registry: 0121 331 5679
Choices (the course information and guidance centre) 0121 331 5595
Student Services: 0121 331 5588


Student Finance Direct: 0845 607 7577
NHS Student Grants Unit: 0845 358 6655
The Student Calculator:


Birmingham and West Midlands:
Travel West Midlands: