So, you want to come and study at Fircroft College? Do you have some burning questions about what it's like to study here?

You may have decided on what course you're studying, but there are then, of course, the more practical aspects of student life. 

We've answered the most frequently asked questions here at Fircroft, but if you need any further help, or if there is something we have missed, please contact our Admissions team on 0121 472 0116 or email admissions on [email protected]


What is Fircroft?

We are a registered charity providing educational opportunities for adults aged over 19 (no upper age limit). Our mission is “to promote social justice by providing adults with an excellent learning environment for personal, professional and political development".

We are one of only four remaining Institutes of Adult Learning which are residential. The others are Hillcroft (Surrey), Ruskin (Oxford) and Northern College in Yorkshire.

Why do I have to fill in application forms?

We use the application form which you complete for us to apply for funding for the course and the accommodation on your behalf. The real cost of a standard short course is quite high given the course and all the facilities provided so even if you are required to pay a fee it is usually only a notional amount.

I've been told at I'm not at the right level for a course I wanted to do. What does that mean?

Some of our courses have a certain criteria that needs to be met before you are enrolled. If you have been informed by Admissions that you are not at the right level, it may mean that the course is aimed at a different level of learning e.g. If you are working at Level 1 but have applied for an Entry 3 level course, the material provided on the course may not be applicable for your learning.

Why are most courses residential?

Being in residence is an important part of the Fircroft experience and some of our funding is dependent on this. It’s an opportunity for you to meet and engage with a wide variety of people. Staying on site means you can really focus on learning and achieving with the support of staff and fellow students.

What is provided for my stay?

A basic room, normally en-suite, with all bedding and soap provided (Please note that towels are no longer provided). Tea and coffee making facilities are provided in the room. Free WiFi and access to computers 24/7. If you have any mobility issues please tell us as soon as possible as we have a limited number of ground floor rooms.

All meals and drinks are included. Meal times: Breakfast: 7.30am to 8.45, Lunch: 12.30 to 1.15pm, Dinner: 6.30pm-7.00pm. Meals are not available at other times unless you have a specific need (e.g. for medical or religious reasons) in which case please discuss with the College before you arrive.

At the request of students we are making changes to the food provision and will be seeking your feedback on this.

What might I need to bring?

Some form of alarm facility to make sure you wake up in the morning. A hairdryer, towels and any personal toiletries and medication you may need during your stay.

Please don’t bring heavy bags on our short courses as you may need to carry them up stairways to your room.

What do I need to attend?

You should ensure that you are able to stay at the College from the first afternoon until the final day. To pass the course you will ideally have attended every session. If there are emergencies to deal with please explain to a staff member. You can leave the site during the course but we ask that this is done between lesson times and that you stay overnight.

What support is available for me?

If you feel you need some help in order to study with us then please let us know as soon as possible. We will discuss your individual situation with you and what we can reasonably adapt or provide. We can provide learning support on a one to one basis and also on a floating basis (across more than one student/course).

Unless required on the grounds of disability we consider the provision of additional support to part of your journey with us and we will work with you for your progression in this area as well as with your studies.

Why do I have to sign out and in again if I leave the site?

If there is a fire or other emergency we need to know exactly who is in the building.

Why are the College and grounds alcohol free?

We made the decision to be alcohol free a few years ago and at the request of many of our students. We want to support students who are in recovery and also to ensure a peaceful learning environment where students can get a good night’s sleep and be ready to study bright and early!

Why do we need to be quiet after 11pm?

Partly linked to the response above, the walls at Fircroft are not very sound proof and people talking loudly, playing music or slamming doors can prevent a good night’s sleep which can affect learning and mood.

Why are children not normally allowed on site?

Fircroft is an adult learning college which has a range of people attending courses including ex-offenders, people in recovery and people with learning and other disabilities all of who need to focus on their learning. The additional noise, disruption and safeguarding issues surrounding children being on site led us to make the decision to remain as an adult only College whilst courses are taking place. 

Why can’t I have visitors?

The purpose of residency is to provide the opportunity for additional study and for time to discuss issues and interact with other students. The College facilities are not available for other people who have not been agreed by the College as this affects your learning and the health and safety and safeguarding arrangements within the College environment.

If there is a specific reason why you may need to have a visitor whilst studying with us please discuss this with a Student Services Team leader beforehand and your request will be considered.

What’s nearby?

We are close to Selly Oak shopping area. Sainsbury’s, a chemist, a drop in medical centre, a post office and a newsagents are all a 10-15 minute walk away along the main Bristol Road. 

Any other questions?

Call the College on 0121 4720116 or e-mail [email protected]


Want to take the next step in your learning journey? Apply now, download an application form or call Admissions on 0121 472 0116 for more information. We look forward to welcoming you to the Fircroft family!