Important information

SKE courses for candidates who are planning to train in 2020/21 aren't currently available and the Department for Education won't have an update on this until after the governments spending review is completed at the end of 2020. Please only use this page for reference and be aware that the information could change.

If you'd like to teach a particular subject, but feel your academic knowledge needs a boost, a subject knowledge enhancement course (SKE) could be for you

Many graduates are worried that they don't have enough knowledge to become a teacher. If this sounds like you, don't be deterred by a lack of confidence. SKE courses offer a time-effective, financially-supported route into the profession for candidates of all backgrounds.

What is a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course?

The aim of SKE courses is to make teaching an accessible and viable career path to a range of graduates. They are designed to bring a candidate's knowledge of a subject up to secondary teaching level.

You're eligible for an SKE course if:

  • your degree isn't in the subject you'd like to teach, or at least closely related
  • you studied your chosen subject at A-level, but not to degree level
  • you have relevant professional experience, i.e. you're an accountant looking to train as a maths teacher.

If you'd like to teach but are unsure of which subject to pursue, look at the modules you have undertaken during your degree or A-levels and the experience you have gained through your career or part-time work for inspiration. You will have more flexibility in choosing a subject than you might think.

Which subjects can I train in?

SKE courses are offered in:

  • biology
  • chemistry
  • computing
  • design and technology
  • English
  • geography
  • languages
  • mathematics
  • physics
  • primary maths.

The most widely run SKE courses are those in maths and the three sciences, notably physics, as these are the subjects that are in demand by schools. To explore the range of courses on offer, search for an SKE course.

What do SKE courses involve?

An SKE course can be studied full or part time, in a classroom or online, and either before or alongside your core teacher training.

Courses also vary in length. Eight-week short courses exist for candidates who want a refresher, while courses of up to 28 weeks are available if you're planning to pursue a new subject altogether. For example, Edge Hill University hosts eight, 16 and 28 week courses, catering to the varying capabilities of SKE candidates.

You'll be put through assessment tasks for each unit of the course. These tasks will be a mixture of written exams, essays and delivering lessons to small groups of pupils. Most courses will include homework and require independent research and study.

Is there funding available?

There is plenty of financial motivation to complete an SKE course - for starters, you aren't required to pay any tuition fees. SKE courses are fully funded by the Department for Education (DfE)

You may also be entitled to an SKE bursary, in weekly payments anywhere of around £200, for the duration of your course. Eligibility requirements differ across institutions and courses but will usually include at least a 2:2 degree of any discipline.

Get in touch with your chosen institution prior to applying to find out what's on offer.

Where does the training take place?

If you're enrolled on an online course through an organisation such as Tes Institute, your learning will take place from home.

If your course isn't online, your training will be delivered through a combination of classroom hours, field trips and distance work with the support of a tutor.

How do I apply?

You can apply for teacher training through UCAS Teacher Training. You may want to indicate on your application that you'd like to take an SKE course. Once you've been accepted by your chosen provider, you can apply for SKE courses through individual institution websites.

In order to be accepted onto a course, you might need to supply proof that completing an SKE course is part of a conditional offer for further teacher training. Even if your training provider doesn't ask for it, it's worth obtaining this proof for your personal records.

Browse GOV.UK's full list of SKE course providers to get started.

Find out more

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