Subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses

Don’t hold back from applying for teacher training in maths, physics, languages, biology, chemistry, computing, English, geography and design and technology because of your subject knowledge. You may still be able to train to teach these subjects (and be eligible for the bursaries they attract) by building up or refreshing your existing knowledge with a SKE course.

The schools or universities you apply to may ask you to take a SKE course if they feel you have the right qualities to become a teacher, but need to acquire more subject knowledge first. If that’s the case, they'll offer you a conditional place upon doing a SKE course.

This could be for several reasons, including:

  • your degree wasn’t in your chosen subject, but is closely related
  • you studied the subject at A level, but not at university
  • you have relevant professional experience, and an SKE course would show you how to apply that to the curriculum and your teaching
  • you would benefit from a short refresher course in your chosen subject 


Delivery of SKE courses

Last year nearly 40% of trainees in eligible subjects completed additional subject training to enable them to start teacher training. Most people do a short course lasting 8 -12 weeks immediately before the start of their course. If your degree is not in the subject you want to teach, you may be asked to do a longer course of up to 28 weeks to ensure you have the subject knowledge you need. SKE courses are fully funded, so you won’t have to pay any tuition fees. You may also be eligible for a tax-free SKE training bursary of £200 per week to support you throughout the course. You could get a bursary of £5,600 for a 28-week course and £2,400 for a shorter course of 12 weeks. SKE bursaries are paid by your training provider – so it’s a good idea to contact them if you’re unsure about the financial support you’ll receive during your SKE course.

SKE programmes are available all over England at universities, schools, or third parties. They can be completed before, or alongside some or all of your teacher training and are available full-time or part-time, classroom-based or on-line. 

The SKE directory sets out what is currently provided. If you feel that you would benefit from SKE, please contact the universities or schools you are interested in doing your teacher training at and ask them about their SKE offer.

SKE in modern foreign languages

Modern foreign language teachers often teach two languages in their school. In order to equip you with the subject knowledge to teach an additional language, which will increase your employment prospects, you can now complete two fully funded SKE courses to refresh your main teaching language and to study another language. Your training provider will decide the length of each SKE course you may need, but it’s expected that a SKE course to refresh your main language should take around 8 weeks and a SKE course in another language should take up to 28 weeks. 


Related content 

Find out more from trainees and teachers who took advantage of a SKE course

Explore your options and and discover the types of courses available to you and the subjects you could be eligible to teach


Find out from an SKE co-ordinator and trainee teachers about eligibility and what subject knowledge enhancement courses involve. Transcript (PDF, 112KB)

SKE taught me the difference between knowing the syllabus as a student and teaching the syllabus. 

Mia Webb, trainee maths teacher

Upcoming events

View all events

Train to Teach University of Cumbria

22 June 2017 15:00

This event in Lancaster will give you the chance to ask experts about your teacher training options and what it’s like to teach.


Preparing for your teacher training

05 June 2017 18:30

Have you accepted a teacher training place for September 2017? Join us to find out how you can prepare for the best possible start.

Advice for First and Second Year Undergraduates

12 June 2017 18:30

This online event is for first and second year university students interested in teaching. Find out what you can do now that will help you make a great application for teacher training.

Support with your application

19 June 2017 18:30

This online event will provide hints and tips on how to draft a great personal statement.