Subject knowledge enhancement (SKE)

Watch trainees and a subject knowledge enhancement co-ordinator from the University of Southampton talking about what SKE courses have to offer.

An SKE programme offers you the chance to prepare for teacher training by building up or refreshing your existing knowledge. SKE courses are available to those who would like to train to teach secondary maths, physics, chemistry, languages, computing, or design and technology (D&T).

The programmes are aimed at those who have already been offered a place on a postgraduate initial teacher training (ITT) course, subject to completion of an SKE programme. ITT providers and schools make the final decision on relevant subject knowledge. If your school or provider feels that you have the right qualities to become a teacher but you need to up your subject knowledge before you start training, they will talk you through the range of SKE programmes that are available. You won't have to pay for SKE; it will be confirmed as part of a conditional offer for ITT.

If you feel that an SKE programme would be beneficial to your application or your training, it's worth speaking to the training providers you're interested in applying to before you submit your application to find out what support they can offer you.

Is financial support available?

As well as funding to cover the cost of the course, eligible trainess may be able to access an SKE bursary of up to £7,340 (depending on the course length). Please speak to your teacher training provider for more information.

What SKE programme is right for me?

To help you decide which SKE programme is relevant to you, look at the modules you have previously undertaken in your degree or the experience you have gained in your career – this may give you more flexibility in choosing which subject to train in. It's also worth considering your A-level subjects if you would like to consider teaching in a different subject.

"I didn't have a degree in the subject I wanted to teach, so I completed an SKE in physics. The course was free. Not only did it increase my knowledge to teach physics, it really contributed to developing the skills I needed to become an outstanding teacher."
Olly Carr, physics teacher

There are currently programmes available for the following secondary-phase subjects:

SKE courses are run specifically to help increase the pool of individuals eligible to train as teachers in these priority subjects. These are the only subjects for which SKE courses are currently available.

Read a trainee maths teacher's account of taking an SKE course

Where and when are the programmes available?

SKE programmes are available all over England. Your provider or school will help you find a programme to suit your needs. SKE can be delivered by a wide range of suppliers, including:

  • A university education department
  • A university subject department
  • A school – in-house provision or accessed via another school
  • A third party supplier such as a Science Learning Centre

A range of available SKE programmes can be viewed in the SKE directory

What happens if I want to change ITT providers to one outside the enhancement region while I'm on an enhancement course?

These courses are intended as a service to ITT providers in the specific enhancement region. If you have been offered a conditional place by an ITT provider in the region it is expected that you will take up your ITT place at that provider. If you wish to transfer to a different ITT provider you will need to apply to that provider. They will then need to assess your level of understanding in the subject before accepting you onto their ITT course.

Applying for SKE programmes

You should first apply to an ITT course. If the course provider or school considers you to have the attributes to make a good teacher, they may offer you a conditional ITT place and refer you to the SKE programmes in your region.

You can indicate on your ITT application form that you are interested in doing an SKE programme.

This year, SKE courses can overlap with the start of ITT, so there's still plenty of time to apply to start your teacher training this year.

Upon your successful completion of one of these programmes, you are expected to go straight into an ITT course leading to qualified teacher status (QTS).

Already achieved QTS, but need to boost your subject knowledge?

Post-ITT SKE courses are designed to increase the maths, chemistry, physics or modern languages knowledge of in-service and returning teachers.

Find out more about post-ITT SKE courses

Been offered a teacher training place to start this year with SKE?

Great! You've demonstrated qualities that will help you succeed in teaching, such as commitment, innovation and leadership, and your ITT provider or school has recognised that you have the potential to be an outstanding teacher. If you have any support or advice to give to fellow applicants, we'd like to hear from you: email us at

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