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Subject knowledge enhancement courses

Subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses can help you open the door to QTS and PGCE teacher training.

Due to the administration time taken to apply for an applicant’s funding, St Mary’s University will apply a charge of £60 to any applicant that decides to go with another provider after their funding has been approved.

As per the DfE guidelines, applicants to the SKE program, who are yet to obtain their degree, will receive no bursary payments, until their provider has confirmed with Lizzy Jackson, that the degree has been awarded and they have had sight of the certificate.

Participants can complete the SKE in less time than stipulated. This will affect your bursary payment. The purpose of the bursary funding is to assist you with any additional costs incurred whilst undertaking the SKE program. For example, if you complete an eight-week program in five weeks, you will only receive the funding for the five weeks it has taken to complete.

The courses will build your confidence by refreshing and expanding your existing subject knowledge and pedagogy in the subjects that we cover, before you become a teacher.

St Mary’s subject knowledge enhancement courses assist you to prepare for teacher training. The courses are aimed at applicants who have been offered a place on a postgraduate Initial Teacher Training (ITT) programme and who require subject knowledge enhancement.

Your provider will discuss with you the requirement for SKE and the length of course they wish you to undertake. This will form part of your conditions of offer.

Our courses are designed for trainees who already have an A level or equivalent in their specialist subject, but wish to refresh their knowledge. Your ITT subject should match your SKE subject. To be eligible to undertake an SKE course you must have a degree. Applicants with a third-class degree are able to undertake an SKE programme, but are not entitled to receive the bursary.

You may apply for an SKE if you do not have enough specific knowledge to begin a subject specialism PGCE course. The reason for this may be because:

  • you have studied a subject to a high level, but over time you may have lost some of the basics needed to teach at secondary level
  • you have studied a degree which is related to the subject, rather than an exact match
  • you have recently graduated and studied a degree not related to the subject, but have a related A level
  • you have decided on a career change and may have an unrelated degree, but with a lot of related knowledge including an A level
  • you have a language degree, but need a second language at an acceptable level for teaching.

Our SKE courses are funded by the Department for Education (DfE) and participants will receive funding along with a bursary to assist you throughout the programme. Upon successful completion, both you and your teacher training provider will receive a report highlighting your strengths and areas for further development during your initial teacher training, along with a certificate of completion.

SKE programmes vary from an eight-week refresher or booster programme through to a 28-week programme, depending on the subject knowledge required.

Book your course

Please note: once your funding has been approved by the DfE, we require you to commence your SKE programme If you are not in a position to commence straight away, please only apply for your funding when you are in a position to commence.

We offer distance learning SKE courses in a range of subjects for eight, 12,16, 20, 24 and 28-week durations.

Our distance learning courses are delivered via the Vidlearn™ online platform. This partnership has been established for many years and has been used to successfully train hundreds of Pre-ITT trainees.

The Vidlearn™ courses comprise core and optional modules. You will be required to complete the activities in all of the core modules. You can then develop your learning path using the optional modules depending on your assessment scores, your subject knowledge audit and tutor feedback from assignments.

Trainees on our science programs will have access to the full suite of science subjects at the same level as you are studying. We understand the need for most science teachers to teach all three sciences at GCSE.

Trainees on our MFL programs will have access to Babbel™ Professional during their SKE program.

Trainees on all of our programs will have continued access to the site for two further years whilst you are undertaking your teacher training and throughout your ECT years.

Your tutors for the online SKE programmes are experienced tutors, ensuring that participants make the best possible progress.

The English online course is delivered by St Mary's University.

Find out more

For further information please contact Lizzy Jackson at

Self-funded SKE courses

If you have the offer of a PGCE place your funding will usually be undertaken by the DFE. If you would like to take one of our SKE courses, but do not have a PGCE offer, you can opt to undertake self-funded courses for personal and professional development.

Self-funded course fees are:

  •  eight-weeks: £1,200
  • 12-weeks: £1,800
  • 16-weeks: £2,400
  • 20-weeks: £3,000
  • 24-weeks: £3,600
  • 28-weeks: £4,200.