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Subject knowledge enhancement courses

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

As the situation surrounding the Coronavirus continues to develop, we have taken the decision to cancel our face-to-face SKE programmes for this academic year, to ensure our staff and trainees stay safe and well. This is not a decision we have taken lightly but we believe this is the correct measure to ensure we are protecting staff and trainees. Our online provision will continue and we are able to offer this route to you.

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

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 8-week refresher or booster programme through to a 28-week programme, depending on the subject knowledge required.

We offer distance learning SKE courses in a range of subjects for 8, 16 and 28-week durations.

Our distance learning courses are delivered via the Vidlearn™ online platform. This partnership has been established for three 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.

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.

St Mary’s University offer face to face programmes in:

  • Spanish (8-weeks)
  • French (8-weeks)
  • Mathematics (8 or 16-weeks)

The programmes take place at St Mary’s University. They run from Monday – Friday. All applicants registering to attend the face to face programme must commit to attending 100% of the programme.

You will be taught by a team of experienced practitioners who will ensure that participants make the best possible progress.

The length of the programmes are:

  • 8 week (200 hours): Candidates that require their SKE boosted or refreshed to GCSE level – The face to face 8 week programme covers GCSE and A level
  • 16 week (400 hours): Candidates who wish to teach at ‘A’ level and already have a strong qualification in the subject.

Find out more

For further information please contact Lizzy Jackson: elizabeth.jackson@stmarys.ac.uk.


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.

For 2019/20 self-funded course fees are:

  • 8-weeks: £1,200
  • 16-weeks: £2,400
  • 28-weeks: £4,200