Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses (SKEs)

What are SKEs?

Subject knowledge enhancement courses are designed to help you gain the depth of knowledge you will need to teach your chosen subject before starting to train. They are available in shortage subjects where we need to train more teachers. They vary in length from 2 weeks to 6 months study.

Who are SKEs for?

These courses are aimed at those who have been offered a place on a postgraduate initial teacher training course subject to completion of a subject knowledge enhancement course. You may be recommended to complete a SKE if your degree is not in the subject you want to train to teach or if it has been some time since you studied your subject. We welcome career changers and mature candidates as well as new graduates.

What SKE courses are on offer at UWE?

  • Design and Technology (2 weeks)
  • Mathematics (6 months)
  • Modern Languages: French (3 months)
  • Science: Chemistry or Physics (equivalent 4 weeks)


To be eligible for a SKE course you need:

  • to be a graduate
  • to demonstrate at interview the necessary attributes for teaching
  • ideally to have already gained some recent experience of observing your subject being taught in a UK Secondary school
  • to obtain an offer of a place on a teacher training course

Where are they held?

The taught sessions will be held in the Department of Education, S Block, UWE, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY and run during the daytime.

Design and Technology

The Design and Technology SKE enables applicants to develop their practical skills in another specialism in the Design and Technology curriculum. All D&T trainees are required to have a main specialist area and a second specialism (with the exception of food technology which can be a single subject training route). The SKEs are appropriate for either your main or second specialism and will be tailored to your individual training needs.

At UWE we offer a 1 unit (50 hours) 9-day SKE in August in 3 specialist strands:

  • Food technology
  • Resistant materials / systems and control
  • Textiles technology

There is no charge for this course but no bursary is payable.


The Mathematics SKE at UWE is a full-time course run between January and July which will enable you to prepare for the PGCE course the following September. We would expect you ideally to have a good A level and some further experience of the subject, for example within a related degree or through vocational experience. Participants on the Mathematics SKE course have previously come from various backgrounds with degrees in economics, engineering, accounting, law and psychology. A bursary is paid for this SKE.

Modern Languages: French

The Modern Languages: French SKE is designed for those applicants who need to develop their knowledge of French in order to be eligible for a Modern Languages PGCE. For example, you may have limited or no knowledge of French but are fluent in German or Spanish. This is a three month full-time taught SKE course and includes a study visit to France. A bursary is paid for this SKE.

Download the French SKE leaflet (pdf 370KB) for course dates and further information.

You can download an application form (Word 67KB) for the French SKE.

Science: Chemistry or Physics

The Chemistry and Physics SKEs will give you sufficient knowledge and understanding to meet the required QTS standards for teaching all the science specified in the National Curriculum at Key Stage 3, and to enable you to teach chemistry or physics as a single subject to pupils aged 14-19. The course comprises the equivalent of four weeks study, but is spread over a longer period part-time to accommodate your individual circumstances. A bursary is paid for this SKE.

There are significant shortages of teachers of mathematics, physics, chemistry and some shortages in modern languages and design and technology. The Government offers bursaries to attract the best candidates to train to teach these subjects.

How to apply

To find out the available dates for any of the SKEs, and to apply, please contact Admissions and International Development:

Telephone: +44 (0)117 32 83333


Page last updated 16 January 2014

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