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 8 to 24 weeks 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 an 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?

  • Mathematics (8 or 16 weeks)
  • Modern Languages: French (12 weeks)
  • Science: Chemistry or Physics (8 or 12 or 24 weeks)
  • Science: Biology (8 or 16 or 24 weeks)
  • Geography (8 weeks)
  • Design and Technology (12 weeks)


To be eligible for an 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 conditional on completing a SKE 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.


The mathematics SKE at UWE Bristol is a full-time course run between March 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.

The 16 week SKE runs from Monday 14 March 2016 – Wednesday 13 July 2016.

The 8 week course starts on Monday 23 May 2016 – Wednesday 13 July 2016 for those with more experience of mathematics.

Modern Languages: French

At UWE we offer a 12 week SKE with a start date of Monday 9 May 2016.

This 12 week intensive course supports graduates proficient in a language other than French to learn to teach French accurately and confidently to at least KS3 (ages 11-14).

The course 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.

There will be 20 hours per week of taught sessions at the University with peer and self-supported learning outside sessions. A two week funded study visit to France is a compulsory part of the course. This will take place in late June/early July 2016.


The course provides subject knowledge for those wishing to teach A-level geography and for those who may not have an A-level in geography or who have a degree which is not 100% geography-related.

The course offers the flexibility of 8 weeks which involves 25 days face to face sessions on Saturday’s beginning in March and with two full weeks Monday 13 June 2016 – Friday 17 June 2016 and Monday 29 August 2016 – Friday 2 September 2016.

In addition to a personalised plan of face to face there is online tutorial support and guided learning. Course participants will learn how to teach both physical and human geography including current A-level themes including water and carbon cycles, coasts, hot deserts, cold environments, hazards, global systems, population, urban environments, water and energy security and more.

Science: Biology or Chemistry or Physics

The suite of science courses offer a flexible approach to SKE through distance learning with a 2 week attended practical module which is delivered by the Department of Education, UWE Bristol starting on 18 July 2016. You can only take a course in the subject of your PGCE , although online GCSE optional modules in all three sciences are made available to candidates on the longer courses. You will have opportunities in the practical weeks to learn how to teach as well as what to teach.

The short 8 week courses are for those who want to improve their science subject knowledge up to GCSE level and is suitable only for those training to teach science up to age 16.

The medium 12 week (chemistry and physics) or 16 week (biology) courses are for those wishing to teach up to A-Level in the subject. You will need to have a science degree related to your PGCE subject (e.g. engineering, biochemistry or pharmacology) and an A-level in the subject.

The 24 week courses in all three sciences are for those wishing to teach A-level with a starting point of a degree which is not closely related to your PGCE subject. You will have an A-level in your subject or experience of working in the subject area.

The course runs throughout the academic year and has multiple access points which means you can apply anytime between January and Thursday 30 June 2016, and learn at your own pace as long as you complete the course modules before the course end date (end of August 2016).

View further details and apply online.

Design and Technology

The course provides subject knowledge support for those wishing to teach the new Design and Technology Curriculum. This course is 12 weeks long and starts on Monday 9 May 2016. It is suitable for those who have key strengths in particular areas but lack the full set of capabilities to deliver an effective curriculum and need to develop the depth and range of their knowledge.

Subjects include: Product Design, Resistant Materials, Textile Technology, Electronics Modern Technologies and Systems and Control. DATA health and safety training is also included.

An introduction to Food Technology: Cooking and Nutrition is also included with the level 2 Food Safety in Catering certification available.

Funding for SKE Courses

All SKE courses are funded by the NCTL and attract a bursary of £200 per week.

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

For further information about any of the SKEs, and to apply, please contact the Admissions office:

Telephone: +44 (0)117 32 83333


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