What is Subject Knowledge Enhancement?


You might be a new teacher entering the profession and about to embark on a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) course. You may need to develop or refresh your subject knowledge for the subject you will teach. This is where completing a subject knowledge enhancement course can be useful.

In this article, we explain when you should complete an SKE course, how they are provided and which SKE courses are funded by the Department for Education (DfE).

What are subject knowledge enhancement courses?

Schools or universities will identify your need for an SKE as part of their selection process, usually at interview. 

If they feel you need to enhance your knowledge, but have potential to be a great teacher, they’ll offer you a teacher training place on the condition that you complete an SKE course.

The Get into Teaching Website explains these courses are usually available when:

  • Your degree wasn’t in your chosen subject, but is closely related
  • You studied the subject at A-level, but not at degree level
  • You have an unrelated degree, but relevant professional knowledge in the subject
  • It’s been some time since you used your degree knowledge
  • You studied for a languages degree but need a second language at an acceptable level for teaching in schools

How are subject knowledge enhancement courses provided?

SKE courses can vary in terms of duration, from an 8 week refresher or booster programme through to a 28 week programme, and can be undertaken by trainees on a full-time or part-time basis. All SKE programmes must be completed before qualified teacher status can be recommended and awarded.

SKE courses can be:

  • completed before or alongside ITT courses
  • offered online, through distance learning, face-to-face or a mixture of these approaches

You’ll be put through assessment tasks for each unit of the course. These tasks will be a mixture of written exams, essays and delivering lessons to small groups of pupils. Most courses will include homework and require independent research and study.

If you think an SKE course will benefit you, contact the schools or universities you attend to apply to for more information.

Selection of SKE courses

The DfE funds SKE programmes in:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computing
  • Design and technology
  • English
  • Language
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Religious education

The SKE course directory can be found here.

If you are an Edapt subscriber and your subject knowledge is being questioned by your school you contact us for further advice and support.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.