Is it too late to start an SKE course?

Ask Tes Institute: is it too late to start an SKE course?

Although September is looming, there is still time for teacher training candidates to improve their subject knowledge before and alongside their Initial Teacher Training (ITT).

Programmes are available in biology, chemistry, computing, English, French, geography, German, maths, physics or Spanish and begin every month with Tes Institute.

Trainees with a conditional ITT offer can apply here for the following programmes:


Application deadline Programme start date
16 July 2018 30 July 2018
27 July 2018 13 August 2018


An SKE course can overlap with teacher training

Ideally, we would advise you to complete your SKE course before teacher training but as we get closer to September, it is likely that you will need to overlap part of your SKE course with your teacher training. Whilst it is perfectly fine to do this, you should bear in mind the additional workload involved. Typically, we recommend a trainee spends between 20-25 hours per week on an SKE course, but since our courses are 100% online and can be completed at any time, it is possible to fit this learning around teacher training.

If you are eligible for both an SKE and ITT bursary it is important to be aware that during the overlap period a trainee will only receive one set of bursary funding. In this time, they will receive the one with the higher amount, which is usually the ITT bursary. SKE course funding will not however be affected during the overlap. 

There is no cost to the candidate

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) will provide course funding of up to £5,600 for SKE, so long as you receive a conditional Initial Teacher Training (ITT) offer stating that you must complete an SKE. In addition to this funding the candidate will also be eligible for a tax-free bursary, equivalent to £200 per week if your degree score is above or equal to a 2:2 classification.

A part-time course makes things even more flexible

A part-time option is worth considering for trainees who are starting an SKE course in July or August, particularly if you think you require an SKE course longer than eight weeks. Whilst overlapping SKE with ITT is doable, a longer full-time course may become harder once the demands of initial teacher training increases.

Our part-time SKE courses are designed to reduce the amount of time a candidate spends learning each week by half. However, this means that the course doubles in length- so a full time eight week course is delivered over 16 weeks. 

SKE is not just for candidates with non-subject specific degrees

Whilst SKE courses are ideal for candidates whose degree is related but not specific to their chosen subject, they may still be useful for someone who has a closely related degree or a subject specific degree. For example, a candidate with a closely related degree may start teacher training after spending time in industry and they may need to refresh their subject knowledge and build subject confidence.

Our SKE courses also include subject pedagogy within sessions, so you will pick up extra skills beyond improving your subject knowledge.

How do I enrol on an SKE course before September?

If you feel that you would benefit from a Subject Knowledge Enhancement course and you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply here.

Our application deadlines and start dates are below:

Length of SKE SKE application deadline SKE Start date
8, 12, 16, 20, 24 or 28 weeks 16 July 30 July
8, 12, 16, 20, 24 or 28 weeks 27 July  13 August

Any questions? 

Our enrolment team is always on hand to answer any questions that you might have, either by phone on 0203 194 3200 or email