Ask Tes Institute: Funding your subject knowledge enhancement course

Ask Tes Institute: Funding your subject knowledge enhancement course

Once you have chosen the right teacher training route and submitted your application, you may be asked to complete a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course as a condition of a place on your teacher training programme. If you are, you will be eligible for course funding and potentially an additional bursary too. In this blog post we breakdown the key things that you need to know about SKE funding.

What teaching subjects are eligible for Government funding?

The National College for Teaching & Leadership (NCTL) has set aside funding for subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses for postgraduate School Direct and Initial Teacher Training trainees who want to teach Biology, Computing, Chemistry, English, Geography, Maths, Modern Languages and Physics. Course funding is also available to participants who have accepted a conditional offer of a place on a NCTL funded undergraduate ITT route with QTS.

Course funding has been confirmed until September 2018 and is available so long as you have an offer for a place on a teacher training course with a condition that states the completion of an SKE course.

How do I know whether I am eligible to have my SKE course fees covered?

If your provider makes you a conditional offer of entry that asks you to complete an SKE course then you will be eligible to have your SKE course fees covered, meaning that there will be no cost to you or your provider to complete an SKE course. Your SKE subject must be the same as the subject that you are training to teach in, with the exception of Modern Languages where you can choose a language different to the one that you are teaching in.

How do I know if I am eligible to receive an additional SKE bursary?

In addition to course funding, eligible applicants can also receive a tax-free bursary during their course. To receive the SKE training bursary you must hold or be studying for an undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification of a 2:2 or above. If you are in the process of studying for your degree or the score has yet to be confirmed prior to your SKE course starting, your course fees will still be covered but you would not be eligible to start receiving bursary until you have contacted Tes Institute to confirm your degree score. Once you have done this we will arrange for any bursary that you are owed until that point to be paid to you in lieu.

Bursary funding is available for eligible participants on designated undergraduate courses in secondary maths and physics that lead to QTS; participants on opt-in secondary undergraduate physics, computing, maths or modern foreign language courses that lead to QTS. Participants on a four-year undergraduate course that leads to the award of QTS and that also leads to the award of a Master’s degree, will also be eligible.

How much bursary will I receive and how regular are the payments?

You will receive the equivalent to £200 per week if you meet the eligibility criteria. Tes Institute will pay your SKE bursary to you in monthly installments, with payments being made nearer to the end of the month and the first bursary payment is made one month in arrears of your course start. Tes Institute’s finance team will contact you in the first month of your SKE course to collect your details and arrange payment of your bursary.

Will the SKE bursary affect any funding that I am eligible to receive for my Initial Teacher Training course?

Funding for teacher training and SKE are separate and will not affect each other unless your SKE and ITT programmes overlap. In this instance your SKE course fees will still be funded but during the overlap period your SKE bursary will stop as you have started receiving your ITT bursary, and under NCTL funding rules you cannot receive two sets of bursary at the same time.

Would I ever be required to pay any money back if I wasn’t able to complete the SKE course?

In the event that you cannot complete your SKE course or need to withdraw you will not incur any charges or be asked to pay any money back that you have previously received, but your funding will be stopped from that point and your training provider will be informed. Please note that if you do withdraw from an SKE course you will not be eligible to receive funding for another SKE after this point.

How do I claim funding for SKE?

Once you have applied for a place on one of our SKE courses, Tes Institute will handle the rest of the administration for both you and your ITT provider. When you apply for the SKE course we will contact your provider to confirm your offer of a training place and once they respond we will email you an offer letter for a place on the SKE course and contact the NCTL on your behalf to claim any funding that you are eligible to receive.

Does my funding change if I choose a part-time course option?

If you wish to do a part-time SKE course and are eligible to receive bursary funding, your total amount of bursary will remain the same as a full-time course option but the amount that you receive each month will be halved to reflect the slower rate of study.

If you choose a part-time SKE course but study at a faster rate during the course, your bursary installments will continue to follow a part-time payment schedule and cannot be increased.

How can I apply for an SKE course?


If you have a conditional offer of entry you can apply for SKE under 'get advice'


If you do not currently have a conditional offer, or you would like to speak to an enrolment advisor, you can call our offices on 0203 194 3200 or email institute@tesglobal.com for further information.

If you have a question about SKE that isn’t answered here, one of our enrolment advisors will be happy to help.