Subject Knowledge Enhancement

Our 100% online Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) courses will prepare you for your initial teacher training by helping you to gain the depth of subject knowledge and skills you need to be able to teach your chosen subject.

Subject Knowledge Enhancement

SKE applications are currently paused due to a DfE funding review. We hope to reopen applications shortly and provide an update as soon as possible. Any queries please contact:

Key details

  • Duration

    8-28 weeks
  • Location

  • Funding

    funding available
  • Level

    primary and secondary

Course description

Our SKE courses will help you to master your subject knowledge and learn the fundamental building blocks of each topic in preparation for your initial teacher training (ITT) or apprenticeship. You'll develop knowledge around essential concepts and learn how to evaluate your own practice.

Our SKE courses will help you to:

  • Gain comprehensive knowledge and understanding of your chosen subject

  • Identify key concepts within your subject to develop your content and curriculum knowledge

  • Acquire the skills to design, present and evaluate tasks to support pupil-centred lessons

  • Improve your critical analysis, reflection and evaluation skills

  • Discover ideas and activities that you can use in the classroom in preparation for your ITT journey

Entry requirements

DfE funded courses

Our SKE courses are designed for ITT trainees who need to gain the depth of knowledge needed to train to teach their chosen subject. Carrying out an SKE course must be set as a condition of your ITT offer. Your ITT provider must deem that without the course you would be highly unlikely to meet the subject knowledge requirements of the Teachers’ Standards by the time your ITT is completed and qualified teacher status (QTS) is awarded.

To be eligible for a DfE funded SKE you must meet the following criteria:

  • Have SKE set as a condition of your ITT offer

  • Have applied for the minimum SKE course length as guided by your ITT provider

  • Your ITT subject focus and SKE match

  • If your degree matches your ITT subject focus, it must not have been awarded in the last five years

  • Have a degree (2:2 grade or higher) to access course and bursary funding. If you have a Third-class honours, an Ordinary degree, or an equivalent degree from a non-UK university you can access course funding but not a bursary

If you have been awarded a joint degree in the past 5 years and there is a direct match between one of the degree subjects and the chosen ITT subject you will not be eligible for a SKE. Please check with your ITT provider regarding physics and MFL: exceptions may apply to non-UK applicants.

Self-funded SKE courses

If you would like to develop your subject knowledge and confidence but are not eligible for a DfE-funded SKE place, you can apply for one of our self-funded SKE courses. These are available in three different route options, depending on which subject you choose and whether you require tutor support. Find out more

Course delivery

Our SKE courses are delivered 100% online and on-demand via our interactive e-learning platform, Tes Learn. This allows you to learn in your spare time in the week and fit your course around your existing personal and professional commitments. You can access course materials, lessons and tutorials from any internet-enabled device, anywhere in the world, at any time, making learning extremely flexible.

The DfE recommend that you should study 25 hours per week on a full-time SKE course to develop appropriate subject knowledge in preparation for your ITT. We encourage you to submit weekly assignments to support this recommendation and to ensure you complete the course in the set number of weeks. This adheres to the DfE expectations for bursary payments, if you're eligible.

You'll be supported by a pathway tutor who will provide weekly feedback, monitor your learning and give updates on your progress to you and your ITT provider. Your subject knowledge will be assessed throughout your course and at compulsory SKE assessment points to ensure that you're engaging with the course and making good progress. 

Course materials consist of a range of tasks, including:

  • Pre-recorded interactive lectures

  • Subject specific tasks to complete

  • Reading-related articles

  • Self-assessment exercises

  • Subject-focused activities for discussion on class forums

  • Learning diary reflections

You'll have access to all the topics and study sessions as part of your SKE so you can carry out further self-study and make links across the curriculum. If you're a single science applicant in biology, physics or chemistry, you'll have access to all the science topics as we understand that most teachers will teach all three.

Part-time SKE courses

Our part-time option allows you to spread the recommended 25 hours of weekly learning time over a fortnight, so an eight-week SKE course would take 16 weeks to complete, covering the same material.

Course leader

Laura Marshall Learner story image

Laura Marshall

Laura is passionate about teacher training and development in nurturing our next generation of teachers. Laura has over 20 years of experience across a variety of teacher training programmes. She believes that supporting teachers in their professional development leads to improved outcomes therefore ensuring every child has access to high-quality education. Currently overseeing the Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) programme, Straight to Teaching QTS preparation programme and Assessment Only, Laura is honoured to play a pivotal role in supporting candidates in finding the right route for them in their education career journey, fulfilling dreams and aspirations.

Deputy course leader

Rizwana Master Blog image

Rizwana Master

Rizwana joined Tes in November 2022 bringing to the role two decades of experience of teaching secondary maths and significant experience of working in teacher training. Rizwana is passionate about the life chances of young people and strongly believes in the transformative power of a high-quality education. She is keen to support the development of entrants in to the profession to ensure they are confident in their subject knowledge as they embark on their career in education.

Course length and funding

DfE funded SKE course are available with us for:

Subject Course length available (weeks)















*If you require DfE funding for SKE in English, biology or Primary maths as part of your ITT condition you can apply for one of our self-funded SKE courses.

The number of weeks you should study depends on the level of your existing subject knowledge, which your ITT provider will determine. As part of their validation of your SKE application your ITT provider will provide a rationale for the recommended SKE length and an overview of the subject knowledge you require.

If your SKE and ITT do not overlap your bursary amount will be £175* a week for full time study to reflect 25 hours study as set by the DfE. Please note all SKE funding and bursaries are subject to DfE approval before payments are made. A detailed overview of the SKE bursaries is provided as part of the onboarding process.

Course start dates

Subject Knowledge Enhancement application deadline Subject Knowledge Enhancement start date
Monday 29th July 2024 Monday 5th August 2024
Monday 12th August 2024 Monday 19th August 2024
Monday 2nd September 2024 Monday 9th September 2024

Next steps

You can apply for one of our SKE courses online via the 'Apply' button. Once you've applied, your provider will be required to validate your application. On starting the course we will then apply for your bursary from the DfE if you meet the eligibility criteria.


Christy's story

TI D9 migration phase 2 - Christy Ross image
I took some time to consider what I actually wanted to do and remembered volunteering at an inner-city primary school, reading with children, and how that had brightened my week up.
Christy Ross, Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) English learner

*If your SKE and ITT overlap your bursary will be calculated by the DfE to the point of your ITT starting. The DfE equally divides the bursary total amount over the duration of your SKE course, rather than a weekly payment of £175 paid in arrears if your SKE finishes before your ITT starts, all payments are paid in arrears.