Holmes Chapel Comprehensive school's story- SKE

Holmes Chapel Comprehensive school's story- SKE

Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School is the lead school for the Chimney House Alliance, a National Teaching School. In 2015, they decided to take full responsibility for their own teacher training and became an accrediting provider and body in their own right- known as the Cheshire East SCITT.

Director of the teaching school, Karen Fuller talks about how Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) continues to play a vital part in giving their trainees a head start before beginning their teacher training.

“Typically we recruit about 30 trainees each year. An applicant’s subject knowledge is carefully considered as part of our recruitment and selection process, but we often recommend candidates of shortage subjects to undertake an SKE programme prior to starting their ITT programme- particularly if they’re a career-changer or it’s been a number of years since they completed their degree or masters. SKE courses are an excellent form of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for them to complete before starting their training and Tes Institute's courses incorporate any new changes for the GCSE Specification.”

“SKE courses are extremely flexible, with start dates throughout the academic year and we receive monthly assessment reports detailing each trainee’s progress. Once an SKE is completed, Tes Institute issue a full report with information about the trainee’s key strengths and areas for development.  This has been invaluable and is sent to the trainee’s Subject Mentors and Subject Specialist leads so that subject pedagogy can be tailored to meet their specific needs during their teacher training.”

“Communication from Tes institute has and always continues to be excellent. I’d definitely recommend their SKE courses due to their flexibility. Learning online has been invaluable for many of our trainees who may still be working and not able to do a face to face SKE course.”

Hear how some of the SCITT trainees felt having taken an SKE course:

Eve, English trainee teacher

“The SKE was very thorough and enabled me to refresh my subject knowledge in the context of the current curriculum. I am now more aware of updated and current terminology and far more comfortable integrating key terms within my lessons.

My pathway tutor was incredibly supportive throughout the course, providing high quality feedback and consistently ensuring that I challenged myself and reflected upon my learning.

I am much more confident in my subject knowledge, which I hope is reflected in my teaching. I also gained a number of ideas and resources from the SKE course, which I have utilised in the classroom.”

Dena, MFL trainee teacher

“I found the course extremely helpful and taking it before I started teaching put me at an advantage.

The course was very focused on how to teach languages and during the SKE I had to put together lessons and activities. At our SCITT, we start teaching almost immediately, so this preparation really helped and the SKE course gave me the confidence to get going with teaching straightaway. 

I was a bit apprehensive about having a remote pathway tutor but this wasn’t a barrier at all and my tutor Sharon Barnes was just fantastic - very supportive and understanding, and gave me very detailed feedback. I put a lot of work into it, and got more out of it as a result.

Amy, German trainee teacher

The SKE programme was useful for not only improving my German but to also gain a head-start in education. Before I'd even started my teacher training I'd been introduced to influential theorists and proven techniques in the classroom.

The topics I studied to progress my German were varied & plentiful. Each module took quite a lot of time but you get out what you put into it.

Grace, maths trainee teacher

The SKE course gave me the confidence to start teacher teaching and refresh the knowledge I thought I had but had actually forgotten.

The delivery of the programme was great. My pathway tutor allowed me to learn independently, which I preferred, but when I was unsure on how to approach a task they were there to support me with me sample answers to help my structure. 

I feel much better prepared for my teacher training as a result of the SKE course.