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Subject Knowledge Enhancement in Design and Technology - (SKE)

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry.

The Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course develops subject knowledge in graduates wishing to enter the teaching profession whose degree level knowledge, whilst strong in itself, needs to be further developed, enhanced and applied to the requirements and expectations of the secondary school curriculum including, where appropriate, examination specifications....

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Blended Learning
  • Location City South
  • Award (SKE)
  • Start date March 2024, April 2024, May 2024
  • School School of Education and Social Work
  • Faculty Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences

This course is:


The Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course develops subject knowledge in graduates wishing to enter the teaching profession whose degree level knowledge, whilst strong in itself, needs to be further developed, enhanced and applied to the requirements and expectations of the secondary school curriculum including, where appropriate, examination specifications.

SKE is available in those subjects that the Department for Education (DfE) lists to encourage graduates to enter the teaching profession. The subjects available for SKE at Birmingham City University are aligned to the subjects offered on the PGCE course. In most cases, students accepted onto the SKE course will be eligible for a bursary from the DfE in accordance with prescribed criteria. The duration of the SKE will vary according to specialist subject and the student’s need, identified at interview. A condition of entry onto the SKE course is the acceptance of a place on an initial teacher training course, such as PGCE.

This course is not open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

The course enables you, in the context of your subject knowledge enhancement, to develop a deeper understanding of the content and concepts required to teach your subject in schools. In doing so, you will sharpen your understanding of your specialist subject to deliver the required curriculum in the secondary school. The understanding you gain about your own learning will give insight into the processes that might be happening in school learners and will be valuable preparation for your forthcoming studies when you will apply theories of learning and corresponding pedagogies for your subject in the classroom as part of your initial teacher training.

In developing your subject knowledge, you will demonstrate ability to research the application of the topics required for teaching supported by your work in school and your continuing independent study.

Why Choose Us?

  • The SKE course is undertaken before starting an initial teacher training course. It is important that you have a conditional offer of a place on an initial teacher training course either at Birmingham City University or another provider before you start a SKE course
  • Please visit the DfE website for further information
  • We have a long and successful track record in developing secondary teachers
  • This course will boost your knowledge and understanding of this subject
  • You will be taught by experts in your chosen subject field and work alongside your peers in an online environment
  • Our course provides the ideal stepping stone to further study and full Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)


Join us on campus where you'll be able to find out more about your course, learn about postgraduate finance and get an insight into studying at BCU. Booking for the next event isn’t open yet. Register your interest below and we’ll email you as soon as booking goes live.

Next Event: 29 June 2024

Register interest

Entry Requirements

UK students

The SKE design and technology course is suitable for graduates with a good degree from a UK higher education institution (or a recognised equivalent) who have sufficient design and technology knowledge to commence the course.

This could be through holding an A-level in design and technology, (not essential) having an element of design and technology in your degree course and/or occupational experience of the subject.

Applicants must also meet the Department for Education (DfE) requirements for Initial Teacher Training, which means being medically fit and completing successfully an enhanced disclosure via the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

In addition to academic qualifications, candidates will be expected to have good communication and organisational skills, possess a desire to learn more about design and technology and demonstrate a commitment to teaching the subject.

To be eligible to start this course you MUST hold a conditional offer of a place on an initial teacher training course, for example a PGCE Secondary Design and Technology course.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: (SKE)

Starting: Mar 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Blended Learning
  • 16 Weeks
  • TBC

Award: (SKE)

Starting: Apr 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Blended Learning
  • 12 Weeks
  • TBC

Award: (SKE)

Starting: May 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Blended Learning
  • 8 Weeks
  • TBC

International students

Sorry, this course is not available to International students.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.


You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key Software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

LinkedIn Learning

Free access to LinkedIn Learning, which offers over 5,000 in-depth and bite-sized courses.

DBS check

You will require a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for this course. Your first DBS check is included in your fees.

Placement expenses (optional)

If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Subscriptions (optional)

You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.

Memberships (optional)

You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Conference fees (optional)

You may wish to attend conferences during the course.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

How to apply

Once you have accepted a conditional offer onto a PGCE course you should apply using the link above. You will need to provide proof of this offer when you apply. Our admissions team will process your offer and further information will be sent to you. 

If you have any for further queries, please contact the Programme Lead for the SKE courses via email on:

Course fees

There are no course fees for this course. Funding for these courses is reviewed annually by the Department for Education. You may be eligible for a bursary, paid weekly. You can find details on the DfE website.

Course in Depth

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Course in Depth

The Subject Knowledge enhancement course in Design and Technology will enable you to develop a broader knowledge of all materials taught in design departments in schools. The course also incorporates the subject of Food and Nutrition. This course is suitable for professionals who hold a subject specific degree where further practical and theoretical knowledge is lacking.

You will have opportunity to develop skills and technical understanding in the use of a wide range of materials and food ingredients during the sessions in University and through school based experiences. You are taught how to respond to the 3 assessed modules linked to improving your subject knowledge. Through this work you will also develop your ability to write for social sciences which will support you to meet the academic rigours required for progression onto PGCE ITT level 7 courses.

 The course prepares you to work in teams and aims to enable you to feel confident in understanding how teachers meet the challenges of knowledge acquisition in the 21st century classroom using technological understanding and techniques to support learners in a technological world.    

University's accreditation

Pre-initial teacher training Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) courses are intensive programmes, which have been accredited by the Department for Education. 

As a provider of Initial Teacher Training  (ITT) Birmingham City University is regularly inspected by the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted).

Ofsted reports directly to Parliament and is independent and impartial. It inspects and regulate services which care for children and young people, and those providing education and skills for learners of all ages.

Ofsted inspections of ITT providers provide an expert and independent assessment of how well we are performing and the quality of teacher training offered. Information in the inspection report can help prospective trainees decide which universities suit their training needs.


Enhancing your employability skills

After you have successfully completed a Subject Knowledge Enhancement in Design and Technology course and then an initial teacher training course, for example a PGCE Secondary Design and Technology - Food, Textiles and Product Design course you will be ready to begin your career as a design and technology teacher in the secondary sector.

Facilities & Staff

Our facilities

Our School of Education and Social Work is based at our City South campus in leafy Edgbaston.

We’ve spent £41million expanding the education facilities at City South. These facilities offer hands-on practical experience, replicating the spaces you will come across in professional practice. Alongside classrooms and lecture theatres, we also have a range of specialist teaching and learning spaces for specific subjects including science, design and technology, drama and physical education.

As well as subject-specific rooms, our facilities include the Primary Innovation Lab, which houses £24,000 worth of LEGO. This room is a special resource for our education students, offering an innovative and creative way to approach subjects across the curriculum – from computing to English, mathematics to art. The lab responds to research that children and young people learn best from practical experience.

Our Social Work students have access to a home environment room and mock hospital wards which offer an opportunity to gain experience of working with service users in different situations.

Computer facilities

The Seacole building has two open-access IT Suites which offer PCs, printers, photocopiers and scanners. There is also an IT Helpdesk for quick and easy help with your computing or internet issues.

Our PCs utilise the latest Intel i5 core technology, all with:

  • Fast (unrestricted) internet connectivity
  • Ability to save files to USB, DVD & CD
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Research and statistical software
  • Storage space which can be accessed from any PC across the University and from home

Our PCs are also designed to support students who may have difficulties with reading and writing, featuring specialised software with zooming/magnification and screen reading capabilities, which may also be customised for individual student needs.

In addition to desktop PCs, we also offer a laptop loan facility, allowing students to borrow a laptop for up to six hours while on campus.

Our staff

Leanne Gould

Senior Lecturer

Leanne is a senior lecturer in Science Education and has held management responsibility for QTS courses before moving into the role of Course Lead for SKE. Leanne teaches as part of the Science Education team on Undergraduate and Post Graduate courses as well as SKE courses.

More about Leanne