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Subject Knowledge Enhancement in English - (SKE)

Currently viewing course to start in 2022/23 Entry.

If you wish to train as an English teacher, but your degree did not provide enough English content for you to gain automatic entry to initial teacher training, completion of this SKE course might be made a condition of your PGCE offer....

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Distance Learning
  • Location Online Learning
  • Award (SKE)
  • Start date March 2023, April 2023, May 2023
  • School School of Education and Social Work
  • Faculty Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences


If you wish to train as an English teacher, but your degree did not provide enough English content for you to gain automatic entry to initial teacher training, completion of this SKE course might be made a condition of your PGCE offer.

This course will prepare you for initial teacher training in secondary English by developing your skills and giving you the confidence to recognise the areas of your own subject knowledge which you need to develop during the enhancement course, your initial teacher education and beyond. It will also help you to develop a deep understanding of the knowledge, concepts and skills associated with English as a subject.

This course is not open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

We aim to help you to come to a deep understanding of the concepts and skills associated at GCSE level. In addition, aspects of A level English will be covered depending on the aptitudes and interests of the trainees.

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.
  • There are no course fees. Bursaries for eligible students are funded by the Department for Education (DfE). 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 a face-to-face environment or online to suit your requirements. 
  • Our course provides the ideal stepping stone to further study and full Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
  • You will get to see and work with teachers in action in a wide range of schools, which will expose you to a rich variety of cultural and linguistic influences, religious beliefs and social diversity.


Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to meet us in person. You'll get the chance to learn about courses in subject talks, chat to tutors and explore our campus. We'll post you a detailed event programme to help plan your day and find your way.

Next Event: Saturday 24 June

Book your place

Entry Requirements

UK students

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

This could be through holding an A-level in English, (not essential) having an element of English 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 English 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 English 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 2023

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

Award: (SKE)

Starting: Apr 2023

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

Award: (SKE)

Starting: May 2023

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

International students

Sorry, this course is not available to International students.

The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

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

This course covers a range of topics to support English subject knowledge in preparation for the teaching of English as a curriculum area in the secondary school. Engagement with literature pre and post 1914 will drive much of subject learning with a specific focus on utilising independent reading skills and a presentation to demonstrate engagement with typical core English texts. This will also include fiction and non-fiction to maximise developing an understanding of genre for academic purpose, which is essential for the preparation for a pedagogical approach to English literature.

Engagement also with the English National Curriculum documents for KS3 and KS4 is essential to support the development of your subject knowledge for teaching writing skills and grammar. A range of different fiction and non-fiction text types that form the English curriculum will be explored as well as developing your understanding of the range of spelling, punctuation and grammar skills that are needed in the English classroom. The KS3 English glossary is the foundation of grammar knowledge and this is essential preliminary reading. A range of pedagogical approaches to teaching writing and grammar will be explored in the subject learning and this will be further developed through a written reflection on a specific area of teaching writing and grammar.

There will also be a focus on subject specific pedagogy in relation to Reading, Writing and Spoken English: the three core strands of English teaching. This will ensure you move from the position of a student of English into a teacher of English: a role in which love of subject and delivery of subject will closely unite.

This course is taught  online. 

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 English course and then an initial teacher training course, for example a PGCE Secondary English course you will be ready to begin your career as an English 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

Paul Trimble

Senior English Lecturer

Paul works on the PGCE programme as well as the subject enhancement course. His subject specialism is English and he works exclusively with training English teachers. He has also got experience of supervising students working on various masters programmes. Paul taught for 30 years in secondary schools with a one year period teaching in a primary...

More about Paul

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