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Subject Knowledge Enhancement in Biology - (SKE)

If you wish to train as a biology teacher, but your degree did not provide enough biology 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 Blended Learning
  • Location City South
  • Award (SKE)
  • Start date May 2022
  • School School of Education and Social Work
  • Faculty Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences

Overview

If you wish to train as a biology teacher, but your degree did not provide enough biology 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 biology 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 biology 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 physics 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 in an online environment. 
  • Our course provides the ideal stepping stone to further study and full Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. You'll be able to hear more about your chosen subject area from our academics.

Register your interest

Entry Requirements

UK students
Essential

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

This could be through holding an A-level in biology, (not essential) having an element of science 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 biology 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 Science: biology 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 based on the Retail Prices Index and the additional costs we incur each year to deliver our courses, maintain and develop our infrastructure and provide a range of support services, or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: (SKE)

Starting: May 2022

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

International students

Sorry, this course is not available to International students.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. 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: Karen.McGrath@bcu.ac.uk.

Course fees

There are no course fees for this course. You may be eligible for a bursary, paid weekly. You can find details on the DfE website.

Course in Depth

Course in Depth

The Subject Knowledge Enhancement course in Biology will enable you to develop a deeper conceptual understanding of key concepts and practical activity knowledge of the subject as taught in schools.

The course is suitable for professionals with a degree in a science subject that lacks significant overlap with the physics content of the school curriculum, or those who have good A levels in the sciences but a non-science degree. This course is also suitable for professionals who hold a science degree where overlap with biology is strong but subject knowledge is rusty and needs refreshing.

You will have the opportunity to develop practical knowledge and develop conceptual understanding of a wide range of topics. You will complete three assignments which will serve as an excellent preparation for academic writing styles in the social sciences when you start the PGCE. The assignments are designed to both improve your subject knowledge and introduce you to some relevant reading in the education literature. 

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.

In the latest Ofsted Inspection (March 2014) we were was awarded a grade 2 rating 'Good' for our primary and early years, secondary and post-compulsory education and training provision.

Employability

Enhancing your employability skills

After you have successfully completed a Subject Knowledge Enhancement in Biology course and then an initial teacher training course, for example a PGCE Secondary Science: Biology course you will be ready to begin your career as a biology 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

Kerry Taylor

Senior Lecturer

Kerry is currently leading the PGCE Science routes teaching on both the Professional Studies module and Subject Pedagogy module where she specialises in biology education.

More about Kerry

Tracey Goodyere

PGCE Design and Technology Subject Leader / DT Teach First Subject Leader

Tracey's teaching career began within the secondary phase. Her specialist subject was originally Textiles Technology but she soon developed her subject portfolio to include Food and Graphics Technology, Health and Social care and Child Development. She has worked as a Head of Department in a number of schools in the Birmingham area...

More about Tracey