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The University of Southampton
Southampton Education School

SKE Science Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses

To be ready for the challenges of training to teach science, your subject knowledge and understanding across all three sciences has to be of a sufficient standard. If your degree subject is not close enough to one of the three traditional science subjects, or you need to improve your knowledge and understanding, particularly of the physical sciences, you will be teaching in school, you can take additional training before your PGCE.

Introducing your course

Are you keen to teach science and have a related degree and an A level in a science, but insufficient, or rusty, knowledge of the physical sciences to feel you will be able to teach with confidence? Do you want to change your life with a career that will see you providing children with an invaluable science education that will ensure their future employment? Take one of the Science Subject Knowledge Enhancement course prior to your teacher training and gain the essential skills you need to make the most of the PGCE and become a confident and inspiring science teacher. There is no better gateway course for preparing you for the challenges of teacher training in science.

The Science Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses take a blended learning approach with a combination of high-quality, face-to-face teaching in our well-equipped labs, and distance-learning units chosen to best reflect the needs of individual trainee teachers.

 All units are designed and delivered by university tutors who are very experienced secondary and sixth-form science teachers.

To Apply

You should apply in the usual way for an initial teacher training (ITT) course - in this case one of the University of Southampton Secondary Science PGCE courses - through UCAS Teacher Training . You should indicate in your application that you are interested in doing a subject knowledge enhancement course ahead of the standard PGCE.

Fees and funding

This course is funded by the Department for Education. You will not normally have to pay any fees. A bursary is also available for all eligible students (normally any Home/EU student with an undergraduate degree classification of 2:2 or higher). The bursary is £1600 for the 2019 course. The funding arrangements for your subsequent initial teacher training are the same as for all trainees on one year PGCE courses.


For further information on this programme, email the ITE office or telephone: 023 8059 2413. You can find general information on teaching as a career, including the criteria for QTS, on the Department for Education website.

Programme tutor: Matt Perks

Key Facts

Year-on-year, trainee teachers on our courses evaluate highly the support received from both tutors and mentors.

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Typical entry requirements

Typical GCSE entry requirements for SKE Science Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses
GCSECandidates need to have GCSE’s in Mathematics and English Language at grade C or above (or the equivalent qualifications).
Undergraduate degree

Applicants for the Subject Knowledge Enhancement course need a science-related degree and one science A-Level.

Selection process

Intake: 18

Average applications per place: 2

You will be selected for interview based on the following:

  • your application shows good prior knowledge from your degree AND/OR
  • the application shows good experience has been gained through observation (or other) in a school or college AND/OR
  • the application is well written and persuasive.

The selection criteria applied are:

  • enthusiasm and good subject knowledge and/or ability to learn further
  • good knowledge of educational issues and a strong sense of the professional demands
  • good interpersonal skills and an ability to communicate effectively

A good academic reference must also be provided from your most recent University or in some cases an employer (where you have been away from studying for some time). All places offered will be conditional on Enhanced DBS and Children’s Barred Service, and occupational health checks.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Typical course content

The Science Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses are designed with flexible content to meet the needs of individual trainee teachers.

There are two weeks of intensive face-to-face teaching for everyone, with a combination of key topics in physics, practicals and theory in chemistry, and more advanced practical work in biology. Some of this work will focus on the Required Practicals in the new GCSEs (and A-Levels where appropriate).

Each trainee teacher will also complete some units via distance-learning. These units will be chosen to best meet the needs of each individual. Where possible these units will be completed prior to the face-to-face teaching but they can also be completed after those weeks before the start of the main PGCE course.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees

Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Assessment is through a portfolio of evidence, presentations, open book tasks and written assignments.

Each topic also assessed through completion of subject knowledge questions relating to that area of science. These are usually questions taken from past GCSE and Advanced level examination papers.

Study locations

EEE Building

Highfield Campus, Southampton Education School (B32, B34)

The Southampton Education School is based on the Highfield Campus, in ...Find out more

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