Science Foundation

Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) Chemistry

Year of entry

Our SKE Chemistry courses are tailored to your individual subject knowledge needs, with the flexibility of studying online for 8, 12, 16 or 20 weeks.

Courses are free for those eligible for funding (see 'Funding and Fees' section below).

The online SKE booster courses are designed to:

  • strengthen and enhance your existing knowledge;
  • prepare you for your future training;
  • give you confidence in another subject area.

Study is flexible and can fit around your lifestyle and commitments. There will be live video tutorials with an experienced specialist to help you to progress through the online content and tasks. The course will help you to:

  • upgrade and expand your subject knowledge;
  • develop an understanding of how your subject works;
  • develop an understanding of the key concepts and processes;
  • promote and develop independent learning skills;
  • improve your ability to identify and address your learning needs.

The SKE courses are designed for those due to embark on their Initial Teacher Training (ITT) who need to strengthen their existing subject knowledge. A certificate of completion is provided that you can forward to your training provider when you have finished the course.


  • If you are a serving teacher, you should check with your Teaching School Alliance (TSA) to determine if they will commission us to provide you with access to the SKE course materials.
  • The SKE may also be of interest to others who feel they would benefit from completing a course, but do not match the entry requirements for funding. See 'Funding and Fees' section below.

The Chemistry Subject Knowledge Enhancement course aims, through a blend of self-directed learning and online tutorials, to:

  • refresh, consolidate and improve your subject knowledge;
  • develop scientific thinking;
  • develop an awareness of Chemistry in real-life contexts;
  • promote independent learning, improve meta-cognitive skills and develop your ability to identify and address your own learning needs.

The course requires your active participation to undertake research, solve problems and analyse data. Topics are approached in meaningful contexts in order to encourage you to explore concepts rather than to simply accept knowledge, and to look at what may be familiar subject knowledge in a different way and therefore develop a better understanding of the subject. This approach will help you to model the pedagogic approach that has been proven to facilitate learning in the classroom.

The aim is to direct you to construct your own knowledge through carrying out a series of tasks and activities. You are expected to form a deeper understanding of the concepts behind the issues under discussion and to form an appreciation of their wider context. Where possible, ideas encountered in the on-demand material are linked to classroom practice and vested in practical science.

The course looks briefly at Key Stage 3 themes and approaches, continuing through and beyond Key Stage 4 to secure your subject knowledge sufficiently to support your teaching at AS/A-level, if required. Most of the sessions have a task associated with them which SKE participants are expected to undertake. These tasks are generally of higher GCSE or A-level standard.

Sample course material

How the course works

All course content is accessed online through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and consists of the following:

  • An initial audit to help you plan the areas of study on which you wish to focus. This also provides a baseline from which to measure your progress.
  • Online, regular ‘Live’ tutorials with the subject tutor at fixed times during the week.
  • Online ‘on-demand’ sessions, resources and associated tasks that can be accessed at any time.
  • An online e-Portfolio where you collect the evidence of your work, assessed by the tutor at the end of the course.
  • A final audit which will demonstrate the progress you have made at the end of the course.

The on-demand material is supported by the online tutorials which use a problem-solving approach and ideas and concepts are revisited throughout the course. These weekly video conferences are scheduled in groups with a tutor who is an experienced specialist in the subject.

You will need a headset with an inbuilt microphone and USB connection to enable you to participate fully in the live tutorials.

Subject Knowledge Enhancement Course Dates, 2017-2018

The number of places available on each cohort is subject to The National College for Teaching and Leadership allocations.

All Pre-ITT courses

(All start and end dates fall on a Saturday.)

No Dates are available

Post-ITT (Serving Teachers)

Course length and start and end dates are by arrangement with your school.


For eligible pre-ITT applicants, a limited number of places on these courses are fully funded by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). We deal with the funding request directly from your application information.

For serving teachers, funding must be secured via the Teaching School Alliances (TSA) who will then pay us direct for your access to the SKE materials.

So that we can confirm whether or not you are eligible for NCTL course funding for this pre-ITT SKE course, you must:

  • have accepted a conditional offer of a place on a Postgraduate Initial Teacher Training programme in the same subject area as the SKE subject area of study. For SKE Primary Mathematics the offer must be for a Primary Mathematics Specialism or Primary Mathematics Specialist Initial Teacher Training programme.
    For all courses you must also have the completion of an SKE course as a requirement of your conditional offer.
    Evidence of the requirement to complete an SKE by the appropriate ITT provider will need to be provided as part of the application process.
  • not be undertaking or apply for any other Pre-ITT SKE courses with any other providers during the same academic year
  • be a Home or EU student and not classed as an overseas fee paying PGCE, School Direct or SCITT student
  • not be employed as a teacher, already hold Qualified Teacher Status or be eligible to be awarded QTS
  • hold a minimum honours degree classification of 2:2 or equivalent, except for Physics and Maths.
    Students who are studying on a Maths or Physics SKE with a 3rd class relevant degree and a B at A Level in the subject they are studying may be entitled to a bursary. Students with overseas qualifications will be required to provide a NARIC statement and transcripts clearly showing that their qualification is equivalent to a Bachelor Degree with Honours at a 2:2 or above or a 3rd in a relevant degree with a B at A level in Maths, further Maths or Physics as appropriate.

Tuition fees (for non-funded places)
Applicants who do not meet the criteria for a funded place will need to pay the appropriate tuition fee for the course length they wish to study.

Contact us for the self-funded fee rates.

Training bursaries are available for those who meet the NCTL criteria for an SKE bursary in their chosen subject. Those starting an SKE course after 26th January 2017 and before 31st July 2017 will be assessed for a bursary which will be the equivalent of £200 per week of study on the SKE course. All students who enrol on an SKE course will be assessed against the criteria to determine their eligibility. Further details on the eligibility criteria available in the bursary guidance.

For full information, read our SKE Bursary Guidance (pdf)

To apply for funding and a bursary, you will need to submit the following:

A certificate of successful completion is given to those who show progress, submit the required evidence and engage throughout the course. NB: This is a non-credit-bearing course.

Course activity and engagement with online tutorials is monitored by our software and is compulsory.

Progress in the course is demonstrated in part by the difference between an initial audit and a final audit score. A portfolio of set tasks also demonstrates your learning progression and is assessed at the end of the course. This can serve as evidence towards Standard 3 of the QTS Teaching Standards.

You are expected to spend a minimum average of 25 hours a week working on the course.

The following are needed for the course:

  • A desktop or laptop personal computer (Windows PC or Mac);
  • A stable, reliable internet connection.
  • A headset with a USB connection that incorporates a microphone.
    (You will need this to enable you to participate fully in the live tutorials.)
  • Access to a smartphone/digital camera or scanner to capture handwritten evidence for the online portfolio.

For further details: Minimum Required Computer Specification (pdf)

Please note: if you do not have the equipment listed, you will need to purchase it as funding is not available for IT equipment.

  • Air and water pollution
  • Global warming
  • Materials
  • Forensics
  • Patterns of atomic structure
  • Bonding and structure
  • Bonding in molecular structures
  • Balanced chemical equations
  • Energetic – energy transfers in chemistry
  • Organic chemistry
  • Kinetics
  • Functional groups
  • Equilibria
  • Inorganic chemistry
  • Compounds and their formation
  • Stiochiometry
  • Redox reactions
  • Equilibrium
  • Chemical kinetics
  • Thermochemistry
  • Chemical thermodynamics
  • Review of principles
  • Organic chemistry
  • Preparation and identification of organic compounds
  • Organic compounds containing oxygen
  • Aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Introduction to bio-organic chemistry
  • Chemistry of the s block
  • Chemistry of the p block
  • Halogens
  • Chemistry of the d block
  • Industrial chemistry

Sample course material

  • The scientific worldview
  • The philosophy of chemistry education and key thinking
  • Science within the National Curriculum: KS3
  • Science within the National Curriculum: KS4
  • Misconceptions
  • Questioning skills and scientific enquiry
  • Scientific investigations
  • Social and ethical issues
  • Numeracy and literacy
  • ICT in science
  • Teaching KS4 topics
  • Teaching key chemistry concepts
  • Learning to learn
  • Maths for scientists
  • Teaching physics as a chemist
  • AS/A2 chemistry
  • The chemical industry
  • Science outside the classroom
  • Vocational science

Sample course material .

Please contact us for further information or if you have any questions.

Fact file


  • 8, 12, 16 or 20 weeks, online

Entry requirements

  • Pre-ITT: You must have accepted a conditional offer of an ITT place where the conditions indicate an SKE course must be completed.

    Post-ITT (serving teachers): Places must be requested through a group of Teaching School Alliances (TSAs) that have secured the funding for courses this year. The TSA can then commission us to provide access to the SKE course materials.

    Other: We can provide our SKE courses to candidates who can't secure a free place but would still benefit from completing a course.

    Further information: Please contact us for further details.


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Last edited: 14/09/2017 13:46:00