Join our Postgraduate Open Day - Saturday 22 June

Register now

Mathematics Subject Knowledge Enhancement Course

12 weeks or 24 weeks
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

The Mathematics SKE course at Birmingham is a highly rated subject knowledge enhancement route for those who wish to teach Mathematics. This face-to-face option provides an exceptionally secure foundation for all those candidates who have not completed a degree in Mathematics or highly related subject.

The content of a SKE will vary considerably between different providers. The University of Birmingham SKE aims to expand the horizons of future mathematics teachers, not only by ensuring students have some knowledge and experience of all aspects of A Level Maths and Further Maths, but also by exploring a wide range of effective teaching ideas and strategies. This includes the history of mathematics and how it can engage and enthuse secondary school students. We also spend time building an awareness of foundational aspects of mathematics and how it impacts secondary school teachers, while at the other end of the spectrum we investigate some mathematics that is not typically encountered until undergraduate level. 

Delivered by specialists with many years’ experience in both secondary school teaching and professional development, you will complete 25 hours’ study each week including three days of face-to-face teaching. Sound pedagogical strategies are exemplified and modelled throughout, and the deliberate variety of lesson styles used enables you to reflect on effective teaching and learning of mathematics. Both the 12-week and 24-week courses are flexible in their content and begin with an opportunity to discuss and/or assess your preferences. The course content includes aspects of:

  • Algebra and Calculus (e.g. algebraic techniques, sequences and series, differentiation, integration, dynamic graphing)
  • Geometry (e.g. Euclidean geometry, fractal geometry, trigonometry, dynamic geometry)
  • Applied Maths (e.g. statistics, mechanics, decision mathematics)
  • Operations and structures (e.g. matrices, complex numbers, eigenvalues, group theory)
  • History of Mathematics
  • Exam papers

You do not need to be applying to the University of Birmingham’s teacher training courses to participate in our Mathematics SKE programme.  The course is suitable for career changers as well as those who have recently graduated. Former students include those who have worked in law, banking and marketing as well as those who have worked in schools as teaching assistants. All SKE fees are paid for by the DfE and there is also a bursary of £175 per week (2024) for the duration of the course.

We also offer the PGCE Primary with Maths Specialism (QTS) course if you are interested in teaching young children. Information on our other PGDipEd (QTS) secondary subjects may be found on the Postgraduate Certificate Secondary Education (QTS) course page. Following satisfactory completion of the PGCE course, you can return to complete an MA in Teaching Studies.

Following successful completion of the SKE course, internal offer holders will automatically be eligible to take up their place on the PGCE Secondary Education (QTS) Mathematics. Offer holders from other institutions with a SKE course condition will have their completion confirmed by the University and be able to start their ITT programme. It is possible to follow a 24-week SKE programme starting in January or a 12-week programme starting in April depending on the need of each student.

Equal Opportunities

The School of Education and University of Birmingham is committed to equal opportunities in the access to and provision of education. For more information please see the following documents:

Dubai Campus

Study for a PGCE with iQTS at the University of Birmingham Dubai campus

Our PGCE with iQTS which has been approved by the KHDA, follows teaching standards within the U.A.E




For eligible applicants there are no tuition fees for the Subject Knowledge Enhancement course (SKE*). Students not eligible for DFE funding should contact us for course fees. 

* as the SKE is funded by the DFE.


Students are not eligible for statutory support during their SKE period. Home students will be eligible to apply for statutory support from their relevant funding agency during the PGCE year. Please view the Funding for Initial Teacher Education page for more information.

For further information contact the School directly or visit the Funding, Graduation & Awards Office via online enquiries.

How To Apply

Contact us

Dave Coglan
Telephone +44 (0)121 414 4833

Matt Nixon
Telephone +44 (0)121 414 4826

Our Standard Requirements

All applicants for the SKE course must hold a degree or equivalent qualification (preferably with some mathematics content). You should also have passed A-Level mathematics. If you wish to discuss your qualifications further, please contact one of the tutors using the details below.

You also require GCSE English grade 4 or above (GCSE C) or an equivalent qualification in addition to the mathematics qualification which must be attained prior to application. The DfE require us to check original certificates.

You must also:

  • complete an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before taking up a place.
  • complete relevant checks to ensure you have the health and physical capacity to teach.
  • agree to abide by the University of Birmingham Code of Professional Conduct and Fitness to Practise.


Dave Coglan
Telephone +44 (0)121 414 4833

Matt Nixon
Telephone +44 (0)121 414 4826

International Requirements

Information about the overall aims, structure and content of the SKE programme can be found in the course details tab.

During the course, you may have the opportunity to teach small groups of pupils from a nearby school within the confines of the School of Education, therefore gaining experience of working in a mathematics department in one of our partnership schools.

The SKE course will assess your mathematics knowledge through:

  • mathematical assignments
  • a folder of work carried out throughout the course
  • involvement in taught sessions
  • completion of set tasks

Many local schools have a very high regard for Birmingham mathematics PGCE (QTS) students and particularly value students who have completed the SKE course and have been successful on their PGCE (QTS) course. 

We have been running this pre-ITE Mathematics course for over 30 years and have an excellent record of students securing jobs at the end of the course. Many of our ex-students get quickly promoted to more senior roles such as Head of Department and many become mentors in partnership schools.