Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - Mathematics

Subject Knowledge Enhancement route

12 or 24 weeks
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

The Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) route, is a full time, campus-based conversion course for those who wish to teach Mathematics in secondary schools. It is suitable to those who have studied a degree with less than the 50% of mathematical content of an undergraduate mathematical degree as well as career changers.

The SKE Mathematics course at Birmingham (to be comfirmed in December 2020) is a highly rated subject knowledge enhancement route for those who wish to teach Mathematics. The course will help you to increase your confidence by developing a deep understanding of Mathematics at A level and beyond. The majority of the SKE course will be University based with face to face sessions with experienced Mathematics teachers. There will also be opportunities to visit schools in order to gain experience of mathematics being taught in a secondary school allowing students to reflect on developing good practice in teaching and working with school students.

The subject enhancement course at Birmingham works on two levels: the development of personal mathematics knowledge, and also thinking about teaching and learning issues whilst being a learner of mathematics. We wish to develop you as a thinking teacher who can be aware of choices in how to teach mathematics and make informed decisions about how you work with students. The SKE 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.

It is possible to follow a 24 week SKE programme or a 12 week programme depending on the need of each student. You are welcome to apply at any time and if successful will be placed onto a suitable programme of study.

Following successful completion of the SKE course, you will automatically be eligible to take up your place on the Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) Mathematics course. You may be eligible for a scholarship of £26,000 in lieu of the bursary from the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) in collaboration with the London Mathematical Society (LMS), the Mathematical Association (MA), Maths in Education and Industry (MEI) and the Royal Statistical Society (RSS).

Please contact us if you require further information.

If your degree has the equivalent mathematics content of 50% of a mathematics degree then you might like to consider the one year Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) - Mathematics teaching course instead. We also offer the Postgraduate Diploma Primary Education (SSPIP) Mathematics course if you are interested in teaching young children.

Information on our other PGDipEd (QTS) secondary subjects may be found on the Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) course page. 

Following satisfactory completion of the PGDipEd course, you can return to complete an MA in Teaching Studies.

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:

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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/EU students will be eligible to apply for statutory support from their relevant funding agency during the PGDipEd 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

You apply directly to the Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education (QTS) – Mathematics course. It is worth mentioning in your personal statement that you are interested in following the Subject Knowledge Enhancement route.

We welcome applications from anyone with a mathematics A-level with any Undergraduate degree. If you have any further questions regarding this course please contact David Coglan.

David Coglan
Telephone +44 (0)121 414 4833

Mary O'Connor
Telephone +44 (0)121 414 4864

Tom Francome
Telephone +44 (0)121 415 8288

Our Standard Requirements

All applicants for the SKE course must hold a degree or equivalent qualification (preferably with some Mathematics content). You will need to have a pass at A-level in Mathematics.

If you wish to discuss your qualifications further, please contact one of the tutors.

You also have to have a GCSE in 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 the original certificates; you therefore cannot start an SKE course with the intention to progress to a PGDipEd (QTS) course unless you already hold these qualifications. 

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.

International Requirements

The Subject Knowledge Enhancement course (SKE) consists of taught sessions in algebra and calculus, geometries, statistics, operations and structure, mechanics and decision mathematics. Other taught sessions include mathematics education, topics sessions and an introduction to using selected mathematics software. You will be part of self-learning groups which will be given the task of learning about further mathematics topics and presenting a taught session to your fellow students. You will also be put into a group to design a display to engage people in mathematical activity.

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

The SKE course will assess your Mathematics knowledge through:

  • assignments;
  • a folder of work carried out throughout the year;
  • reflections on teaching and learning issues relating to yourself as a learner on this course;
  • involvement in taught sessions;
  • completion of other requirements for the course, such as successful involvement in group activities as mentioned in the course content above.

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

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