Your Subject Knowledge

ITT providers have to be confident that trainees have adequate subject knowledge to teach their subject by the end of their training course. In reality trainees need to be confident within their subject area before they start to train as the training year demanding and time short.

What do we consider when deciding this?

  1. Degree content-ideally we are looking for a degree with at least 50% content of the subject which you want to teach.
  2. Open University (or similar) modules at Level 4, 5 or 6 in relevant subjects.
  3. Relevant Masters’ degrees.
  4. A-levels in the subject you want to teach (grades A*-C).
  5. Use of subject knowledge as part of candidates’ work/career. E.g. using computer coding in the work place if trainees want to teach Computer Science.
  6. Teaching your subject unqualified in a school or college.
  7. Being a native French, Spanish or German speaker if you want to teach Modern Foreign Languages.
  8. Courses for teachers offered by professional associations or relevant bodies e.g. Culham St. Gabriel’s for R.E courses, Royal Society of Chemistry for Chemistry courses etc.

In some cases e.g. having a grade B in A-level maths would not be sufficient to demonstrate adequate subject knowledge. However, if there was also some maths content in the degree e.g. business studies or psychology then it might be decided that with a 6 month Subject Knowledge Enhancement course, prior to entry, trainees would have adequate subject knowledge.

Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses.

We are able to make studying a Subject Knowledge Enhancement course a condition of any offer that we give to trainees whose subject knowledge needs an extra boost prior to training. Because this would be a condition of the offer of a place to train, the DfE would fund the course costs and also provide the candidates with a bursary of up to £200 per week. The weekly time commitment is approximately 25 hours and the majority of courses can be studied on-line.

At interview we would establish whether candidates need to undertake an SKE and, if so, how long should be for. Courses can run from 28 weeks to 8 weeks.

Science candidates

The DfE splits science training courses in to biology, chemistry and physics. In reality our schools expect science teachers to teach across all 3 disciplines. We look for evidence of more than one science having been studied beyond GCSE. For example, a biology candidate may have a degree in biology but will have either chemistry, physics or both sciences at A-level. Candidates who do not have a solid grounding in the other sciences may be required to do extended self-study as a condition of their offer. This might include working with established science teachers pre-course in school. The DfE does not offer Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses in the ‘other’ sciences for non-specialists.