IOP Institute of Physics

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Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE)

Since their establishment in 2004 an increasing number of ITE centres have offered six month physics Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) courses, or composite PGCE courses of similar duration. 

The Institute had an opportunity to observe the courses closely through its Gatsby funded mentoring project.


The courses have provided a very valuable route into physics ITE for well over 100 participants who did not have recent or relevant physics qualifications. 

Typical participants have had qualifications such as marine biology, engineering or psychology.

Research evidence on the pilot courses showed that the teaching and subject related skills demonstrated by the participants was very similar to that of physics graduates by the end of the ITE course.

Although the courses have provided a valuable service for other providers in their region (see case study 2) the greatest advantage has often been to the centre itself. 

Recruitment to physics PGCE courses has increased by an average of ten In the case of four of the providers the SKE courses (see case studies 1 and 3) and still substantial but slightly smaller increases in a number of other centres.