Press Releases

New University courses offer hope to prospective teachers – University of Reading

Release Date : 16 June 2009

The University of Reading's Institute of Education has been awarded a contract to deliver a vital new training course for those wishing to embark on a career in teaching.

In the current economic climate many people face uncertain futures over their jobs or are struggling to find work. The Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) programme at the University of Reading offers a route into teaching for those wishing to train as teachers and possess good general teaching qualities, but whose degrees do not provide them with the subject knowledge required.

Trainees have the opportunity to develop their subject knowledge further in one of four key subjects, French, Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics, before commencing secondary teacher training. Funded by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA), the University's SKE programme is the only one in Berkshire and one of the largest in the country, with the potential to cater for around 150 students.

These free courses range from six months to one year and all successful candidates qualify for a monthly bursary from the TDA.

Professor Andy Goodwyn, Head of the University's Institute of Education said: "We are delighted to now offer SKE courses in crucial subjects where secondary schools lack the necessary number of teachers. In this economic downturn people are facing the possibility of having to change their career path. The SKE programme offers them a wonderful opportunity for another start as well those who perhaps only after they graduate, realise their future lies in teaching."

Andrew Sykes used the French Subject Knowledge Enhancement Course as a stepping stone to a new career and is now a qualified teacher. He recalled: "Once I had finished my degree I worked in London for two years for an accountancy firm. I started to take the accountancy exams but realised it wasn't for me so I went to France to work for Eurocamp for the whole season. I got a TEFL qualification and then taught in the Loire Valley for five years. I then spent the SKE year on my French language because although I could speak it fluently I was not so confident with the grammar.

"I am incredibly pleased that I chose the route I did as I am now working as the Head of Languages in Gillotts School, Henley on Thames. I found the SKE course really interesting. We studied a lot of cultural things and I was able to put into context the things I had seen and heard while I was living in France."

Whilst there is considerable flexibility in recruiting for this course, typically candidates will have an A level in their chosen subject and a degree in a subject some way distant. Applicants must already have a place for secondary teacher training conditional upon successful completion of such a course. By the end of year, students' knowledge of their subject will be such that they are able to teach their subject to A level standard.

The next set of SKE courses at the University of Reading begin in September 2009. For more information please see our – website, or contact our SKE administrator – Kate Kearsey at


For all University of Reading media enquiries please contact James Barr, Press Officer tel 0118 378 7115 or email

Notes to Editors:

The University of Reading's Institute of Education is a major provider of teachers nationally and regionally, offering PGCE Secondary and Primary, BA (Ed) and the Graduate Teacher Programmes (GTP). The secondary programme and the primary programme have both received the top Ofsted grades in 2006/7 and the Institute is now a category 'A' provider for all our courses. The employment rates of graduates are the highest in the University and the best in the country of any initial teacher training provider.


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