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about the keystages

About the Key Stages


All students take part in ACORNS days which develop cross curricular personal learning and thinking skills under the ACORNS themes. We ask our students to be:
Open Minded

The Education Reform Act which came into operation in 1989 dictates the major part of what is taught in schools and this is divided into five Key Stages. Secondary schools are charged with the delivery of Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 to ensure that students have a wide range of subjects to achieve a balanced curriculum.

Our aim is that all students have a curriculum that enables them to make at least the expected progress in each key stage.

There are specific support events at each of the transition times between Key stages to ensure students and parents have all the information they need to make informed choices. The careers support adviser is available full time to offer advice and guidance to students and parents in addition to the information students receive from teachers and the work related learning curriculum.

We have three days each year where the normal timetable is put to one side and students work in different groups on themes which cover the ACORNS, hence we call these ACORNS Days. These are delivered in creative and engaging ways by all subjects and involve all students. This supports their development as whole learners and broadens their experiences. It includes, for example, work related topics, careers activities, visits to universities, educational visits, finance based activities, preparing for adulthood tasks, cross curricular literacy and numeracy applications and creative projects.

Related Pages  Curriculum | Subjects

Key Stage 3

Key Stage Three at Melksham Oak has two aims:


  •   To enable a seamless transition to harness the full potential of our learners, now and for the future.
  •   To be an engaging, broad and balanced curriculum that develops the skills and knowledge needed in KS4, KS5 and life beyond education.


In Year 7 and 8 all pupils study the prescribed Core and Foundation subjects for English, Maths, Drama, Science, Design and Technology, ICT, Art, Geography, French or Spanish, History, Music, Personal, Social & Health Education, Physical Education and Religious Studies.

This allows students to experience all subjects and gain a wide range of knowledge and skills; it also supports them in making guided and informed subject choices for Key stage 4. During year 8 students have tasters of the choices for Key stage 4. Students take their option choices in Year 8 ready to begin exam classes in Year 9.

Year 8 students have events such as the Annual Careers Fair and Industry day in technology to support them in making informed subject choices. They also have taster lessons in all subjects, assemblies and an evening for information to be shared with them and their parents. The course information booklet, Pathways booklet, is available on this web site.

Key Stage 4

This begins at the start of year 9 to allow for development of skills and knowledge in all of the Key stage 4 subjects and enable full preparation for the new style of final assessments.

In Key Stage 4 students are guided onto a personalised learning pathway to meet their interests and learning style. In order to ensure breadth and balance all pupils are required to take the core of subjects including English, Mathematics, Science (most achieving at least two qualifications) , ICT, Physical Education and Religious Studies.

Pathway 1

Students on pathway 1 have work related learning units, plus study support, they also have two option choices from the subject list.

Pathway 2

Students on pathway 2 have three option choices, at least one of which must include: Geography, History, French or Spanish.

Pathways Letter 2018

Pathway 1 Handbook  ‘for year 9 starting September 2018’ 

Pathway 2 Handbook   ‘for year 9 starting September 2018’ 

Careers Education is an integral part of the Personal Social & Health Education Programme and the school provides a comprehensive careers advice service through the library and careers support staff, as well as incorporating work experience into the school calendar for all year 10 students. Sex Education is incorporated into the Personal, Social & Health Education Programme, the policy for which is available on request.


Key Stage 5 - Sixth Form

Related Page Sixth Form |

Our Sixth Form provision consists of both Advanced Level (level 3) and vocational level 3 courses. A Sixth Form entry guide is published every year to coincide with the Sixth Form open evening, with up-to-date details but the following subjects and activities are offered at present:

Art, Biology, Business Economics, Applied Business, Applied Science, Chemistry, Product Design, Food Technology, English Language, English Literature, English Media, French, Spanish, Geography, History, Mathematics, Music, Creative Media, Dance, Physics, Psychology, Sociology, Theatre Studies, ICT, Sport, Textiles, Philosophy and Ethics.

GCSE: English and Mathematics are offered to students who have not achieved grade C.

The Complementary Studies programme includes enrichment activities such as Young Enterprise, Community Sports Leader’s awards, working to support the reading programme and work experience.

Entry requirements to Level 3 courses (A/S and A2) are five GCSEs at Grade 'C' and above, with individual subjects requiring a Grade B or A. The average Key stage 4 point score is also used to support the coursing of students onto appropriate courses.

More importantly, a student's place on any course is contingent upon the ability to meet deadlines and show a level of competence and ability to achieve a pass grade in the subjects being studied. All students are expected to show independent learning skills. To this end, each student's work is reviewed in each subject at regular intervals. We will offer opportunities to develop Leadership skills in addition to the ACORNS. Careers support and events are offered as part of the sixth form package.

All students follow a Tutorial programme and have a tutor.

As with our KS4 curriculum, the school is continually reviewing and developing a wider post 16 provision.

All Key Stage 5 students have access to IT facilities, the Sixth Form social area and seminar rooms.

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