What does Cultural Capital Mean at Coleridge Primary School
What is Cultural Capital?
Cultural capital is the gathering of knowledge, behaviours, and skills that a child can draw upon and which demonstrates their cultural awareness, knowledge and competence; it is one of the key ingredients a child will draw upon to be successful in society, their career and the world of work.
Cultural capital gives a child power. It helps them achieve goals, become successful, and rise up the social ladder without necessarily having wealth or financial capital. Cultural capital is having assets that give children the desire to aspire and achieve social mobility whatever their starting point.
What does Cultural Capital look like in Education?
Cultural capital, when used in relation to education, promotes the idea that schools should support the modern definition of what ‘cultural capital’ means. That is an individual who is knowledgeable about a wide range of culture, is comfortable discussing its value and merits, and has been given a vast array of experiences and access to skill development.
Bourdieu identified three sources of cultural capital – objective, embodied and institutionalised. In education, this could look like:
Objective: cultural goods, books, works of art;
Embodied: language, mannerisms, preferences;
Institutionalised: qualifications, education credentials.
Therefore, cultural capital in education could potentially be realised through all aspects of the curriculum – exposing students to a large variety of subject areas and arts; promoting character-building qualities that lead to creating well-rounded, global citizens, and of course the more typical expectations of education, which is to provide young people with recognised and meaningful qualifications that will open up doors to paths in later life.
Ofsted define cultural capital as…
“As part of making the judgement about the quality of education, inspectors will consider the extent to which schools are equipping pupils with the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
Our understanding of ‘knowledge and cultural capital’ is derived from the following wording in the national curriculum: ‘It is the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.”
What does Cultural Capital look like at Coleridge?
Every child and family who joins our setting will have their own knowledge and experiences that will link to their culture and wider family. This might include: languages, beliefs, traditions, cultural and family heritage, interests, travel and work. Research shows that when children and families’ cultures are valued, both the child’s experience of learning and progress can benefit.
We have devised a bespoke curriculum for our children, which exposes them to skills and knowledge in our local context and then they can transfer this knowledge to more abstract areas. We have ensured that our teaching is language rich, with vocabulary taught discretely and also exposing children to subject specific vocabulary, through their knowledge organisers. We also have worked with School and Voice 21 to adapt our oracy practice, so children and staff value talk within the classroom.
Children are exposed to a wide range of books, either through our text-led curriculum, reading sessions or the plethora of reading activities we run through school such as: library visits, F1’s imagination library or recommended reading books in each year group. Reading is seen as a high priority, but also exposing children to authors that link to our context and that they wouldn’t necessary encounter, if it wasn’t for our guidance.
Our curriculum has been carefully designed so that we can expose our children to experiences they normally wouldn’t have. For example, in Y3 for Geography, we compare Rotherham to the East Coast. By doing this, we have the opportunity to expose our children to the geography of the coast, whilst also getting to visit seaside resorts such as Scarborough and Flamborough. This is the same in History, where we give all the children the opportunity to visit the British museum in London. Children get the chance to take part in workshops like the Roman’s or Mayan’s whilst also visiting our capital city. Children also get the opportunity to go on residential’s to Kingswood and Crowden, where they are exposed to the ‘great outdoors.’ In music, we employ a specialist to teach Y3/4 children to play musical instruments. Children then perform to families over the year and all Y4 children are rewarded with a musical instrument to practice at home.
Our F1 children also are exposed to several activities linked either through their well-designed curriculum, our through the 50 things to do before you’re six programme. This is a programme that is inter-woven into our curriculum, so children have experiences that all 6-year olds should.
All children have access to a variety of after school clubs, that enhance cultural capital. Sports clubs, coding clubs, circus and art skills clubs and cooking clubs have all been extremely popular. We work with parents and children, so they have a voice in what clubs they feel are most beneficial to them.
Our main vision for our children is for them to become life-long learners and global citizens that aspire to achieve great accomplishments in their life by having a desire and belief in their ability. Gradually widening children’s experiences as they progress through school is an important step in providing rich and engaging learning across the curriculum. We plan carefully for children to have progressively richer experiences in nursery and beyond. These include trips to the local park, shops and visits to places of worship, museums, sports and music venues just to name a few.