What is Cultural Capital?
The term cultural capital is not new. It is a complex theory that comes originally from the field of sociology, which involves the study of society, including relationships, social interactions and culture. It is important to recognise that everyone has cultural capital - that is - knowledge, skills and behaviours, and that these accumulate over time through many different experiences and opportunities. Cultural capital is understanding how to contribute to ‘getting on in life’ or ‘social status’, i.e. being able to perform well in school, knowing how to talk in different social groups or societies, accessing higher education and being successful in work or a career.
Cultural Capital at Villiers Primary School
Every child and family who joins our school 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.
“You are the sum total of the people you meet and interact with in the world. Whether it’s your family, peers, or co-wokers, the opportunities you have and the things that you learn all come through doors that other people open for you.” Tanner Colby.
Cultural capital is the accumulation 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 pupil will draw upon to be successful in society, their career and the world of work.
Cultural capital gives our pupils power. It helps children achieve goals, become successful, and rise their aspirations, 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.
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.’ “
At Villiers Primary School, children benefit from a flexible and robust curriculum that builds on the knowledge, skills and understanding the children have already acquired. We believe that exposure, not only to culture but also to experiences outside of the classroom, is of paramount importance to their ongoing successes.
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 from the moment they start school, until they leave us. These include trips to the local woods, shops and visits to places of worship, museums and sports venues, to name just a few.
What does this look like at Villiers Primary School?