What is Cultural Capital?
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 child will draw upon to be successful in society, their career and the world of work.
Cultural capital promotes social mobility and success.
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.
In, “The Forms of Capital,” Bourdieu broke down the concept of cultural capital into three parts. First, he stated that it exists in an embodied state, meaning that the knowledge people acquire over time, through socialisation and education, exists within them. The more they obtain certain forms of embodied cultural capital, say knowledge of classical music or hip-hop, the more they are primed to seek it out. As for norms, morals, and skills such as table manners, language, and gendered behaviour, people often act out and display embodied cultural capital as they move through the world and interact with others. We strive to promote this embodied state of cultural capital through our school practice, school rules, promotion of British values, promotion of job squad and our PSHE centred curriculum. Cultural capital also exists in an objectified state. This refers to the material objects individuals own that might relate to their educational pursuits (books and computers), jobs (tools and equipment), clothing and accessories, the durable goods in their homes (furniture, appliances, decorative items), and even the food they purchase and prepare. These objectified forms of cultural capital tend to signal one’s economic class. Finally, cultural capital exists in an institutionalized state. This refers to the ways in which cultural capital is measured, certified, and ranked. Academic qualifications and degrees are prime examples of this, as are job titles, political offices, and social roles like husband, wife, mother, and father. Importantly, Bourdieu emphasized that cultural capital exists in a system of exchange with economic and social capital.
Cultural Capital Social Capital Economic Capital
Cultural capital is having assets that give children the desire to aspire and achieve social mobility whatever their starting point.
Eastwood Village Primary
As a school, we have considered the backgrounds, cultures, attitudes and the opportunities available to our pupils and the community. We have considered the cultural capital of our pupils and have constructed a curriculum that provides key knowledge and, just as importantly, key vocabulary and language structures for them to be successful. We are also very aware of the uniqueness of our area and community and how the levels of depravity (index of multiple deprivation – 252/32844) including the levels of mobility and the historic and current struggles of integration of the Gypsy Roma people, impact on what we need to offer to ensure our pupils are successful and that we enhance their cultural and social capital. We offer our pupils experiences and essential knowledge that will enable them to be educated citizens, prepare them for future success and to be socially mobile, for this is at the core of what social justice is: enabling all people, regardless of socio-economic background, to be provided with the opportunities to succeed in life.
Knowledge – Each subject leader has worked alongside SLT and considered fully the needs of the pupils and the community in which we serve. Our curriculum has been organised to ensure that knowledge is progressive and supportive of the pupils next stage.
Key Vocabulary – Key vocabulary is decided by subject leaders to support the pupils progress in each subject. Furthermore, every lesson is started with the specific teaching of key vocabulary in an EAL friendly manner to support pupils in the acquisition of new learning and to ensure they make progress. The key vocabulary taught then prepares pupils for their next stage of learning and next stage of education.
Literature and vocabulary – As a school, we ensure the pupils have access to high quality, age related literature. Shared reading, the use of the DERIC skills, prosody interventions and reading for pleasure sessions give our pupils access to a range of vocabulary which is shared, studied and used in spoken and written language. We have ensured that our pupils access the ‘5 plagues of reading’ which are books which are more challenging than those which they would ordinarily have access to. These include archaic texts, non-linear texts, narratively complex, resistant/ open texts and plots with a strong symbol or moral.
Jobs and careers – Our pupils, generally, have a very sheltered idea of careers and life beyond school. We also recognise, due to the upwardly mobile nature of our families, that our children do not have experience of many jobs and careers in their homes. In addition to this, our area is 68th out of 32, 844 on the indices of depravity for education, skills and training showing lack of understanding or unwillingness to access further education. In light of this, subject leaders are building in opportunities for pupils to make links to careers and career paths. For example, in Science, prior to each topic, pupils explore careers where those specific skills or knowledge would be useful. We have also developed our DT cycle in a way that exemplifies careers outside of the production of a product (where many of our parents and guardians work) and focusses on the evaluation, design and market research areas of DT. We also celebrate our pupils’ range and grasp of different languages and promote jobs and further education linked to this through our language ambassadors. We also give our pupils opportunities to visit further education establishments with pupils taking part in the HEPP Sheffield Hallam University research project.
Language and language structures – Our practice and all subjects’ pedagogies are focussed on the promotion of and progression of language. Every lesson, key vocabulary is shared, discussed and used in context to promote our children’s understanding. We also, effectively us language structures, differentiated, to promote our pupils grasp of English and application of it to every ambitious context. Staff use tower hamlets language structures as a basis of their planning and make these available to pupils at key points in a lesson to support their discussions.
We understand, that in order to have a really positive, lasting impression on our pupils’ views, ideas, goals and attitudes and ensure our pupils are educated, active, respectful and responsible citizens we need to have a lasting effect on their social capital as well as their cultural capital. We pride ourselves on creating an environment which promotes a sense of belonging for our pupils where them and their whole family feel trusted and safe. We have an experienced pastoral team, made up of the headteacher, attendance lead, safeguarding lead, SEN lead, SEN support, SEN school link and the nurture lead, which meet weekly to ensure a holistic approach to the support of our pupils, families the community; teaching staff are invited regularly to these meetings to present and discuss ways of supporting pupils for a range of needs.
All pupils at Eastwood Village have the opportunity to participate in a great range of extra-curricular activities, breakfast club, after-school-clubs and holiday clubs as well as community events such as the local Fun Fest and performances at the Rotherham Minster. Participation in school roles which promote our pupils’ levels of responsibility are encouraged and most pupils have a role linked to breakfast club, attendance monitoring, equipment monitoring, a school councillor, language ambassador, yard buddy, reading buddy or sports leader. These roles often allow our older pupils to work with and interact with our younger pupils in a way that provides a positive role model and therefore the values of the younger pupils are set by those in the older years. British Values, celebrating cultures and learning about religious festivals underpin, along with our robust PSHE curriculum, everything we do at Eastwood Village and allows us to celebrate every pupil’s religion and cultural identity (see Safeguarding Curriculum Map).
Our school is very proud of the journey it has been on from opening up in 2015. Every policy that has been put in place and is in place is based on positive behaviours and the celebration of these. Our Fun Time Friday policy allows pupils to celebrate their own behaviour.
At Eastwood Village, we recognise that for children to aspire and be successful academically and in the wider areas of their lives, they need to be given rich and sustained opportunities to develop their cultural capital.
The school recognises that there are six key areas of development that are interrelated and cumulatively contribute to the sum of a child’s cultural capital:
- Personal Development
- Social Development, including political and current affairs awareness
- Physical Development
- Spiritual Development
- Moral Development
- Cultural development
Summary of the key areas of coverage for each area of Cultural Capital Development:
- Personal, Social and Health Education provision;
- The school’s wider pastoral framework;
- Transition support;
- Qualified Children’s Mental Health First Aider
- Work to develop confidence e.g. role play, supporting peers;
- Activities focused on building self-esteem;
- Mental Health & well-being provision.
- Careers and aspirations education
- CAS project and promotion of physical activity
- Pupil voice used to inform school provision
- Personal, Social and Health Education provision;
- Anti-Bullying Gold Award
- Charity work and school events
- Pupil Voice –School Council, Sports Leaders, Language Ambassadors
- Community and Parents Tea and Chat ‘Conversation Club’
- Provisions linked to the school’s accreditation of the Mental Health Award
- Pastoral support from all staff
- Community support for national and international crisis – e.g Ukraine Invasion
- RSE curriculum
- The Physical Education curriculum;
- CAS project – Creating Active Schools
- Healthy Eating policies and catering provision;
- Free family breakfast club
- Anti-bullying and safeguarding policies and strategies
- Continued work with medicine students to support pupils and the communities understanding of health and well-being
- The extra-curricular clubs related to sports and well-being;
- The celebration of sporting achievement including personal fitness and competitive sport;
- Design and Technology units related to food preparation and nutrition;
- Active travel engagement
- RSE curriculum
- The Religious Education Curriculum;
- Our collective acts of reflection;
- Support for the expression of individual faiths;
- Inter-faith and faith-specific activities and speakers;
- Visits to religious buildings and centres;
- Calendar of festivals celebrated through the year
- Support for all stakeholders to celebrate and honour their religious festivals
- The Religious Education Curriculum;
- The PSHE curriculum
- School council
- Reading buddies, phonics squad and other job squad roles
- School’s adherence to and promotion of the British Values
- The school’s Behaviour policy;
- Contributions to local, national and international charitable projects
- Citizenship education through PSHE;
- Promotion of language ambassadors to promote language and culture
- Arts education including Music and Drama;
- Access to the languages and cultures of other countries through the Geography and MFL curriculum;
- Promotion of racial equality and community cohesion through the school’s ethos, informing all policy and practice.
- World music and dance festivals
- Eastwood’s Got Talent – celebrating cultural music and dance in the community
Each curriculum area makes its own contribution to children’s cultural capital development and supports SMSC across the school.