What is cultural capital?
We have constructed a curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give all learners the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. Ofsted’s understanding of ‘knowledge and cultural capital’ is derived from the wording on the national curriculum as, “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 St Dominic Savio, this means the knowledge children need to be able to think for themselves, to understand the circumstances within which they live, to recognise systems within society, to ask questions and know how to find answers.
It was French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu who first wrote about the concept of a person possessing “capital”. As with knowledge, those with cultural capital can gain more as they move through society with much more power than those who do not have it. Therefore, developing cultural capital within our school setting can expose children to experiences that they may otherwise not have had: our well-defined knowledge-rich curriculum does this. It is the intention of the curriculum to address social disadvantage by developing pupils’ cultural capital. It is important that teachers know that cultural capital is not just an ‘add-on’ that can be ‘done’ through trips or through musical instruments. Our curriculum has cultural capital embedded into the fabric of our curriculum.