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Cultural Capital

Here at Furze Platt Primary Federation, we are passionate and committed to providing the children in our care with outstanding learning opportunities.


Our aim is to enrich every child’s school experience and create an environment where they are encouraged to succeed and be the best they can be.


Cultural Capital is part of the OFSTED Framework for Schools and is defined as the essential knowledge that children need to prepare them for their future success. It is about giving children the best possible start to their early education.

“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.


Cultural Capital itself is defined in the Framework 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.’


In a speech in 2019 Amanda Spielman stated: “By [cultural capital], we simply mean the essential knowledge, those standard reference points, that we want all children to have…

… So for example, it’s about being able to learn about and name things that are, for many, outside their daily experience”.


Cultural Capital is not a new concept; introduced by French thinker Pierre Bourdieu in the 1970s, cultural capital refers to the social and cultural knowledge that can help a student make progress. In education, cultural capital should be woven through the whole curriculum, giving context and reference points to topics that allow students to build schema.


At FPPF, we take this concept a stage further and look at how we ensure Equity of Experience (an adaptation and bespoke evolution of Cultural capital) for our pupils. For us, this means the opportunities and experiences that children need to

1)            Have a sense of equality and fulfilment (Cultural Capital) in terms of knowledge and skills delivered through our curriculum

2)            Be able to link and hang their learning off of; helping deepen understanding, embed real life links and strengthening schema

The last point is key for children at all ages and stages. Dissecting our curriculum to ensure that the children have the key experiences to make their learning real and understand the context of some more abstract curriculum areas.


The word ‘capital’ does indicate something to be acquired, stored and invested for greater profit. This is why the two points above are interconnected and have to work together to truly fulfil ‘Equity of Experience.


Michael Gove said: “The accumulation of cultural capital – the acquisition of knowledge – is the key to social mobility”.


Our FPPF curriculum is built around the acquisition and retention of key knowledge but also the ability to retain, link and develop a deeper understanding of topics and key knowledge.


Our Equity of Experience is about preparing children with the knowledge and skills for what comes next.  We realise the exploration of new skills and experiences helps to nurture passionwellbeing and respect.  The key knowledge is mapped through our curriculum and this is sequences and linked to our topics. Alongside this, we focus on key skills that we want the children to experience and develop through their Primary years; these skills are taken from the ‘Trending 2025 Key Skills’ complied by the World Economic Forum.


Every child and family who joins our federation will have their own knowledge and experiences that will link to their culture and wider family and bring a rich diversity to our community. 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 (Husain et al., 2018, p. 4 and Gazzard, E. 2018 in Chalmers, H. and Crisfield, E. 2019).


Equity of Experience is the accumulation of experiences, 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 education, society, their career and the world of work.


Equity of Experience gives power. It helps children achieve goals, become successful, and rise up the social ladder without necessarily having wealth or financial capital. Equity of experience is having assets that give children the desire to aspire and achieve social mobility whatever their starting point. It helps to break down perceived and real barriers to learning, achieving and engaging in school life.


Gradually widening children’s knowledge (please see our Curriculum section), exposure to key skills and experiences as they progress through the federation are important steps in providing rich and engaging learning across the curriculum. We plan carefully for children to have progressively richer experiences in Early Years and beyond. These include trips to the local park, shops and visits to places of worship, museums, sports and theatre venues just to name a few.


Draft year group specific experiences: