Full Version

Cultural Capital

Cultural Capital at Our Lady’s Catholic High School


Cultural Capital is the accumulation of knowledge, behaviours, and skills that a student can draw upon and which demonstrates their cultural awareness, knowledge and competence; it is one of the key ingredients a student will draw upon to be successful in society, their career and the world of work. Some children arrive at our school having already gained a solid base of Cultural Capital if they have had the opportunity to visit art galleries, museums, historical sites and are well travelled. Some examples of Cultural Capital include knowledge and understanding of well-known paintings, sports personalities, historical sites and music appreciation.

As a school, we understand and support the belief that cultural capital promotes social mobility and success in the wonderfully diverse society in which our children live, will grow to work in, and further engage. Our aim is that all of our children leave us with a rich understanding of a wide range of culture from the local area, Britain, Europe and the World.

Cultural capital provides our children with a certain strength.  It helps them achieve goals, become successful, and rise up the social ladder without necessarily having wealth or financial capital.  This is particularly significant to our children given the disparate socio-economic back grounds of many of our school community.

Cultural capital is having specific and much needed assets that will give students the desire to aspire and achieve social mobility whatever their starting point.

 At Our Lady’s Catholic School we recognise that for our 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.

We understand that for students to be both aspirational and successful academically, and in the wider areas of their lives, we need to provide them with a rich and sustainable range of opportunities which will develop their cultural capital.  We do so in a variety of ways, for example, through our curriculum, extra curricula activities, trips and visits and careers activities.

We recognise that there are four distinctive areas of development that are interrelated and contribute to building our student cultural capital.  These are:

  • Academic/cultural development
  • Personal and social development
  • Physical development
  • Spiritual and moral development


It is essential for our students’ holistic education to ensure that they are supported to be the best they can, be within a society that is ever changing, diverse and eclectic.  It is also important to us that we ensure all students have an equal opportunity to develop their spiritual self, to learn, and to achieve.


Summary of key areas of Cultural Capital Development:

Academic/Cultural Development:

  1. Opportunities to debate/discuss/consider opposing points of view.
  2. Provision of Pastoral and Parents’ Evenings.
  3. Visits to Theatres, Art Galleries and music venues.
  4. Provision of after school tuition in many areas.
  5. Provision for peripatetic music tuition
  6. Promotion of race relations and community cohesion through our schools’ ethos.
  7. Form time activities.
  8. Foreign trips and visits.
  9. Visits from theatre groups to school.


Personal/Social Development:

  1. Careers and information, advice and guidance provision.
  2. Employability skills, including work experience.
  3. Personal, social and health education provision.
  4. The school’s wider pastoral framework.
  5. Resilience development strategies in form time.
  6. Transition support.
  7. Work to develop confidence eg public speaking and interview skills.
  8. Mental health and wellbeing provision.
  9. Student volunteering and charitable works.
  10. Student Voice – Year Group and School Council.
  11. Faith in Action Group.
  12. Animal Care Group.
  13. In school and wider community engagement programmes.
  14. Work experience and business engagement programmes.
  15. Access to counselling.


Physical Development:

  1. The Physical Education curriculum.
  2. Healthy Eating policies and catering provision.
  3. Anti-bullying and safeguarding policies and strategies, including the student-friendly safeguarding policy.
  4. Our health education dimension of the PSHE programme, including strands on drugs, smoking and alcohol.
  5. The extra-curricular programme related to sports and wellbeing.
  6. The celebration of sporting achievement e.g. including sports days and individual student achievement outside of school.
  7. Activity-based residentials.
  8. Advice and guidance to parents on all aspects of student lifestyle.


Spiritual/Moral Development:

  1. The Religious Education Curriculum.
  2. Our collective acts of worship and reflection.
  3. The Assembly programme.
  4. Support for the expression of individual faiths.
  5. Classes and visits with speakers focussing on spiritual issues.
  6. School-linking activities – locally, nationally and internationally.
  7. Faith in Action groups
  8. PSHE programme across all key stages.
  9. Recognition of key national and international events such as Black History month, Remembrance Day, Holocaust Memorial Day.
  10. The behaviour and justice framework rooted in our Catholic ethos, underpinning the school’s Behaviour Management policies.
  11. Contributions to local, national and international charitable projects.
  12. Celebration of key liturgical events.

Click here to see the cultural capital that has been available to Our Lady’s pupils this year.