Thomas Willingale School and Nursery

Cultural Capital

Cultural Capital at Thomas Willingale School and Nursery

What does Cultural Capital Mean at Thomas Willingale School and Nursey?


Every child and family who joins our setting 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.


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)


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 power. It helps children achieve goals, become successful, and rise up the social ladder 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 TWS, children benefit from a flexible, thematic and linked curriculum that builds on what they understand and know already. We believe that exposure, not only to culture but also to situations in which the children might not have previous experiences of, 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 in nursery and beyond. These include trips to the local park, shops and visits to places of worship, museums, sports and music venues just to name a few. 



Cultural capital is the essential knowledge that children need to prepare them for their future success. It is about giving the children the best possible start to their education, our curriculum supports cultural capital both implicitly and explicitly. We have school drivers alongside the National curriculum- these include: Positive Growth- aspirations, Oracy, the environment/community and independence. We believe that our children need these skills to succeed in life. 


To support this we have Enrichment Passports which we use both in school at home.



Further examples of cultural capital at TWS include:


Caring for animals

Thinking about people around the world

Appreciation and love for music

Understand how history has shaped our future

Understand how art has depicted history, politics, faith and the future

Celebrating different cultures and faiths

Educational visits

Learning about people in our community

Understanding how fresh food is produced locally

Road safety

Planning and running charity events

Show casing talent

Learning financial skills- tuckshop, enterprise

Cooking and tasting different foods and from different cultures

Growing fruit and vegetables

Forest and outdoor learning

Supporting the local community

Looking after our environment- litter pickers

Learning about animal welfare- eg: Dogs trust

Bringing history to life

Alternative sports- Karate

Virtual world

Being informed and feeling empowered to make a difference

Young voices

Language lessons

Healthy schools


Black history month

School council

Practice CBT, mindfulness and Peer massage

Harvest – Food bank

Bike ability

Reading therapy dog

Aspirations day