Oakfield Primary Academy – Cultural Capital statement
At Oakfield Primary Academy, it is our aim for our children to join us on a lifelong journey of learning, which will equip pupils for their future, whatever it may bring. We want our children to leave here at the end of Year 6 with a range of skills and deep knowledge but also, a love of learning and ambition for themselves and their futures. Cultural capital is 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. Our understanding of ‘knowledge and cultural capital’ is derived from the following wording taken from 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.’
Our school rule of ‘Respect’ permeates everything that we do and our school motto, ‘Proud of Ourselves. Proud of Each Other. Proud of our Community,’ is reflected within our curriculum, which aims to create a healthy, active, caring and safe environment to protect the physical, emotional, social and mental welfare of all members of our school community. We ensure that those pupils who may come from challenging backgrounds - with a range of extra-familial risks - are safeguarded and importantly, learn to safeguard themselves, with an awareness and understanding of the dangers that the modern world may harbour.
Although some of our pupils may find it difficult to articulate their feelings and concerns, staff are attuned to changes in demeanour and well-being that may indicate anxiety. If they are concerned about a pupil our accepted practice links to the Safeguarding Policy which entrusts a duty of care to all staff to actively protect and promote the welfare of children. Our curriculum and the strong links to PSHCE, ensure that children are taught to be able to recognise early warning signs and ask for help if and when they need it.
Our staff work closely with parents, carers and other professionals to ensure that the pupils at Oakfield Primary Academy are happy, well cared for and enabled to learn the skills they need to live a fulfilling life as part of their community. We are part of a diverse school and local community and as such, teach our pupil’s that each person should be respected and valued equally without regard to ability, gender, faith, heritage or race. Cultural appreciation and development forms part of our curriculum and we place great emphasis on providing discussion, opportunities and dialogue which will broaden all pupils’ experiences and awareness of others throughout the academic year. Our Assemblies help all pupils to find out about themselves and others, linking their lives to the communities in which they belong. The themes cover areas such as: friendships, helping others, responsibility, safety and also celebrations from a range of faiths and world events, which are carefully timetabled across the year. These assemblies are linked to areas of learning to ensure that the learning happening within the classroom is linked to the themes covered in assembly to embed and enrich the messages shared.
Oakfield’s curriculum is designed to be broad, balanced and ambitious. It sets out the structure for those aims to be implemented, including the knowledge and skills to be gained at each stage - we call this ‘intent’. It is taught and assessed in order to support pupils to build their knowledge and to apply the knowledge and skills across a broad range of subjects - we call this ‘implementation’. Finally, it leads to the outcomes that pupils achieve as a result of the education they have received - we call this the ‘impact’.
The term ‘cultural capital’ is not new. It is a theory that comes originally from the field of sociology, which involves the study of society, including relationships, social interactions and culture. It is important to recognise that everyone has cultural capital - knowledge, skills and behaviours - and that these accumulate over time through different experiences and opportunities. Cultural capital is understood to contribute to success in life, for example, being able to perform well in school, knowing how to talk in different social groups or societies, accessing higher education and being successful in work or a career. Cultural Capital is not something that is ‘given’ or ‘taught’. It is about culture, language, traditions and experiences. At Oakfield Primary Academy therefore, we want to celebrate the uniqueness of all members of our community and share differences and individualism. Oakfield’s curriculum is successfully adapted, where needed, to meet the needs of all pupils, including those with Special Educational Needs, developing their knowledge, skills and abilities to apply what they know and can do with increasing fluency and independence, and ensuring that they make progress from their starting points.
We aim to address social disadvantage and, as a result, our curriculum reflects the school’s local context by addressing typical gaps in our pupils’ knowledge and skills. Children in our local area are not typically exposed to a wide vocabulary or have a rich exposure to quality reading materials. This can lead to difficulties when comprehending and inferring from texts, and when writing with understanding and creativity. It is therefore crucial that as well as being taught essential knowledge and skills, pupils are taught explicit and engaging vocabulary across the curriculum and have access to a wealth of books and resources to help feed their thirst for knowledge. Children are given opportunities to explore their learning through termly themes, allowing them the time needed to embed their understanding across all areas of the curriculum. Where possible, strong links between the topic and each discrete subject area are planned for, thereby making it more meaningful for the children and allowing the children time to develop vocabulary, improve their understanding, follow lines of inquiry that may not have been initially planned for and make sense of the world.
Many of our pupils may not able to be taken on holidays, or trips, or even attend clubs that will expose them to finding out about local, national or international environments, art, history, science, sport, technology or music. We must, therefore, introduce our pupils to a range of visitors and experiences in school, and take them on trips that enrich their subject knowledge and curiosity about the world around them. Our 11B411 initiative is a set of promises that help our children to be in the driving seat in their own lives. They are a series of experiences that every child at Oakfield Primary Academy can experience.
We recognise that there is a difference between knowledge which will be retained close to the point of teaching it, and that which will be retained forever. Our curriculum contains essential 'sticky knowledge' (embedded) that will be needed in order to access the next year’s objectives, i.e.; the end points in each subject that pupils need to know and be able to do, in a logical progression. All children, including highly attaining pupils, will be stretched, challenged and motivated to achieve as highly as they can. By taking our time to explore a theme in a deep way over the course of a term we allow for the children to be fully immersed in their topic and this provides children with the opportunity to explore learning pathways which have piqued their interest and curiosity. When children learn through a theme, they are learning in context. This not only helps them to understand what they are learning (and why they are learning it), but to attach ideas and skills to specific contexts. Consequently, this helps students remember what they have learned. However, transfer to long-term memory depends on rich processes. In order to develop understanding, our pupils need to connect new knowledge with existing knowledge, and then develop fluency and unconsciously apply their knowledge and skills. Our curriculum therefore will foster an urge, impulse and desire within our children, to want to find out more year upon year and grow as life-long learners.