Best Practice

What is cultural capital? Satisfying Ofsted’s tone-deaf interpretation

Ofsted’s tone-deaf interpretation of cultural capital brings with it profound dilemmas for school leaders, who may be of a mind to resist… Phil Beadle, author of a new book on the topic, offers his plan to satisfy inspectors without having to turn things upside down

You only have to look at the Twitter hashtag #culturalcapital to realise just how much confusion there is about what it is (some even have it that it is capital cities engaging in culture!). There is also confusion about how schools should respond to Ofsted’s checking for provision of it.

Under the quality of education judgement, inspectors will consider how curriculum design gives all learners “the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life” (Ofsted, 2019).

Having spent the last six months reading around the subject, I can report that there is much that primaries can do to show that they have a seriousness of intent on this issue that reaches a little further than just pointing, in hope, at a visit to an art gallery (though, in truth, this would probably be enough to satisfy Ofsted).

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