Every child and family who joins our school 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.
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 helps children achieve goals, become successful and may help them to 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.
The Knowledge Rich Curriculum at Alder Coppice, has been developed after completing a significant amount of educational research into secure and proven foundations referenced by Scientists, Cognitive Science and Educational establishments linked to the development of long term learning and memory. Whilst our curriculum is underpinned by the National Curriculum, it is also important to take note of the School’s ‘cultural capital’, hence although we have been guided by the key knowledge laid out in the National Curriculum, we have planned to ensure that language, literacy and reading skills are embedded across the curriculum. This is important, due to the socio-economic area we are in:
Although our school has a statistically low number of pupils with Special Educational Needs and pupil premium, statistics in the local area suggest that it has an economic disadvantage and an educational disadvantage. It is, therefore, imperative that our curriculum takes account of this cultural capital and enables all our pupils to build the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to gain an advantage. Bromley (2019) refers to the Matthew Effect, stating that ‘disadvantaged pupils shall get more disadvantaged because they do not possess the foundational knowledge they need, in order to access and understand the school and college curriculum’. Ensuring vocabulary, literacy and reading skills are easily accessible in our curriculum therefore, continues to be a main component of our knowledge rich approach.
For example, our History curriculum celebrates the place of significant people and events which have had an impact on our lives today. Our English Curriculum is designed to inspire children to become competent, confident communicators of the spoken and written word. Through providing children with a wide knowledge base of the English language, they will become fluent in speaking, reading and writing. We will provide children with a sound foundation of knowledge which will then enable them to make effective choices of how to communicate successfully in an ever-changing world. Being immersed in good quality literature develops pupils’ acquisition of a wide vocabulary, thus addressing vocabulary gaps, and allows children to explore and appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage. As our context is predominantly White/British, we have ensured that our English Curriculum provides children with a wide variety of texts, celebrating a diversity of authors, characters and stories, thus allowing purposeful opportunities to discuss other cultures and experiences which may be new to many of our children.
Our curriculum and wider enrichment activities will give many of our children the opportunity to experience a range of opportunities - including day visits, a residential visit, leadership opportunities (such as possibly being part of our Pupil Leadership Team or having responsibility as a monitor), attending, where available, over their time in school a range of after-school clubs or taking part in events with other schools, or our daily dinner system which involves children serving others. We have an annual Charity Market Stall Day where children run their own stalls to raise money for charity, Year 6 bake and run a cake event to support the MacMillan Coffee Morning each year. Children learn about e-safety, road safety, water safety and fire safety as well as how to look after themselves.
Over their time at Alder Coppice Primary School we aim to give children the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.