Cultural Capital

Developing Cultural Capital at Clitheroe Royal Grammar School

The 20th century French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu defined cultural capital as, “familiarity with the legitimate culture within a society.”

In the 2019 School Inspection Handbook, Ofsted defines it as, “the essential knowledge that students need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping them to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.”

At Clitheroe Royal Grammar School we view cultural capital as a vital element of the holistic education and development we offer to every young person in our school. We strongly believe that in order to equip and prepare our students for their role as influential global citizens we must offer them the very broadest range of opportunities, experiences and knowledge during their time in our school.

Clitheroe Royal Grammar School is a very diverse educational community. Our students, staff, parents/carers and Governors come from a wealth of different backgrounds, languages, cultures, faiths and traditions. As a result, in our development of cultural capital we want to celebrate this diversity and for our students to develop as “cultural omnivores” (Peterson, 1992). They should be able to choose to mix interests in a wide range of forms of culture, both those seen as “historically legitimate” by society and those forms which are emerging and contemporary. In summary, to “stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before and create new and exciting forms of culture.”

We understand that families will pass on cultural capital to their children by introducing them to dance, music, theatre, galleries, historic sites, art and literature. An awareness and understanding of these enables young people to confidently “hold their own” in a range of settings; from a job interview to a conversation with a neighbour or building a professional network. It enables young people to be able to learn and name things which are, for many, outside their daily experience.

Research from the Sutton Trust has shown that enabling young people to have knowledge and understanding of these areas of culture facilitates greater academic success and opens doors to a wide range of careers and professions for the future. Projects such as The Class Ceiling have shown how recruitment into key professions, including banking and law, is made easier by the level of cultural capital of the applicants. We want our students to be equipped with the very best possible opportunities to excel in their chosen path and to have the confidence to converse, debate and discuss.

The following page gives just a taste of the experiences offered to our students to assist them in developing their cultural capital, knowledge and understanding. This is the “golden thread” which runs through our curricular and extra-curricular programme for all students.

In summary, we aim for our students to be confident in their cultural knowledge and understanding but also to be creators of innovative new forms of culture which will help them shape the future in a diverse, global Britain.

How do we develop our students’ Cultural Capital at Clitheroe Royal Grammar School?

Clitheroe Royal Grammar School Main School Sixth Form
Commemoration Day


Drama club: productions and theatre visits


Music tuition, ensembles, Festival and Concerts


Art: gallery visits and artists in residence


Broad & balanced curriculum offer with clear intent grounded in strong philosophy


Careers Education, Information & Guidance programme


Exchange programmes


Auschwitz Visit and Holocaust Memorial projects


Diverse and challenging Assembly programme


Mathematics Challenge


Duke of Edinburgh’s Award


Student Leadership programmes


School Council


Community projects


Charity Committees


Sporting opportunities


Engineering the Future project


Societies Challenge


Speaking & Listening projects and Debating Club


“Everyone Reading In Class”


Personal, Social & Health Education programme


Race for the Line project


Astronomy Masterclass


Readathon, Reading Spies,

Lancashire Book of the Year & Kids Lit Quiz


Enterprise Days


Curricular day visits and fieldwork opportunities


House System and opportunities


Ogden Trust projects: Physics


Visiting author workshops


Wellbeing Days and Wellbeing Challenge


Peripatetic music lessons


Theatre workshops


Med/Dent/Vet preparation programme


Lunchtime careers talks


Careers in subjects displays




Freshers Fair and wealth of student-led societies


Overseas visits e.g. Washington/Beijing/Operation Wallacea


General Election hustings


Speakers in Schools programme


Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary programme


Oxbridge Programme


Extended Project Qualification


Guidance Programme


Global work experience


Curricular day visits and fieldwork opportunities


Academic Vocabulary research project


Computational Thinking Challenge


Wellbeing Weeks


Preparation for University and Careers admissions tests


Bar Mock Trial


Critical Thinking


Ethics, Philosophy & Religion Conference


University Open Day visits