Ofsted plan to inspect ‘cultural capital’ in schools attacked as elitist

A two-word term, invented in the 1970s by a French sociologist heavily influenced by Karl Marx, makes an unlikely entrance in Ofsted’s new framework [pdf] for the inspection of schools in England this week. The Guardian reports.

Each institution is now to be judged on the extent to which it builds pupils’ “cultural capital”. What exactly does that mean?

Users of the term, including the schools minister Nick Gibb and the former education secretary Michael Gove, suggest it is about ensuring that disadvantaged children are exposed to cultural experiences and background knowledge that those from better-off homes take for granted.

Ofsted’s new inspection handbooks for schools and early years settings now stipulate that no institution can be rated “good” unless its curriculum gives “all pupils, particularly disadvantaged pupils … the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life”. Its schools handbook links cultural capital to the current national curriculum, introduced by Gove, in setting out “the essential knowledge pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said”.

John Yandell, an associate professor of English at UCL Institute of Education, says the notion that schools should facilitate social change without taking into account the unequal society in which they operate is “extraordinarily naive”.

Read the full article Ofsted plan to inspect ‘cultural capital’ in schools attacked as elitist 

How do you see ‘cultural capital’? How can it be inspected in our schools? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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