Developing Cultural Capital

What is Cultural Capital?

Cultural capital is the accumulation of knowledge, behaviours, and skills that a student can draw upon and which demonstrates their cultural awareness, knowledge and competence. It is one of the key components a student will require to be successful in society, their career and the world of work. At The Lakes School we consistently strive to build our student aspirations and expose them to a wealth of experiences to help them achieve goals and become successful.

We recognise that for students to aspire and be successful academically and in the wider areas of their lives, they need to be given rich and sustained opportunities to develop their cultural capital. We do this in many ways, for example, through our curriculum, extra-curricular activities, trips and visits and careers activities.

We recognise that there are six key areas of development that are interrelated and contribute to building a student’s cultural capital:

  • Personal Development
  • Social Development (including political and current affairs awareness)
  • Physical Development
  • Spiritual Development
  • Moral Development
  • Cultural development

It is of the upmost importance for a student’s education to ensure they are supported to be the best they can be within our ever changing, diverse society.


  • Careers and Information, advice and guidance provision;
  • Personal, Social and Health Education curriculum including;
  • Personal Finance Education;
  • Employability skills,
  • The school’s wider pastoral framework;
  • Transition support and induction;
  • Work to develop confidence e.g. Oracy;
  • Activities focused on building self-esteem;
  • Mental Health & well-being provision;
  • Form time activities;


  • PSHE curriculum;
  • Mentoring programmes including Sixth Form mentoring and peer reading schemes
  • Form time activities;
  • Charity work and fundraising activities;
  • Access to counselling;
  • House competitions and activities;


  • Physical Education curriculum;
  • Duke of Edinburgh and wider OAA extra-curricular opportunities;
  • Anti-bullying and safeguarding policies and strategies;
  • The health, drugs, alcohol, smoking and sex and relationships and elements of the PSHE curriculum;
  • Extra-curricular provision;
  • Extra-curricular activities available for unstructured time, including after school, lunch and break times;
  • Activity-based residentials;
  • Food preparation and nutrition curriculum;


  • The Religious Education/Ethics and Philosophy Curriculum;
  • Our collective acts of remembrance;
  • School-linking activities – locally, nationally and internationally;
  • The assembly programme;


  • The Religious Education/Ethics and Philosophy Curriculum;
  • Behaviour Management policies;
  • Contributions to local, national and international charitable projects;
  • The assembly programme;
  • Form time activities;


  • Access to the Arts;
  • Access to the languages and cultures of other countries through the curriculum and trips and visits;
  • Promotion of racial equality and community cohesion through the school’s ethos;
  • Co-operative values;
  • Assembly programme;
  • Form time activities;

In addition to whole school provision and development of cultural capital, each curriculum area or faculty, makes its own contribution to students’ cultural capital development…

  • Students gain an understanding of why art is important and how it enhances their lives. They develop a sense of their place in school and the wider world.
  • Students develop their observational skills and understanding of colour theory and how to create colours and use them effectively to convey meaning and communicate with an audience.
  • Through art, students understand how to convey perspective and how to create mood and atmosphere through a range of media. They develop an understanding of tone, texture line and form and how this has been developed over centuries to enhance human culture and to document human history.
  • They develop their understanding of different artists and visit an Art Gallery locally or further afield.
  • Through art, students also investigate and gain an appreciation of different cultures and artist movements and why they are important.
  • Students also gain an understanding of diversity and equality art, pop art, protest art, landscape and Impressionism. They develop an understanding and an appreciation of different periods of art and practice a variety of different skills and media relating to the topic. They develop evaluation skills and an understanding of how they can use different stimuli to enhance and shape their work.
  • Through art, students gain the skills of creativity, curiosity, resourcefulness, resilience, communication, reflection, resourcefulness, team work and independence.
  • Students develop an understanding and an appreciation of the business world, goods and services and the concepts of enterprise and entrepreneurship. Students develop their understanding and appreciation of marketing and how companies focus on key demographics. They understand and appreciate human resources, recruitment, training, motivation, organisation and also trade unions. They develop a sense of the world of work and how this is organised and how it will affect them in later life.
  • In addition to these key concepts, students also develop their understanding of finance sources, revenue, profit and loss, which develops their understanding of financial capability in later life.
  • In Business, students explore sexism, racism and discrimination in the workplace through discussing the application of employment law to the business world.
  • Students are encouraged to express their opinions and feelings and reflect on topics such as ethics.
  • Students develop their empathy and compassion and take into account people’s aims, values, principles and beliefs.
  • In Drama, students develop the oracy skills they need through speaking and listening.
  • Students learn how to speak to each other respectfully and how to give and take constructive criticism about their own and others’ performances.
  • Students are encouraged to speak to each other and develop their subject specific vocabulary as well as their use of Standard English. In order to develop their confidence in terms of their presentation skills, students work on their use of pitch, pace, volume, gesture, diction and eye contact.
  • Essential reading techniques are developed across the curriculum such as scanning, skimming and breaking words into chunks. Students are expected to read aloud and to perform in front of other students, which are key skills that support them in later life.
  • Students are taught to write for particular audiences and are taught how to plan to write and how to use short and long sentences to vary their writing.
  • Students work with challenging topics in order to expand their understanding of ‘real’ issues, including mental health issues and bullying.
  • Students are expected to show kindness and empathy when working in groups and responding to feedback.
  • Through Drama, students are able to perform and/or work to assist with backstage elements of theatre.
  • Students are also able to participate in trips to watch live theatre productions. The cultural capital they receive through the drama department enables them to watch and appreciate a live production and see many of the theories they learn through the drama curriculum, in action.
  • The English curriculum gives students a plethora of cultural capital to thrive in today’s complex, demanding society.
  • Through the curriculum, we do not just strive to prepare students for the demands of GCSEs. We also want them to develop key skills for the world of work. This is achieved through developing students’ core literacy, reading and writing skills from Year 7 to Year 13.
  • Through English, students develop an appreciation and a love of reading. They do this by being given regular opportunities to analyse a range of texts, including reading a wide range of text types including blogs, diaries, websites, adverts, poetic forms, dramatic monologues, comics, magazine articles, letters, speeches, reviews, accounts.
  • Students are given many opportunities to write for different audiences and purposes, ensuring that they recognise the importance of using punctuation and grammar accurately and by engaging the reader well, through effective and challenging vocabulary.
  • Through the English curriculum, students also develop their speaking and listening skills in a range of contexts and for different purposes. This is vital cultural capital, which our students need to become effective speakers and confident communicators, to allow them to compete with their peers in a range of real world contexts including job interviews and debating.
  • Oracy supports student development in all lessons: Social and Emotional, Physical, Cognitive and Linguistic
  • Students explore British culture through the study of Dickens, Shakespeare as well as local poets / writers. They write about the landscape of the Lake District and create Tourist Guides for Bowness, Windermere and other destinations
  • Students explore other cultures by looking at diverse poetry, films from different political and historical times, travel guides from around the world and they study American literature.
  • The study of a range of texts across class, genders, race, religion, sexuality and ethnicity (Indian, Pakistani, Aborigine, West Indian, African)
  • Students use their imaginations when reading and recreating fiction texts, which also requires them to be creative.
  • The English department runs trips where possible so that we are giving our students the opportunity to participate in cultural events. From visiting Dove Cottage to write romantic poetry, to attending specialist workshops at Lancaster University.
  • Where appropriate we relate each topic in our language lessons with a link to Spanish speaking countries and their culture.
  • In Languages, we use role-plays, music, songs and target language to try to create as much cultural capital and experiences as possible for our students.
  • In addition, students have the opportunity to attend school trips to other countries and experience other languages and cultures.
  • Students develop a range of transferable skills (problem solving, spotting patterns, risk taking, confidence, good communicator and memory).
  • Students demonstrate mutual respect through group speaking and listening activities.
Religious Education
  • RE exposes students do different viewpoints, cultures and religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam.
  • Through RE, students learn to be curious and to develop critical thinking, analysis and evaluation.
  • Through the teaching of RE, students develop their understanding of how and why some cultures have different rules and belief systems.
  • We teach students to study the news and understand what is happening in the world and through our teaching and classroom discussions, we teach students how to question the reasons and motives behind the different phenomena and activities that they see unfolding within society.
  • Students study topics such as capital punishment, war, life after death and think deeply about loss, grief and why things happen that do not always seem fair.
  • Students learn the importance of tolerance, cohesion and equality.
  • The PSHE Curriculum teaches and equips students with a wide range of knowledge and essential skills that they need to become well-rounded adults and contribute positively to society.
  • Through the theme of health and well-being, students learn about: transition and safety, drugs and alcohol, peer influences, substance use and exploitation, mental health, self-esteem and resilience, healthy routines, mental health and emotional well-being, diet, exercise, personal safety and first aid as well as managing stress and exam overload.
  • Through the themes of ‘living in the wider world’, students learning about: Careers, teamwork and self-awareness, equality of opportunity, different types of employment and work patterns, their strengths and areas of development and goal setting, financial decision making and risk, applications for different progression routes, digital literacy and financial well-being.
  • Through the theme of relationships, students learn about: diversity, prejudice, bullying, discrimination, radicalisation, respectful relationships, sexism, homophobia, families and parenting, conflict resolution, the impact of the media on sex and body image, personal values, assertive communication, safe sex, self-worth, romance and friendships (including online), sexual harassment, sexual orientation, contraception, consent, ‘sexting’ STIs, pornography, addressing community cohesion and challenging prejudice.
  • Through History in KS3, students learn about the main developments, events and themes in British history.
  • Students participate in collective acts of remembrance such as Holocaust Memorial Day and Remembrance Day.
  • Students also study some of the major world events as well as their impact on today such as the British Empire, and the medieval history of the Near East (modern Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Iraq).
  • Students have access to the arts. Key Stage 3 includes lessons on architecture (cathedrals, palaces), artworks (statues, portraits, posters), literature (poetry, memoirs) whilst Key Stage 4 includes lessons on music (jazz, rock n roll), literature (novels), cinema (silent movies, talkies, technicolour), architecture (skyscrapers).
  • Students have opportunities to understand and contribute towards local, national and international charitable projects. The school has close links with the Lake District Holocaust Project- ‘Windermere Children’.
  • All Humanities subjects promote oracy, group work, presentations.
  • Students develop a wide range of rich cultural capital through the Geography curriculum.
  • Through Geography, students develop and extend their knowledge of locations, places, environments and processes, and of different scales including global; and of social, political and cultural contexts.
  • Students gain an understanding of the interactions between people and environments, changes through space and time, and the inter-relationship between geographical phenomena at different scales.
  • Through the Geography curriculum, we create successful learners who approach inquisitively their surroundings and contemporary issues such as anthropogenic climate change.
  • Students are able to write well-organised, balanced and structured arguments using valid evidence, which are key skills they will rely upon in later life, regardless of their chosen pathway.
  • The curriculum across all key stages develops students’ contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics.
  • Students explore the important work of IGOs such as the UN and charitable NGOs.
  • Students examine how cultural, linguistic, religious, social and political disparities shape the dynamics of the modern world.
  • Students develop an understanding the attachments and influences that create people’s sense of place.
  • All Humanities subjects promote oracy, group work, presentations.
  • The maths curriculum aims to ensure that students become financially capable young people, equipped with the required skills and knowledge to improve their life chances, become financially aware citizens and discerning consumers.
  • Speaking across the curriculum is developed through, questioning, encouraging conversation, modelling verbal answers and use of subject specific terminology, group work and discussion, oracy and public speaking and use of Standard English. Each unit of work details the new maths specific vocabulary required; focus is given in lessons to understanding this terminology.
  • Reading across the curriculum is developed through teaching reading techniques such as scanning, skimming, breaking worded questions down into chunks, reading aloud and reading to students to allow them to understand the meaning of a text, developing a word rich learning environment.
  • Listening across the curriculum is developed through reading to students for understanding, oral instructions and verbal communications is every lesson.
  • The music curriculum is rich in opportunities exploring, understanding and respecting diversity as well as participating and responding to cultural activities. From Y7 upwards students study music from a range of countries, genres and time periods.
  • Students also participate in performing, listening and composing activities relating directly to these cultures, genres and time periods and demonstrate respect for each other’s performing
  • Music promotes fairness and respect. Paired and group work develops teamwork, respect for other opinions, working together, cooperation etc. Peer assessments give opportunities for students to form opinions and communicate this with others as well as listening to other views and opinions.
  • The music of both British and international artists is explored and the historical context and the cultures in which they developed. This helps students respect and tolerate, other faiths, cultures and histories.
  • Students are encouraged to play different instruments and are given the opportunity to develop their passion for this through individual lessons.
Physical Education
  • The Physical Education curriculum adds a wealth of cultural capital to students lives and prepares them to be able to make valuable contributions to society through:
  • Developing their physical abilities through gymnastics, athletics, team games, outdoor and adventurous activities and also teaches them valuable life skills such as swimming, communication, the ability to follow rules, problem solving, leadership and also to value the benefits of practice over time to better individual capability, knowledge, skills and understanding.
  • Students’ overall well-being is also enhanced through physical education and physical activity. This teaches students the value of physical activity through the development of physical fitness and the mastery of skills and techniques and tactics.
  • Physical Education teaches students the value of being part of something bigger than themselves through providing students with opportunities to take part in school teams. In addition, the opportunity to take part in annual sports days provides them with further opportunities to participate in the broader life of the school through healthy competition against other schools in the county and the wider North West region.
  • Physical Education teaches students that they are valuable and that they can always contribute positively to their own and others’ education. It also teaches them that at times there are winners and losers, and that this is part of everyday life and society. As is teamwork and co-operation.
  • Physical Education also allows students to be aware of moral issues surrounding cheating and the need for people to behave with integrity and also ethically, without unnecessary cheating and foul play.
  • It teaches students about etiquette and that deviant behaviour, is in the main, eventually punished and the consequences of this, often outweigh the potential short term benefits.
  • Physical Education enables students to develop their self-esteem/confidence and also allows them to socialise and develop lifelong healthy lifestyle choices, which is the ultimate aim of the department
  • Throughout the year, guest speakers are invited to give talks on sporting careers.
  • The faculty delivers an extensive extra-curricular programme ranging from recreational to representative activities. The Duke of Edinburgh award is very popular for students in years 9-13.
  • The high-quality science education we strive for provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.
  • Through building up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts, students are encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. They are taught to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes.
  • Ultimately, students are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future whether that be in a scientific career or as a member of society.
  • Students consider and recognise legal boundaries and subsequently develop an understanding of laws through topics such as drugs and reproduction.
  • We provide an inspiring KS3 and KS4 science curriculum that demonstrates the usefulness and relevance of science to the everyday lives of pupils, and teaches them about historical figures in science Students consider the work of key scientists past and present and gain an appreciation of their impact on society.
  • Students investigate and consider views about moral and ethical issues, for example when considering diverse topics such as environmental issues, genetic manipulation and IVF, and energy resources in KS3 and KS4. E.g. Our students take part in the ‘futures’ project run by local academic which was a crossover art/climate science project
  • Students are exposed to careers possibilities through visiting speakers and trips e.g. Visits from British Antarctic survey, a lakes school alumni who is now a research psychologist, and Professor Pumpernickel from the Windermere Science Fair. We have also visited Manchester to see talks from a range of world leading scientists.
  • Technology teaches students to be inquisitive, self-confident, independent and to develop excellent knowledge and practical skills
  • All design subjects follow the design cycle, which takes a product from inception to completion. Students are taught how to research, investigate, design, plan, make and evaluate.
  • In addition, students have access to excellent subject specific facilities and resources to support them in understanding how Technology exists in the real world.
  • In Food Technology, students develop a clear understanding of a healthy diet. They also learn the valuable life skill of cooking a balanced meal using a variety of accessible recipes, within an industry standard kitchen.
  • Students develop good disciplinary knowledge in Engineering, Product design and Textiles.
  • In Textiles, students explore the fashion industry and develop their awareness of body image and how this is influenced by the fashion industry linked to visits to local silk factories and fashion museums design studios.
  • The department actively supports and promotes Fair Trade including Fairtrade fortnight e.g. Making a banoffee pie using only fair trade ingredients.
  • Students Investigate modern technology and manufacturing to give an insight about how products are made and gives them an awareness of any environmental impact.

Students are given the opportunities to work with and visit local industries including participating in local and national events and competitions.