Cultural capital in the Tees Valley

Welcome to the Landing Page

Use this page to navigate to: the weekly company focussed resources, the teacher focussed resources, and additional content focussed on developing wider cultural capital within the context of ‘aspirations’ in the Tees Valley.

Links to the companies, one more per week – 30 a year
Teacher resources to develop cultural capital in school

Businesses, landmarks and a trip down the river!


There is compelling and increasing evidence that awareness of the World of Work from a young age increases motivation and attainment at school and subsequent earnings in later life. Tees Valley has traditionally had the highest unemployment rates in the UK and this is matched by the level of skills qualifications and jobs employing low skilled workers. With a distinct upturn in the local economy through large scale investment in innovation and industry, aided by our location as the gateway to major new winds farms and the STDC development area (largest in Europe), educating our children about the opportunities ahead of them is now more important than ever if they are not to simply end up as the menial labour for the new developments.

Underpinning the symptom of greater attainment, greater motivation and increased earnings is the concept of Cultural Capital. It is described in many sub forms by various researchers and commentators but at its heart is this:

When applied to raising awareness of the world of work it becomes clear that the more that schools can do to continuously (not just once a year!) raise awareness of future opportunities, the greater the impact will be. Many studies also suggest that the biggest impact seems to centre on pupils who are demotivated at school and struggling with their attainment, it has a positive impact on both of these symptoms. Following evidence from a range of research these resources develop cultural capital through breaking down the walls into local companies and seeing the sort of people who work there. At primary and early secondary age, pupils are beginning to develop their sense of self identity and it is this approach, backed by the extant research, that these resources are aimed at to have maximum impact long term. They form a great basis for the work that is done more formally around careers later in secondary school.