Our School

Human Dignity

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

At St Joseph’s we respect human dignity in all we do. We believe every human person is made in the image of God. Consequently, every person is worthy of respect simply by virtue of being a human being. The Christian belief that all of us are created in the image and likeness of God teaches us that every person has value, every person must be treated with respect, every person has an inherent dignity, not because of what they achieve, not because of their status in life but simply because they are

The principle of Human Dignity means that Catholic Social Teaching takes a strong position not only on issues around the start and end of life (like the death penalty and abortion) but also everything in-between. For example: it can affect how we think about how our society supports those with disabilities, how we address global inequality, how we think about trade and the approach we take to civil rights issues.

Pope Francis asked: “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?

Our concern for the dignity of others should shape our economic policies and find expression through the way we live our lives. It is not enough to be against an issue like euthanasia, we must be involved in: “working to eliminate the structural causes of poverty and to promote the integral development of the poor, as well as small daily acts of solidarity in meeting the real needs which we encounter.”

Where is it seen in our curriculum?


Human Dignity


In Year 9, pupils learn about Medical Ethics. When they cover the topic of Abortion, they examine Mary Anne Warren’s ‘personhood’ source on what characteristics we need to be considered a person. Pupils critically assess this teaching alongside the teaching of Human Dignity. This is built upon in Year 12 when pupils apply the normative ethical theories to Euthanasia.

In Year 10, pupils study the Creation unit. In the fifth lesson, they look at the significance of the creation story for Catholics. During this lesson, they learn about God’s intentions for all humans being worthy of respect. The Sanctity of Life is also covered, since Genesis emphasises how all life is holy and belongs to God.

In Year 11, pupils learn about Human Dignity and Religious Freedom. They examine a range of Bible verses, then determine how these can be best implemented in the 21st century in order to ensure that all humans are treated with honour and respect.


The English Curriculum encourages students to reflect upon human dignity frequently, mainly through the multiple texts studied and the different contexts of each character and setting. In year 7 students are encouraged to reflect on significant speeches from across the ages where individuals express their struggles and experiences of particular hardships, including racism and sexism. Then later in the year students also examine the human dignity of characters within the novel ‘Noughts and Crosses’, reflecting on the lives of those who experience prejudice and racism.  In Year 8, students reflect on human dignity by exploring autobiographies and understanding various individuals’ experiences, and then the dignity of the poor in Victorian London through the novel ‘Oliver Twist’. In year 9, students examine human dignity in the Elizabethan era through the text ‘Merchant of Venice’ and how religious prejudice has affected lives of those who lived in this era, and how unfortunately these forms of anti-Semitism are still within our society today. In years 10 and 11, students evaluate the class system through texts such as ‘An Inspector Calls’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’ learning that wealth should not determine the dignity that you show to others.


Maths throughout the curriculum gives us a way to understand patterns, to quantify relationships, and to predict the future. Math helps us understand the world — and we use the world to understand math. The world is interconnected. Everyday math shows these connections and possibilities.


Throughout the Biology curriculum in both GCSE and A-Level students learn about ethical issues in science such as stem cell research, cloning and contraception. These themes challenge students to weigh up using embryos to save lives. During GCSE Biology students also learn all about the Human Body and Health and Disease. Students will understand how to keep themselves healthy and avoid disease. We also discuss sexual health, reproduction and the menstrual cycle in both KS3 and 4.


Across the History curriculum students examine human dignity in a number of ways:

In Year 7 students study Migration to Britain to attain how different groups of people have been treated when migrating to Britain.

In year 8 Historians focus on the British Empire and this allows Year 8 students to study life in India and the impact the British Empire had on the Indian Rebellion. Students also study empire in the America examining Enslavement and the devastating impact this had on lives then moving on to modern discrimination through the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matters. Students in year 8 and 9 also look at social matters such as the Right for Women to gain the Vote.

Students in Year 9 study the Holocaust and the persecution to extermination of Jews and other ethnic groups in Nazi Germany.

Year 12 and 13 curriculum allows students to study the Quest for Civil Rights and the Quality of Life in the USA. Students then focus on South Africa: The apartheid nation. Finally students in Year 13 focus on the British Empire (abolition of enslavement; American War of Independence; Indian Rebellion; Colonisation of Australia - genocide?)


In Geography Students are taught about economic immigration to the UK and discuss the ethics and morality about respecting those that move to new countries.

Geography also allows itself to discussions about the large population of China, the morality of the One Child Policy and the disparity of wealth between rural and urban populations.

Students learn the causes and consequences of uneven development at global level to acknowledge why some communities are poorer than others and solutions that can be used to further wealth.


In the French department students learn about many aspects of human dignity such as through the teaching of the French Revolution.

Students in year 8 will learn how to communicate in other languages

In Year 10 students will look at role models and how we can be role models to others. Year 12 will learn about volunteering and how it can transforms lives. In year 13 students learn about Prevention, rehabilitation and reinsertion.


Within the Spanish Curriculum students learn lots about Human Dignity and this can be seen in Year 8 when describing friendships and relationships. In Year 9 students learn about migration and the lives of Spanish speakers in the USA.
 In Year 10 students will look at role models and how we can be role models to others.
In Year 12 students learn about the Catholic religion in the Hispanic world, Family types and marriage and Holy Week in Spain.
In Year 13 students examine the way of living under Franco’s dictatorship and compare two Latin American dictatorships: Pinochet (Chile) and Castro (Cuba)



Human Dignity is central to what is taught across all year groups in the PSHE curriculum Students learn about Mental Wellbeing, Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Eating on a Budget, Social Media and Mental health, Mindfulness, Healthy vs Controlling Relationships, 'Something's Not Right' abuse, Date Rape & Sexual Assault
and Non-Tender Masculinity


Human dignity is conveyed across all aspects of PE from teamwork and sportsmanship in games to the language used and attitudes portrayed on and off the pitch. We teach pupils not only to respect each other but to respects the environment, equipment and the rules they are using in the game too.


 In Art, many aspects of human dignity form exploring the renaissance artist’s representations of man to Picassos protest mural Guernica. All students will understand that they must be respectful of each other’s beliefs and views during class discussions.


In design and technology and food Human Dignity is examined and discussed at all key stages, the social and moral responsibilities of designers and design companies are covered. Pupils are taught how to prepare food for themselves and others. Nutritional and dietary needs of people at different ages are considered. Healthy eating and healthy living plays a key part in discussions and practical work.


Drama has a much wider impact than just acting. We really ensure that our schemes of work cover a wide variety of both styles of acting, stories, practitioners and playwrights giving students knowledge and understanding of drama as a whole. We cover topics including; social issues, mental health, moral values and understanding other races and religions whether it be through text-based work or devising.


On the surface, music is about learning music. But the study of music is much more than this premise. Alongside the functional knowledge students learn about music, our students also analyse the histories and backgrounds of the genres we explore. There are many examples such as:

-          progression of morale and protest driven music within The Blues, Calypso and Reggae

-          love, forgiveness and retribution within popular music, musical theatre and film

-          diversity and inclusion in fusion styles like Samba, Jazz and Folk music

-          Emotional connections and exploration of music's potential through the            Instrumental and 20th Century genres.


Business and Economics

Students in Business will learn about Human dignity when examining the contribution of business to eradicating poverty and unemployment in a community. Corporate social Investment and Responsibility teaches the importance of dignity for employees and community at large.


Students in Law learn about Human Dignity when examining the rights of the individual both in substantive and non-substantive law. Students examine Law and Justice, the Right to a fair trial and how individuals can gain access to legal funding. In Criminal Law students study the law of murder and where the law recognises both the beginning and the end of life in comparison to the Catholic Church. In The Human Rights topic students study - Article 2 - Right to Life and the right of an unborn baby, Article 8 - Private life and Article 10 - Freedom of expression



Human Dignity plays a key part in discussion from students beliefs when examining in Year 12 the Effects of Institutionalisation and Maternal Deprivation                    

In year 13 students study Awareness of Symptoms of Mental Health Conditions


Human Dignity plays a key part in discussion from students beliefs when examining in the Right to Education, Awareness of Domestic Violence and the Consequences of Police Racism