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Hogwarts vs. The National Curriculum | 14th May 2007, 00:11  
It has come to my attention that there are a number of important things which are not taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The following subjects are known to be taught:
  • Ancient Runes
  • Arithmancy
  • Astronomy
  • Care of Magical Creatures
  • Charms
  • Defence Against the Dark Arts
  • Divination
  • Herbology
  • History of Magic
  • Muggle Studies
  • Potions
  • Transfiguration

Sadly, the British government has a National curriculum, which demands certain subjects be taught to students of the Hogwarts age group. Here I list these and explain why I think they need, or need not, be taught at Hogwarts.

There are many books featured in the Harry Potter novels, regarding subjects from Quidditch to Magical Creatures, however no one is ever taught at Hogwarts the mastery of the beautiful language they speak. Surely Hogwarts should be training writers to ensure adequate provision of works for their library in future years? And, although never mentioned, there must be novels in the wizarding world, as they would never understand muggle works.

A hard one to call, however Hermione points out in Philosopher's Stone that most wizards don't have an ounce of logic, which perhaps the teaching of mathematics could help. Many mathematical principles could also be useful in areas such as broomstick design, and so while perhaps less useful to the average wizard, it should still be taught. Arithmancy may contain some maths, but as Harry doesn't study the subject we will never know.

While not obviously useful, some areas of science education should still exist at Hogwarts. Clearly Potions lessons are a valid substitute for Chemistry, and some aspects of Physics will be covered in Astronomy, and Care of Magical Creatures and Herbology focus on parts of Biology, yet there are still some vital areas not covered. Principle amongst these is Human Biology. In the wizard world there are a number of healers, such as Madam Pomfrey at Hogwarts, and the staff of St. Mungo's in London - but where did they learn they craft? JK Rowling has said that there are no wizard universities, so Hogwarts is the only education establishment they have.

Okay, this one is impossible to justify teaching at Hogwarts - although it would be a handy substitute for having to write essays out by hand with quills on scrolls. Some details about computers presumably form a part of Muggle Studies.

I do not understand how this is important to muggles, let alone anyone else.

Some history is covered in History of Magic (although it always seems to be goblin rebelilons), and presumably some muggle history is covered in Muggle Studies - but there's an awful lot of stuff to fit into these Muggle Studies lessons.

Art and Design
It is interesting to note the complete lack of creative subjects available at Hogwarts. No wonder that Fred and George Weasley spend their spare time making things without any other creative outlet. This aside, Dean Thomas is mentioned at being good at drawing, and Colin Creevey is rarely sans camera.

Design Technology
The areas of DT I studied at school were graphic design, metalwork, woodwork, electronics, textiles and 'food technology' (which meant cooking). I would imagine that these would mostly be unnecessary for wizards, as items are conjured rather than manufactured. On the other hand, some brooms are handmade, so someone must be learning woodwork somewhere. Cooking would also be a useful skill - although meals at Hogwarts are produced by house-elves, Mrs Weasley always does the cooking at her house, albeit with some magical assistance.

Modern Foreign Language
In Goblet of Fire we are introduced to wizards and witches from a number of different countries. Every single one of them speaks English, yet no one at Hogwarts is taught a foreign language. The only two main characters who speak non-English languages are Harry and Voldemort (parseltongue) and Dumbledore (mermish). Percy Weasley even works for the Department of International Magical Co-operation, yet he's never been taught a language!

Music plays a part in several of the books, including serenading Fluffy in Philosopher's Stone and the Weird Sisters band in Goblet of Fire, yet no one at Hogwarts is being taught to play a musical instrument. This is despite Dumbledore saying at the first feast how magical music is.

Physical Education
Wizards and witches are the most unfit people in our society - the only sport they play at Hogwarts is Quidditch, and only seven members of each house play that, and it's hardly a physical sport. The students of Hogwarts should be unfit bloaters, given the amount of feasts they have.

What would the wizarding equivalent of citizenship be? Being nice to muggles? The wizards and witches portrayed in the books are all, on the whole, much more civilized than the elements of society at which citizenship lessons are aimed, so perhaps they are not required.

I think it was Order of the Phoenix in which Harry had his only careers appointment during his time at Hogwarts. It seemed on the whole very similar to the sort of thing we had at my muggle school.

Sex Education
Presumably someone taught this subject while we weren't looking - they are children's books after all.

Okay, the national curriculum only requires this in schools in Wales, and Hogwarts would appear to be in Scotland. As an aside, the GNR train from King's Cross to Inverness takes just over eight hours, so the 11:00 train would get to Inverness at around 19:07, which is well before sunset at 20:15 in Inverness on 1st September - this means that either the Hogwarts Express is slower than a GNER train (possible as it's a steam engine, although it is magic) or Hogwarts is further north than Inverness, which is pretty far north.

Religious Education
Although this is only required between the ages of 14 and 16 (Hogwarts fourth and fifth years) and students can be withdrawn at their parents' request. Little mention is made of religion in the books however, apart from celebrating Christmas (albeit in a non-religious fashion) and having an Easter holiday. Perhaps religion is a feature solely of the muggle world, and just a few of their customs have rubbed off onto wizard-kind.

Work Experience
Finally, students in Britain are required to undertake a period of 'work-related learning'. Mine was in a book shop. Although, if Harry wants to be an Auror, then I think he's done adequately in this area.

Really, this is a silly exercise, as Hogwarts is in Scotland (see above), while the national curriculum only applies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Despite this, Hogwarts has an English style academic year (three terms), whereas Scottish school tend to operate a four year system.

Jim | 18th May 2007, 05:24  
Also, if they taught maths to wizards, the Goblins at Gringotts might realise that by sticking everyone's money in individual vaults they aren't actually using it to generate any revenue for themselves... so they don't actually make a profit from being a bank.

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