When the Harry Potter anniversary rolled around, there was a great cartoon about how we’re all still waiting for our Hogwarts letter. It’s going to be pretty awkward when a bunch of people either side of 30 turn up. Aside from the fact we’ll be the same age as the Professors, we’ll come with our boring adult-life problems in tow. This student needs to sort childcare, that student is behind on rent because she bought a Firebolt.
Still, we check the doormats every August. It’s like banging on the back of a wardrobe. It’s a fictional rite of passage.
Not every fictional school sounds as (excuse me) magical as Hogwarts. I’ve divided my list – five schools I wouldn’t want to attend, and five which are dream worthy. It’s worth noting three of my dream worthy schools aren’t conventional schools. As someone with an unconventional educational background, I want to highlight that there is more than one way to get an education.
Schools you WOULDN’T WANT TO ATTEND:
Rookwood School (Scarlett and Ivy) – stuffed sausage dogs, strange happenings and a sadistic headteacher.
School in MOTHERLAND (Maggot Moon) – No space for the dreamers. The teachers say what the government tell them to say. You’d better say the same things, or you’ll be caned.
St Aidan the Great (STAGS) – forget a silver spoon. Unless you’re part of the aristocracy, you’ll have a miserable time here. And possibly be hunted. You have been warned.
Hangar’s Hight (Secret Heart) – The Circus has come to town. Let’s protest against it’s inhumanity… without learning what kind of circus it is.
Oneiros School (The Boy Who Went Magic) – There’s no magic. The government says so. If you dare to believe in magic or adventure, you’ll be bullied.
A Dream Education:
Hogwarts (Guess which book) – so it probably breaks a hundred health and safety rules an hour, but you know which house you’re in, and you know whether you’re taking an owl or a cat or a toad.
School at Furlongs (School for Skylarks) – Lyla is forced to move in with her eccentric Aunt Ada during the war. Furlongs is ginormus, full of animals and under the care of a devoted butler. It’s straight out of kid-lit. Lyla’s not amused, so she offers Furlongs to the War Office. If the house is full of soldiers, Lyla will have to go home. She never dreamed the War Office might send school girls. Lyla’s never been to school…
When the headteacher goes home due to personal circumstances, Aunt Ada takes charge. This is the kind of Un-School which probably wouldn’t function in real life, but is great fun to think about.
Circus Mirandus – Dropping out of the world to learn magic tricks is an education, right?
On Board Peggy Sue (Kensuke’s Kingdom) – I’m betting Michael got a great education, sailing around the world, though I’d love to know who signed that permission note.
My Name is Mina – Mina is taken out of school, and teaches herself. Her education comprises of blackbirds and drawing and William Blake.
Which fictional education would you choose? Can you think of any fictional schools which sound like a nightmare? How long have you waited for your Hogwarts letter? Let me know in the comments below.