Related to this question: What does it take to be expelled from Hogwarts? and Why Couldn't Hagrid Have a Functional Wand?

TL;DR - 1a) Do we know of any other students that were actually expelled?

TL;DR - 1b) What constitutes a complete education? Do all children have to pass OWLS and NEWTS?

The only example I can remember is: Hagrid. He was fully expelled, wand broken and everything.

It is also my recollection that the wand is broken because without a completed education the wizard will end up being a danger to the public by not performing spells properly.

However we see the following:

  • Fred and George left the school voluntarily so there was no official to confiscate and break their wands. They end up opening their joke shop.
  • Same goes with Harry and Ron so they can pursue the Horcruxes. They end up working as Aurors directly after the war.
  • Hermione leaves but goes back and completes her education.

This leaves the following questions:

  • Since Fred and George did not finish, why did the Ministry not show up at the shop to confiscate and break their wands?
  • Same with Harry and Ron. Why when they went to work for the Ministry was nothing said or done?

Harry and Ron are the HEROS so I am guessing that no one would want to enforce the law in their cases. Kingsley actually recruited them to head up the new Auror department.

Fred and George, however, leave before the end of the war in a time where the Ministry is corrupt. So it would stand to reason that they would be targets.

We also know that many children are home-schooled throughout the world. So there must be some standard that the Ministry would deem acceptable to not go break the wands of all the wizards that are home-schooled.

It almost seems to that this is just a setup for Hagrid's character and role, plus a background threat to Harry whenever it convenient for the plot...

Edit to account for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:

We know that Newt Scamander was expelled from Hogwarts, but he definitely still has his wand!

  • 3
    Attending Hogwarts - or any Wizarding school - is not compulsory, so the Ministry isn't going to destroy your wand just because you've dropped out of school. I assume it only happens in the specific case of expulsion, though it doesn't really make a lot of sense: non-orphan expelled students could continue to be taught by their parents at home or transfer to another school (Durmstrang may not take such a grim view of the whole Chamber of Secrets thing). A transfer may have even been possible for Hagrid, had anybody been interested in making such an arrangement on his behalf. Feb 18, 2016 at 16:48
  • There are a lot of assumptions made in the question (as Anthony sort of points out as well) - maybe better to take some of those assumptions into questions as well? (ie - is attendance at school mandatory to live / work in wizarding society)
    – NKCampbell
    Feb 18, 2016 at 16:53
  • @AnthonyGrist Dumbledore, I think would have at least mentioned it to Hagrid when he was expelled and then shoved it in the current Minister/wand breaking authority's face that Hagrid is transferring because ol' Albus knew Rubeus was innocent...
    – Skooba
    Feb 18, 2016 at 17:01
  • @NKCampbell Squibs show us that school is not mandatory to live/work in wizarding society.
    – Skooba
    Feb 18, 2016 at 17:02
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    When the books were written, five years of secondary education and two years of advanced levels were the main options for English students. The first five were compulsory, the latter two not and many left after five years. I assume Hogwarts is structured that way.
    – ThruGog
    Feb 18, 2016 at 18:31

6 Answers 6


The Ministry only takes wands from the criminally charged, not students who leave Hogwarts.

It seems likely that the reason Hagrid had his wand snapped was because of his suspected involvement in the death of a student because he kept an Acromantula at Hogwarts, not because he was expelled from Hogwarts. His expulsion and the confiscation of his wand were both caused by that incident. The Ministry cannot confiscate wands until charges are successfully proven, and while Hagrid’s charges were not proven, he was suspected of being involved in a crime by negligence.

‘The Ministry does not have the power to expel Hogwarts students, Cornelius, as I reminded you on the night of the second of August,’ said Dumbledore. ‘Nor does it have the right to confiscate wands until charges have been successfully proven; again, as I reminded you on the night of the second of August. In your admirable haste to ensure that the law is upheld, you appear, inadvertently I am sure, to have overlooked a few laws yourself.”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 8 (The Hearing)

Fred and George were never charged with anything - they just chose to leave Hogwarts in their sixth year. Attending Hogwarts was never compulsory, except when Voldemort took control of it, so the Ministry could not take wands from anyone not attending or not finishing Hogwarts.

“What’s Voldemort planning for Hogwarts?’ she asked Lupin.

‘Attendance is now compulsory for every young witch and wizard,’ he replied. ‘That was announced yesterday. It’s a change, because it was never obligatory before. Of course, nearly every witch and wizard in Britain has been educated at Hogwarts, but their parents had the right to teach them at home or send them abroad if they preferred. This way, Voldemort will have the whole wizarding population under his eye from a young age.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)

Therefore, students who leave Hogwarts without having any criminal charges would not have their wands taken.

Newt was never actually expelled, he was cleared and never charged.

A MACUSA document in an official companion book shows that Newt was never actually expelled from Hogwarts. Dumbledore defended him and his name was cleared before he was expelled, so he would have been able to continue attending Hogwarts and his wand would not have been broken.

NOTES: Proposed expulsion from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry due to the illegal possession of a magical beast causing endangerment of human life and violation of animal welfare laws 101/304.
Magical Beast: Jarvey, Level 3
Punishment: Expulsion from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
– The expulsion was never enforced - Hogwarts Professor Albus Dumbledore defended Newton resulting in his name being cleared.
– The Ministry of Magic Animal Welfare Department were also informed of the violation and required to rehouse the magical creature.
-The Case of Beasts: Explore the Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

enter image description here

This is similar to when Harry was almost expelled, but was never actually expelled due to Dumbledore’s defense of him. Harry had gotten very close to being expelled. He received a letter from the Ministry claiming he was expelled, which also mentioned destruction of his wand.

We have received intelligence that you performed the Patronus Charm at twenty-three minutes past nine this evening in a Muggle inhabited area and in the presence of a Muggle.

The severity of this breach of the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery has resulted in your expulsion from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Ministry representatives will be calling at your place of residence shortly to destroy your wand.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 2 (A Peck of Owls)

But, since Dumbledore’s defense of him, Harry had been proven as innocent. Because of this, he was never expelled, so his attendance at Hogwarts continued as normal. Dumbledore also reminded the Minister of Magic that the Ministry cannot confiscate wands until charges were successfully proven. The charges against Newt also had never been proven, so the Ministry could not destroy his wand.


Rowling has said in an interview that the fact that Newt still has a wand after being expelled is 'significant'.

So Why did he get expelled?

J.K. Rowling: Well, he took the blame for something someone else did. That's significant, but I can't tell you why.

How did he keep a wand?

J.K. Rowling: How did he keep a wand? That's also significant, and I can't tell you why.

Snitchseeker's interview with J.K. Rowling at the world premiere of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

  • Could you add some information about the other cases mentioned to make this a complete answer?
    – Adamant
    Feb 2, 2017 at 5:58
  • Unfortunately she's too inconsistent for me to be happy about this.
    – Möoz
    May 3, 2017 at 2:30
  • @Mooz - Not to worry. That's been retconned away in the new edition.
    – ibid
    May 3, 2017 at 3:23
  • @ibid Hmm, I need to get my hands (or keyboard) on one of those then. Cheers.
    – Möoz
    May 3, 2017 at 3:49
  • 1
    @Mooz - Here's a list of all the changes made. Overall, I think the 2001 edition was better.
    – ibid
    May 3, 2017 at 4:19

Fred and George were of age when they dropped out of school (they had both turned 17) so they could legally use magic outside of school anyway. Hagrid was in his third year, so he would have only been 13. Harry and Ron were also of age when they dropped out of Hogwarts.


1a) Hagrid, of course, but the only other person known who was expelled was Harry Potter, who was temporarily expelled for his escapades with the dementors in OOTP, although this was later retracted. Grindelwald was expelled from Durmstrang, but I guess that doesn't count.

1b) As @Anthony Grist says in his comment, attendance to Hogwarts, lr any school, might not be compulsory. The first five years may be, but afterwards they can't be, since not everybody (ahemCrabbeandGoyle) gets any O.W.Ls at all. On the other hand, there may be evidence that it is not compulsory: Ariana Dumbledore, whose family assured us that she wasn't a Squib, and yet she did not attend Hogwarts. Not all children have to complete NEWTs at least, to be succesful, like college here. For example, Harry, Ron, Fred and George. My assumption is that OWLs are like highschool and NEWTs are like college. The whole system is a lot like our own. It is very hard to succeed with no education, and very hard with only an OWL education. It goes no farther than NEWTs. Neither are needed, but all are helpful.

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    OWS are GCSEs/O-levels and NEWTs are A-levels. All are pre-university.
    – OrangeDog
    Feb 18, 2016 at 18:57
  • 1
    @OrangeDog Maybe, but there is nothing beyond the NEWTs; it is the highest education they recieve.
    – CHEESE
    Feb 18, 2016 at 19:00
  • 1
    Remus Lupin was also homeschooled for the first few years; only later on did Dumbledore manage a way to have him stay at Hogwarts. And we know that, for instance, Auror training takes several years of specialised education after completing your NEWTs. Feb 18, 2016 at 19:00
  • scifi.stackexchange.com/q/8774/13024
    – OrangeDog
    Feb 18, 2016 at 20:07
  • 1
    What is "our own system"? The system in the UK? Each place uses its own system, and even the same terminology (highschool, college) can mean completely different things.
    – Oriol
    Nov 30, 2016 at 18:14

My guess is the wands broken are of those students who are expelled only if they are underage. It's possible they are allowed to buy a new wand and that might be how their parents are able to homeschool them. The first wand bought is the most compatible with the wizard after all as the wand chooses the wizard.

Another theory is more heinous the crime, more severe the punishment. A student died the first time the chamber was opened and hence the severe punishment of wand breaking.

Newt Scamander was expelled and he certainly was using a wand afterwards.


I think the most significant exception to the rule that we have data on is Fred & George.

After passing OWLs, it is well possible to not qualify for any NEWT-level classes. Therefore, those are most likely not compulsory for wand-use.

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