As I understand, after Prof. Dippet retired it was the transfiguaration teacher Prof. Dumbledore who became Headmaster of Hogwarts. During the course of the Harry Potter books we see that Prof. McGonagall is the deputy headmistress and the transfiguration teacher. This would mean that Prof. Dumbledore now doesn't hold that teaching position anymore.

So what exactly does a Hogwarts Headmaster/Headmistress do?

Naturally they would appoint teachers and have some amount of administration work including the sending out of letters of acceptance to Hogwarts but what (if anything) else? Don't they have to teach?

EDIT : I get that Dumbledore had many duties being chief Warlock of the Wizemgamot etc., but is there any evidence that all previous Heads had similar duties? I was asking about a Head of Hogwarts in general, not just Dumbledore.

  • 10
    Surely the same as an ordinary Headmaster/Headmistress?
    – Edlothiad
    Nov 14, 2017 at 9:54
  • 3
    To fight Dark witches and wizards, I presume. ;)
    – Adamant
    Nov 14, 2017 at 10:11
  • 2
    "What are a Headmaster's duties"
    – Valorum
    Nov 14, 2017 at 10:53
  • 10
    @R_D - De-trolling the dungeons, intentionally endangering children and engaging in a deadly long-term chess game with his former star pupil all seem to be on his to-do list.
    – Valorum
    Nov 14, 2017 at 12:00
  • 3
    Slightly related: What did Dumbledore do all day long? Nov 15, 2017 at 14:30

1 Answer 1


Not very much different from a Muggle school Headmaster:

  • Appointing and dismissing teachers and other staff
  • Supervision of daily school routine, or delegating this to other staff members: Filch, Hagrid, house elves, etc.
  • Supervision of curriculum (with cooperation of the Ministry and Governors)
  • Resolving various in-school conflicts as the final arbiter
  • Resolving situations that may endanger the school as a whole, not always involving Dark Magic and lethal danger to the world (eg. a threat to shut down Hogwarts, or some Ministry-inspired troubles)
  • Sending welcome letters to potential students
  • Making speeches at feasts and other special occasions.
  • Giving advice to students in difficult situations (not only the Chosen One).

In Muggle schools, the Headmaster is not always an active teacher, sometimes they do have hours in the curriculum, sometimes they don't.

  • The letters Harry gets from Hogwarts are signed by McGonagall, not Dumbledore.
    – Alex
    Jun 26, 2018 at 21:10
  • @Alex The first letter, where Harry was invited to attend Hogwarts, was signed by Dumbledore
    – TimSparrow
    Jun 26, 2018 at 22:29
  • Dear Mr. Potter, We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment. Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31. Yours sincerely, Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress
    – Alex
    Jun 26, 2018 at 23:01
  • @Alex this is the second letter, which is sent every school year. The first is sent to both the student and their parents/guardians, telling them of the school in case they are Muggle-born. In case of Tom Riddle in book 6, Dumbledore went to present it in person, rather than by owl.
    – TimSparrow
    Jun 27, 2018 at 10:02
  • I don't see any mention in either case of a letter signed by the headmaster.
    – Alex
    Jun 27, 2018 at 17:17

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