In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the Dursleys were planning to send Dudley to Uncle Vernon's old school, Smeltings, in September. At the same time, they were also planning to send Harry to the local comprehensive school Stonewall High.

Quoting chapter 3:

When september came he would be going off to secondary school and, for the first time in his life, he wouldn't be with Dudley. […] Harry, on the other hand, was going to Stonewall High, the local comprehensive.

Also in chapter 4, Uncle Vernon says:

‘He's going to Stonewall High and he'll be grateful for it. […]’

We never get to see Stonewall High, because Harry goes to Hogwarts instead.

Is Stonewall High a boarding school such that Harry would spend most of his time there, coming home only for the vacations? Or was Harry to return to the Dursley's house every night instead?

This question came up when discussing the other question Why didn't the Dursleys gladly ship Harry off to Hogwarts?

  • In a deleted scene of the film it's called s "State School" if that is any inclination. This evidence is film canon (not even that, because it was deleted) but it's some form of evidence. The HP Wikia has no indication of Word of God, unfortunately.
    – Mac Cooper
    Aug 7, 2014 at 12:47
  • I don't have the book on me, but I just read this last night. In the American version, Stonewall High is called a "public school," or what Brits would call a private school. What's more, it's referred to as a "local" school. Aug 7, 2014 at 12:47
  • @TenthJustice, that would mean it's not a boarding school :) assuming the American version counts in canon :) However, for the record, Comprehensive Schools (as in the quote) CAN be boarding schools. It's unlikely the Dursley's would pay for a boarding school for Harry though.
    – Mac Cooper
    Aug 7, 2014 at 12:48

1 Answer 1


No, it's not a boarding school. We know from that quote that it was a comprehensive school. Its funding would have come primarily from the government (via taxes), which means the Dursleys wouldn't have had to pay for Harry to attend and also that its budget wouldn't have stretched nearly far enough to cover boarding costs.

While state run, comprehensive boarding schools do exist, the costs aren't covered by government funding, and I can't imagine that the Dursleys - despite their hatred of Harry - would have paid for that (they didn't even buy him a new school uniform, instead dyeing some of Dudley's old clothes grey). This fits in with their general attitude of giving Dudley the very best and everything he wants, while giving Harry the absolute bare minimum.

Additionally, had Harry already been attending a boarding school they may not have needed to come up with a new excuse (St Brutus') to explain his lengthy absences during the school year to the neighbours.

Unfortunately for Harry, had he not ended up going to Hogwarts, he would have had to return to the Dursleys every evening.

  • For the record, my Googling brings up results for Comprehensive Boarding schools... though, I doubt the Dursley's would pay for that.
    – Mac Cooper
    Aug 7, 2014 at 13:04
  • @MacCooper True, but the boarding costs aren't covered by government funding; costs seem to be around the £9,000 (so about $15,000) per year mark, which I can't see the Dursleys paying when they weren't even willing to buy him school clothes. Edited the answer to make it clearer why I think it would have been a regular, non-boarding, comprehensive school. Aug 7, 2014 at 13:17
  • @b_jonas That's badly worded, I might just edit it out (it doesn't really add much to the answer). I think overall he'd be better off because he wouldn't have Dudley to constantly bully him, but his uncle and aunt might start paying more attention to him - possibly leading to worse treatment from them specifically than before - due to not having the distraction of Dudley to constantly spoil. Aug 7, 2014 at 14:16
  • 1
    @AnthonyGrist, perfect :) plus, nice with the St Brutus thing, didn't think of that.
    – Mac Cooper
    Aug 7, 2014 at 20:01

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