"As he moved up the school, he gathered about him a group of dedicated friends; I call them that, for want of a better term, although as I have already indicated, Riddle undoubtedly felt no affection for any of them.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

I'm not sure what "moved up the school" is supposed to mean. Is it his grade getting higher or something?

  • 3
    No - it's just a reference to the passing of time. He started as a first-year student, then "moved up" to year two, year three, etc. – FumbleFingers Jul 21 at 13:26
  • @FumbleFingers Is it a common phrase? It seems to me that As he moved up in the school makes more sense. – dan Jul 21 at 13:58
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    @dan The phrase is common, but using it to describe going from one school year to the next seems particularly British. I think "advance" might be more common in the U.S., and possibly elsewhere. – Andrew Jul 21 at 15:49
  • @dan: It's much the same as moved up (through) the ranks (e.g. - within the armed forces), where as that link shows, the modern tendency (BrE and AmE) is increasingly to drop the "unnecessary" preposition completely. – FumbleFingers Jul 21 at 17:58
  • @Andrew So, 'school' here refers to school years? – dan Jul 21 at 22:33

It means "As he moved from year 1, to year 2, and ultimately to the sixth form"

You move up the school automatically in Hogwarts (as in the rest of the UK education system) there is no retaking of years, and test required to move up at the end of each year. It is not a very common phrase but I have no difficulty understanding it.

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