FSSE events 2016

Junior Gathering

Key info

Dates    Saturday afternoon 20 August to Saturday morning 27 August
Venue  Leighton Park School, Shinfield road, Reading, RG2 7ED
Costs    Junior Gathering fee: £325.00, including deposit of £50
Ages    11 to 14 years old (must be 11 by 1 September 2016 and under 15)
Theme Truth and Inner light in Quakerism
Number places Approx. 80

Senior Conference

The application for 2016 Senior Conference is open!


Key info

Dates    Saturday afternoon 20 August to Saturday morning 27 August
Venue  Sibford School, Sibford Ferris, Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX15 5QL
Costs    Senior Conference fee: £325.00, including deposit of £50
Ages    15 to 18 years old (must be 15 by 1 September 2016 and under 19)
Number places Approx. 80


Bursary information

We know that many young people will require help if they are to be able to attend Senior Conference or Junior Gathering. Your local Meeting or Area Meeting may have funds available. We would be glad to offer further advice if required.

It is FSSE policy that no one should be prevented from attending for financial reasons, and we do have a small bursary fund. If you need any help even for a few pounds please contact us.

Open letter to the Home Office

During Junior Gathering 2015 we met a ex-child solider who shared his moving story of how he was taken away by rebels soldiers and was forced fight and to abduct other children for 9 years before he escaped, however he was met with hostility by his government and was then put in prison and tortured for 5 years before being able to make his way to the UK.

Despite living here for 15 years he is currently still seeking asylum in the UK. His story reminded us of what we learned from Conteh, who we met last year. Conteh was also a refugee and asylum seeker who had fled from conflict. He told us about some of the difficulties and dangers that asylum seekers in the UK face and how unfortunate their situation is. We were motivated to write a letter to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, asking for the situation and the treatment of asylum seekers to be made more fair and humane.

The letter can be downloaded here, or read below.

28th August 2015

Dear Theresa May MP Home Secretary,

We are writing on behalf on Junior Gathering, a group of 76 young Quakers aged between 11 to 14.

We heard the very distressing story of one asylum seeker and ex-child soldier. After being kidnapped and used as a child soldier in East Africa, he was then forced to fight and abduct other children for almost a decade. After finally managing to flee this person ran to the authorities of his country, however he was then subject to imprisonment and torture for 5 years without trial until finally being released. After these 5 years, he finally made it to the United Kingdom, a place where he thought that he would be safe and treated with compassion. However, this was not the case.

This person has now been in the United Kingdom for fifteen years. His asylum status is still uncertain. It is cruel to allow someone who has gone through so much as a child soldier and has been rejected by their own government to be kept waiting so long, not knowing whether they can stay. It is saddening that not only has his own government rejected him, but he has also been neglected by ours.

Because he is not legally allowed to work, he has no way of earning more money than the little he is given by our government, What he does get he spends on essentials such as bus travel to college, where he is trying to further himself by earning his GCSEs.

He can only afford to phone his mother once a month. They have been separated for more than two decades with no communication until recently.

We demand that asylum seekers not be allowed to fall into such a situation.

Firstly, it is inhumane and undignified for someone to not be able to plan their life due to such uncertainty. Therefore the decision on asylum cases must be shortened. Fifteen years is longer than most of us have been alive.

Secondly, this case shows that many asylum seekers want to improve themselves and want to be able to contribute to our society. Therefore if a decision on asylum is yet to be made, the asylum seeker should be able to earn a living.

Thirdly, asylum seekers must be treated as more than just statistics and an inconvenience, but as the people and human-beings they really are.


In Friendship,

On behalf of Junior Gathering,

Anna-Tina & Ailwyn




An Activist’s Playlist

An Activist Playlist

As we know, activists don’t have iPods. Their playlists are written on note paper made of pressed husks of corn. All of these songs would be favourites, but only played if a vinyl edition made of pure local beeswax could be found.




Key Quote


Blowin’ in the Wind

Bob Dylan

“How many deaths will it take till he knows /

That too many people have died?”



John Lennon

“If you want money for people with minds that hate / All I can tell is, brother, you’ll have to wait”




“They can come true”


Get Up Stand Up

Bob Marley

“Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights”


Peace Train

Cat Stevens

“Oh peace train sounding louder”


What’s Going On?

Marvin Gaye

“Picket lines and picket signs / Don’t punish me with brutality”


It’s Not Right But It’s Okay

Whitney Houston

“Pack your bags up and leave /

Don’t you dare come running back to me”




Food Glorious Food

Dinner.  A time for chatting, eating, and often queuing. Opinions on these ‘tasty’ snacks have been mixed. From the torture of the morning omelettes that oozed with milk to the joy of the potato wedges which blossomed with spices and most importantly salt. Yes, they were very good wedges.

The puddings have also been varied. From gungy crumble to the soft, sugar coated cake, which tempted people to return for seconds… and in some cases, even more. The watermelon was refreshing, until two days later, base group eight found the rinds in a corner on the floor. Those guilty have yet to forward.

Now vegetarianism is popular among Summer school attenders. And while the kitchen staff always provide an alternative option, which has gone down well, vegan food is scarce. Perhaps they can drink the water… but is this enough?

Finally, we would like to commend the serving staff on providing exact portions to the requirements of the participants. Michael claims that someone even asked for exactly seven peas, and the staff dutifully counted them out without raising an eyebrow at this dubious request. But then again, this is Summer School.

Ultimate: from the point of view of the Frisbee.

By James

I’m spinning through the air only to come clattering down and to be picked up by a pair of sweaty hands and to be flung across the field to skid along the rough grass stubble. I get picked up and tossed into a huge pair of hands the noise of cheering deafens me. Being thrown carelessly onto the floor I feel like being sick. Having recovered my stomach I gaze enviously at the round ring gliding effortlessly through the skies. Why do I have to be the one thrown to the side?

Staff found with gun

By Edward

On a normal day at Summer School Michael, one of the coordinators, was caught with a toy gun. All the staff were shocked by this piece of evidence against coordinator Michael especially Boop who said, “that’s not very pacifist, that’s an Ak-47!” He wasn’t just caught with the gun – he was pretending to shoot the staff and loaded the gun with a nerf bullet at targets which missed and hit books off the shelf.

“It’s very Quaker related,” commented James – a young person at Summer School.

Then some other staff said, “OMG that’s not cool at a Quaker school, and as he is a coordinator that’s even worse!”

An anonymous group of kids – inspired by this year’s theme of Activism Around the World – are considering a protest as they don’t want to get shot at night.

We can only hope that Michael will not carry on with this gun incident, but if you see him then watch out he might SHOOT YOU!

Pigeon Pandemonium

James, Katie, Kirsten and Alice

On Saturday a pigeon was found in the boy’s dorm.  Arek the occupant of the dorm said, “It was shocking when I saw the bird. It was even more shocking when I saw an egg.” It was trying to nest in a corner. A group of the male staff ventured out on their quest to remove the pigeon from this dangerous and toxic location. Michael was first to attempt the removal, however, due to his fear of birds, he chickened out. So Sam eventually had to take over from Michael. He (and others) encountered flapping, squawking and stinking socks (which were not from the pigeon) during the complex operation of escorting the bird to safety. Steps included coaxing it into a plastic box with a newspaper and a blanket being thrown on top. Later events may shed some light on the reason for the pigeon nesting in these dorms…

Animal crackers

The next morning a ginger cat entered meeting for worship and tried to join the silence. Unfortunately for the cat it was somewhat hampered by the bell around its neck which caused a light tinkling whenever it moved. Our sources indicate that the reason for the pigeon’s plight was to escape from the playful, potentially killer, cat. The egg has also been removed and placed elsewhere in the grounds and the pigeon has been delivered to its new home as well.

Incredibly, another episode of the pigeon drama occurred in the same dorm. This time our reporters came in time to see the pigeon make a hasty getaway. We met Barry the caretaker who explained, “People have races up and down the country with homing pigeons that occasionally get lost. These disoriented pigeons nest in buildings mistaking them for pigeon lofts.”

However it was not the last time that the pigeon was spotted. On Tuesday, just after nine o’clock the pigeon was spotted in dorm nineteen for the third time but it just did a quick flyby. “It flew in, slipped on a piece of paper and flew out again,” said Gwen who was reading at the time.



By Martha and Isaac Swagsters

On the first day of summer school, SSP journalists Isaac and Martha went to interview the infamous Michael Wood; much loved and greatly admired co-ordinator. (Sorry Boop you were sleeping, maybe later this week when you are awake).


Martha: So Michael, do you have sufficient swag?

Michael: Sorry what? What do I have?


Michael: ooh, swag, yes.

Isaac: And do you prefer pigeons or cats?

Michael: Well, due to the dorm situation with the pigeon pooing everywhere, and disrupting general peace in the Boys Dorms, I prefer cats, as they get rid of the pigeons. I liked that cat this morning.

Isaac: Pigeons are fat. So was the cat this morning.

Martha: What are your views on Nutmeg?

Michael: Tasty in a fondue, otherwise useless.

Martha: Who do you miss most from past Summer Schools?

Michael: Um, well, wouldn’t that be favouritism? I mean I miss every one, that’s not favouritism is it?

Isaac: No. Moving on, what’s your most memorable Activism expirence?

Michael: Oooh, can I have two? Or actually three? Because the three are probably being at the OCCUPY EVICTION, OR THE IRAQ WAR MARCH OR THE CRITICAL MASS CYCLE RIDE THING. YAY FOR YAY ACTIVISM YAY I’M SO EXCITED FOR ALL THE SUMMER SCHOOL ACTIVISM YAY YAY YAY (Michael got very excited and jumped around a bit and almost fell in the swimming pool so we calmed him down and sat him down)

Isaac: Now you’ve calmed down a bit Michael, do you like ABBA? And why?

Michael: (thinks) No I don’t like ABBA. But I love Thank you for the music, (starts singing and dancing) the songs I’m singing, thanks for all the JOY THEY’RE BRINGING WHO COULD LIVE WITHOUT IT I ASK IN ALL HONESTY WHAT COULD LIFE-(at this point Michael is dancing rather wildly, falls into the swimming pool, and proceeds to swim, still singing, fully clothed, to the side of the pool, scaring everyone else out of the pool)

We ended the conversation and walked away. Michael is our new favourite.


Agony Aunt – Winifred

Hi Winifred, I can’t sleep because the boys’ dorm next to mine keeps me awake with constant high pitch screeching (meant to be singing, but hey hoe) and really bad guitar playing. How should I get them to shut up?

Sending them notes constantly, looking through the badly taped up keyhole and flirting under the door probably isn’t the best idea to shut them up, but keep on doing it for the lols. Winifred x

Dear Winifred, I fancy Isaac Jeorrett. What should I do?

Well, this is a very common problem here at Summer School, as his swag overload entices everyone, boys and girls. His former accomplice, Samuel Jennings, couldn’t be here this year as he’s in Boston (starts to sob wildly) so maybe you will have a chance. Our advices are flirt incessantly and speak some Welsh to make him love you. Winifred x

Hi Winifred,  my secret friend is freaking me out. They keep on giving me pieces of food and serenading me with sexy music. They are also giving me flower power lip balm and girly bracelets, and some really odd fruits. I’m a guy with an electric violin. What should I do? I’m really scared!

I think your secret friend is amazing, she sounds perfect. You should embrace her awesome presents and be happy you’ve actually been given something. Love her forever. Winifred x

Dearest Winifred, I’m married, but I think I’m in love with Margaret. Just knowing that she used to be a show girl gets me flustered.

You can look but you can’t touch. P.S. you should join the I HEART MARGARET club; we meet everyday in the playroom from 4:23–4:24. Winifred x