Upper-Fourth At Filory-Towers
A Parody

“Olivia! Is that you? Olivia, over here!”

Katie grabbed her bags from the car and dashed off to meet Olivia in the crowd. It was the first day of the new term at Filory Towers and chaos reigned as the girls arrived at the gates. They were all carrying tottering piles of suitcases and gym kits and shouting at the top of their voices in their excitement at seeing each other again after the long summer..

“Oh look Olivia, here’s Rachel. Rachel! Over here! I’m dying to see what new pranks you’ve got to play this term!”

“Hallo Katie. You’re in for a treat! My brothers got me this amazing set of tricks for my birthday, see. There’s a fantastic one I want to play on Madame Chausson. And there are some brilliant tips on overthrowing the corrupt capitalist system too.”

“Golly that sounds fun. I can’t wait!”

The three friends made their way in to find Matron. She was stern but always fair and the girls liked her tremendously.

“It’s good to see you all again. I hope you’re ready for fourth year – you’ll have exams at the end of the term so there’ll be plenty of work to do.”

“We know Matron,” Katie grinned, “There’s exams, the tennis tournament and the Stop the Racists demo to organise. Goodness it’s going to be a busy term!”

“You’ve all got brains and a firm sense of mistrust for scaremongering politicians. So I’m sure you’ll do very well indeed.”

The girls took their bags up to their new fourth-year dormitory. Gwendolyn was already there. There was also a new girl with short brown hair and an anarchist badge who was unpacking her things from her case – hairbrush, tennis racket and anti-racist placards. She introduced herself as Susan.

“I’m so looking forward to my first term at Filory Towers! You’ve got quite wonderful tennis courts and much better grass-roots anti-racism activism than at my old school.”

“I expect we’ll get along just splendidly,” Rachel said with a grin.

“Personally, I think foreigners aren’t to be trusted.” Gwendolyn sniffed. “England should be for the English.”

The girls stared at her.

“Gwen, you’re Japanese.”


The first few weeks flew by. Not for the first time, Katie was glad that she had a friend like hardworking little Olivia.

“Honestly, without you Liv I don’t know how I would have written these chants for the demo. ‘Scum, scum scum!’ It has such a wonderful rhythm to it. Would you be a dear and help me with my Latin prep, now?”

With the big anti-racism protest looming, the girls decided to have a Midnight demo prep session. Susan managed to get the key to the sports equipment shed and Katie liberated some pies from the tyranny of private ownership in the school kitchens for them to eat.

Everyone but Gwendolyn was invited.

Whispering and giggling they made their way down to the shed in the middle of the night. Susan unlocked the shed with only the barest of squeaks and they filed in. Rachel had a surprise for the others – she’d managed to smuggle her mother’s megaphone into school in her case – that would do splendidly for the demo. The girls munched away at their sardine paste sandwiches, sewing banners and copying out the leaflets Katie had designed.

The next day Gwen seemed a little suspicious that all the other girls kept yawning in classes. Katie felt a little guilty so she offered Gwen some of the left over potato pie that evening in their dormitory.

“Oh no, I don’t eat potatoes, everyone knows they’re a vile foreign import.” Gwen wrinkled her nose. “I only eat wholesome patriotic food like pineapples, chicken tikka and Chinese egg rolls.”

Everyone else sidled out of the room slowly.


The day of the demo finally arrived. The leaflets had been distributed, posters pasted across the town and French dictation done early.

Katie warmed up her singing voice as they made their way to the town centre. “Ave Maria Gratia plena. There are many many more of us than you.”

The girls were delighted to see that only a handful of racist thugs had come out to demonstrate. They greeted the police officers, unfurled their handstitched banners and began yelling anti-racist slogans. Rachel gave Katie the megaphone and sang her heart out using anti-racist lyrics to the tune of popular songs.

“Bravo, Katie!” The crown cheered. “To whom do these streets belong? Us! To whom does this town belong? Us! To whom does this city belong? Us!”

“Scum scum scum! Off our steets,” Olivia shouted. “Good day Mrs Peterson. Would you like any help carrying your shopping basket?”

Soon enough the motley racist group dispersed to cheers from the Filory-towers girls.

“Goodness, what a day!” Katie grinned. “And what beautiful weather for it! I should just love to get some liquorice from the sweet shop before we head back. This way around the police blockade, Susan.”

Laughing and flushed with their success, the girls made their way back to the school. On the road back they saw Gwendolyn looking at them with admiration.

“I say, you are quite a good bunch aren’t you. I’ve been such a silly all term. Can you accept my apology? I should very much like to help you with the next demo if you’d have me?”

“Of course Gwen!” Katie smiled. “There’s always a place for the kind at heart in the Upper-forth at Filory-towers.”

Habiba Islam