Shiplake College is an HMC co-educational boarding and day school offering a holistic education to just over 500 pupils from Year 7 to Year 13. From September 2023, girls will join Year 7 to be part of an already established co-educational environment in the Sixth Form. Flexi, weekly and full boarding is available from Year 9 (age 13).
Overlooking the River Thames in Oxfordshire, Shiplake College is situated in an inspirational rural site just two miles upstream from Henley-on-Thames, famous for its Royal Regatta. Shiplake is conveniently located 40 minutes from Heathrow airport, and is close to the major railway and motorway networks, with easy links to Reading, London and Oxford.
The Headmaster, Mr Tyrone Howe, says: “Everything we do at Shiplake we try to base on our three core values, known as the Three i’s – Inclusive, Individual, Inspirational. We’re inclusive! A school of just over 500 pupils with boys from Year 7 to 13, girls in the sixth form and soon to have girls in Year 7 from 2023. Everyone matters, we’re a community and, above all, we are kind to each other. There are countless opportunities for all to opt in, be involved and try new things. Individual. We recognise and respect that you’re all different and thank goodness for that. This is a personal best school and whatever your academic prowess, artistic flair, or sporting ability, we aim to get the very best out of every single pupil. With small class sizes and such an array of sports and co-curricular activities it gives us a really good chance of achieving this. And finally, inspirational. We have amazing teachers, whose mission is to inspire young people. We have an amazing setting along with superb facilities. And most importantly, pupils inspire each other. We want to instil in our young people a strong and true sense of ambition and aspiration.”
With a greater focus on academic rigour in recent years, it is no surprise that the College continues to achieve a year-on-year improvement in GCSE and A Level examination results. There is a wide range of A Level and BTEC subjects available. Leavers secure places at a variety of leading institutions, including Oxbridge, Russell Group and Ivy League universities.
Two afternoons are reserved for an array of clubs and activities, including a comprehensive outdoor education programme, with pupils encouraged to extend their horizons and experience new challenges and responsibilities. Shiplake has a formidable reputation for sports, particularly in rowing and rugby. Other major sports include football, hockey, cricket and tennis. Training takes place on three afternoons a week, with the majority of fixtures scheduled for Saturday mornings.
Academic lessons take place within the five-day working week and each day ends with an hour of academic support during which pupils undertake independent study or seek help with homework from teachers.
140 weekly and full boarders become fully integrated into Shiplake’s inclusive and welcoming environment. International pupils join from all over the world, and represent approximately 4% of the school. A thriving programme of evening and weekend boarding activities ensures all boarders are fully engaged.
Latest developments include a Sixth Form Centre, including a café for Year 12 and 13s to socialise and work independently, and The Davies Centre, a multi-activity centre named after former Headmaster Gregg Davies. This incorporates a state-of-the-art boathouse along with a fitness suite, two-storey climbing wall, an indoor archery and rifle range and enhanced facilities for the school’s comprehensive outdoor education programme.
An ISI Inspection in May 2022 showed the College achieved full compliance and the top category of ’excellent’ in both Achievement and the Personal Development of the pupils. Please read the report in full as it sums up what makes Shiplake so special.
Entry points are normally at Year 7 (11+), Year 9 (13+) and Year 12 (16+). Means-tested bursaries are available and Academic, Art, Music, Drama and Sport Scholarships are offered. The College also offers one 100% All-Rounder scholarship to a girl or boy currently at a state-maintained primary school who would be looking to join Year 7, who would not be able to attend Shiplake without substantial financial support.
Prospective families are encouraged to arrange an individual visit or attend an open morning, which take place twice a year. Please go to www.shiplake.org.uk to book your attendance, register your child, or request our prospectus, as well as explore the whole site, which contains a wealth of information relating to all aspects of life at Shiplake.