All girls at Shiplake join Gilson House, a dedicated girls’ house which opened in September 2009. The College’s newest House provides modern, purpose-built accommodation for a mixture of day and boarding pupils. At present, 55 girls are part of our Sixth Form, of which there are approximately 20 boarders. A number of the girls are flexi-boarders (staying two nights a week) and many of the day girls also stay overnight on an occasional basis.
Mrs Annemarie Higgins joined as Housemaster of Gilson in September 2017; she is also the Director of Learning Support. Mrs Higgins is supported by Deputy Housemistress Mrs Sian Pearson, who joined the team in Gilson in 2016, having previously worked as Assistant Housemistress in Skipwith. Mrs Lou Porter is the matron for Gilson, providing the girls with domestic and pastoral support. A friendly team of visiting tutors make up the rest of the team. Suzy has been at Shiplake since 2007, and served as Resident Tutor before becoming Housemistress. Sian has been at Shiplake since 2013 and is the next port of call for the girls if the Housemistress is not available. Together, the team of staff provide the girls with a wealth of support across all academic and co-curricular domains.
If you are a boarding girl you will have your own study bedroom, and if you are a day girl you will have either a single or double study room, with plenty of storage and desk space to provide a suitable working and living environment. Every effort is made to ensure that girls have the best opportunity to maximise their potential academically, culturally and socially. There are ample shared bathroom facilities for girls to use, whilst the Head of House and another senior prefect are rewarded with an en suite bathroom. The normal College laundry system is available to all girls but they are also able to process their own laundry in Gilson’s own machines and dryers. Girls usually congregate in the House common room which is ideal for socialising, with comfortable sofas, kitchen facilities and a breakfast bar.
The boarders can enjoy a magnitude of weekend activities, including shopping trips, paintballing, cinema and bowling. A substantial amount of time in the evening is spent doing prep but there is also time allocated for relaxing. Many choose to spend evenings in front of the TV, having a well earned, quiet and relaxing night after a long day. Girls often enjoy making homemade pizzas or having a takeaway together. Movie nights in house are also popular and, as it is a female-only domain, they can watch as many chick flicks as they like! However, the girls are allowed to socialise in the other houses and Gilson are often invited to College House for barbecues in the summer when the weather allows. The two houses sometimes compete in a Shiplake version of Come Dine With Me.
The relatively small number of girls at the College creates a real sense of togetherness, as both year groups get to know each other extremely well. Friendships which often last for years are formed within the first few days of joining Shiplake. This makes Gilson House an extremely enjoyable place to be.