Sponsorship Required for 20 Mile Challenge

On Monday 15 September, Shiplake College will undertake it’s biennial 20 mile charity walk in aid of five charities put forward by the College Charities Committee.

With well over 400 students and staff taking part in the walk from Moulsford to Shiplake along the River Thames, we are hoping to raise a lot of money through sponsorship in order to be able to support these0 five very worthy causes. The last walk raised close to £20,000 which would be a great target to try and beat this time around.

Remarkably, some pupils decide walking the distance is an insufficient challenge and instead decide to run over three quarters of a marathon. They certainly deserve even greater sponsorship!

The charities being supported are:

-          Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance – some of our boys know just how valuable this service is in our region, especially when called out to an emergency on the rugby pitches. Shiplake College very much values the care and service that TVACAA provides and are pleased to be supporting such a vital emergency service.


-          Sue Ryder – the care offered by the Sue Ryder hospice provides great comfort not only to the patients but also to families and friends. Many members of the college and local community will have been touched by the support given by the Sue Ryder hospice and it seems fitting that we support them in return.


-          Gap Africa – a charity much supported over the years by Shiplake College. Gap Africa is run by Marcel and Sally Wagner who have been associated with Shiplake for many years and still lead the expedition society trips to Kenya. As part of the trip, students visit schools in the Kikundu region where money is desperately needed for resources and buildings.


-          Children on the Edge – this charity supports children in developing countries that are living on the edge of society. For a society that has so much, it seems right to support those who have so little.



-          Chiltern Centre – a fantastic local charity that offers quality care to children and young adults with disabilities as well as support for their families. Shiplake has had a long association with the Chiltern Centre and we are pleased to offer this continued support.



Sponsorship forms are being handed out by Housemasters in the first week of term. In the meantime, digital copies are available below. With just under two months to go until the event, we hope that everybody will be able to collect a good amount in sponsorship. All donations can be gift aided as long as the donor confirms they are a UK tax payer.

Please click here to download a sponsorship form.

Payments can be made via cash or cheques made payable to Shiplake College. Please return completed sponsorship forms along with the money to Housemasters or the School Office.

Happy fundraising!

Sixth Formers Explore Higher Education

Having completed their AS exams, Year 12 pupils had some time before the end of term to continue contemplating their future plans. This began with a valuable week of work experience, immediately followed by the annual Higher Education Week.

The week, organised by College Housemaster Mr Nick Brown, allowed pupils to explore the options available to them when they leave Shiplake in 12 months time. The Pro-Vice Chancellor from Buckingham Unviersity talked students through the UCAS application process, including offering advice for those considering applying to Oxbridge. Pupils also received lectures about studying abroad in the USA and Holland, working in the hopsitality industry and apprenticeships. 

Parents were invited to several sessions to increase their understanding of the process, which is an important stage in all pupils’ lives. There was plenty of time for practical seminars browsing the UCAS course searching website and writing personal statements. Several young members of staff who were at a similar stage themselves not too long ago dropped in to share their experiences and offer advice. Barclays Bank also visited the College to deliver an informative session on 'Life Skills', including money management and insurance. 

On the Thursday of the week, the entire Year 12 cohort made the short trip to Reading University to attend their latest open day. This gave a real flavour of university lifestyles, as students attended lectures on their favourite subjects, and got involved in the magnitude of activities organised around the campus. Quidditch, a recent addition to university sport, was particularly popular.

Two Old Vikings, Fran Nutt and George MacPhee, who left in 2011 and 2013 respectively, returned to the College for a question and answer session. Current pupils learned a great deal as they talked about their very different routes into university, the transition from life at school, student finance, and things they would do differently if applying again.

The final talk, entitled ‘A Vision of the Future’ was given by Robert Dempster from Samsung Electronics. Robert is well known to the College as an ex-parent and current Governor. The theme of his talk was the speed of change in technology and how young people need to stay ahead of the game. He urged all pupils to find a unique selling point; to be a specialist in something. He explained that character and commitment are far more important characteristics than where somebody goes to university.

To give pupils some inspiration, Robert ended by highlighting six growth industries where the most exciting career opportunities will be in the short to mid-term future. They are; water, minerals, energy, food, education and technology. We are looking forward to seeing where the year group ends up.

Vikings Roar to National Victory

Shiplake Vikings Rowing Club enjoyed their first success at national level last weekend when Seb Newman and Henry Blois-Brooke won the J15 double scull event at the British Championships in Nottingham.

The Vikings junior club was started two years ago by the Headmaster and Shiplake parent Richard Berkley and a bronze medal won last year in the J14 coxed quads showed that the club were becoming a force to be reckoned with. This year, coach Paul Rushent accompanied another coxed four and a double at J15 level to compete in the National Championships, and the fledgling club produced magnificent results.

The coxed quad of Ollie Potter, Christian Hjortland-Marks, Hugo Oglina, Cosmo Hearnden with cox Belle Narracott won through to the B Final where they finished fourth. Meanwhile, Seb and Henry were the fastest qualifiers in the time trial, with an impressive time of 5 minutes and 11 seconds.

This ensured qualification for the semi-finals, which the Shiplake boys won by a mammoth 15 seconds. Despite their growing momentm, they did not relax in the final and stormed to another huge victory. This time the margin was 9 seconds, crossing the line on the 1500m in front of Oxford City and Wallingford RC.

Standing proudly with the J15 gold medals around their necks, the future looks bright as Henry and Seb’s winning time would have gained them a silver medal in the J16 event.



CCF Camp Penally

In late June, the Army section of the Shiplake College CCF travelled to Penally in South Wales for this year’s central camp, run by 160 Brigades Cadet Training Team.

The multi-activity camp began with a field exercise, meaning the Shiplake cohort travelled directly to the Sennybridge training area near Brecon, rather than heading for the more comfortable Penally camp. Despite a promising weather forecast for the week ahead, the coach departed Oxfordshire in the rain and the thought of a wet night in the woods filled the coach with a sense of impending doom.

Unusually, the weather improved having crossed the border into Wales, and after a last pit stop and meal at McDonalds, smiling faces had returned. The Cadet Training Team was extremely well organised and pitched the training exercise at exactly the right level for our cadets, teaching new skills and improving those previously learnt. The highlight of the overnight exercise was without doubt the Ambush; nothing pleases a cadet more than lying in wait for unsuspecting regular soldiers to casually walk into their trap. After a barrage of blank simulated firing the bad guys were taken care of and it was back to base for a good night’s sleep under the trees.

The following day the group was collected by coach and taken to Penally camp; their main base for the week. After cleaning and sorting out their field kit the cadets were shown to their accommodation and given time to settle in. The Training Team arranged evening activities for each group. After sampling their first army meal, the cadets settled down to watch Robocop.

The rest of the week was filled with a great range of activities including shooting on the range, practicing navigation skills around a local country park and a fantastic array of outdoor pursuits including climbing, abseiling and kayaking.                          

No activities were scheduled for the final day so Contingent Commander Steve MacPherson decided to reward the cadets for all their hard work and press ups with a day at Oakwood Park, a local theme park. The cadets had great time on the rides but without doubt the tea cups were their favorite. More screams were heard on this ride than any other.

The College would like to thank 160 Brigade for organising such a smooth and enjoyable camp. The cadets also deserve credit as they maintained a fantastic attitude throughout the week and did the College proud. Whilst Shiplake did not win any prizes, we did achieve multiple first class shots on the range, not bad for boys who are novices in this activity. The Shiplake CCF is changing next year and we are confident the positive attitude shown by the cadets at this camp will be passed on to all other pupils to make it an even better success next year.

More photos from the camp can be viewed on our Flickr gallery

Chain-Link Cufflinks Still Available

Shiplake College cufflinks are still available in the traditional chain-link style, for a bargain price of just £20.

The timeless products, featuring the traditional College crest, are popular with current pupils, Old Vikings and parents. They provide an excellent memento of your association with Shiplake, no matter what relationship you have with the school. 

 The cufflinks are available for collection from the College or they can be posted to you for a small additional fee. All proceeds go to the Boat Club Supporters’ Association.

If you are interested in purchasing a pair, please email


Hogan Impresses at GB Trials

A selection of Shiplake’s most promising rowers travelled to Nottingham earlier this month for the latest round of GB rowing trials.

Accompanied by Mr Tom Fitton, we initially put two pairs forward for the first race off. Max Hearnden was partnered with Joe from Winchester College, while Harry Hogan was due to row with a friend from Reading Blue Coat. However, after he pulled out with illness, fellow Shiplake 1st VIII member Harry Berkley stepped in at the last minute.

With only the top seven pairs set to qualify for the final round of trials, the pressure was on immediately. Max and Joe came in 16th place, while Harry and Harry earned a remarkable 10th best time. Whilst this was not enough to qualify automatically, it was a phenomenal effort given their lack of practice together.

In view of this, Harry Hogan was invited to attend the final trials and joined up with another rower whose pairs partner had pulled out injured. Unfortunately Harry did not make the GB boats but he came very close. The whole experience was extremely valuable for him and puts him in the top 35 juniors in the country. Harry’s stepfather Martin Cruddace commented: “We are really proud of Harry and the GB under 23’s better watch out over the next year or two!”

Max and Harry Hogan will be hoping to continue their excellent progress at university next year while Harry Berkley will once again row for the Shiplake 1st VIII as he enters Year 13. 

Artists' Work Displayed at Private View

At the end of each academic year, the Shiplake Art Department hosts a Private View to show off the work produced by GCSE and Sixth Form artists across the year.

This year’s event was as exciting and vibrant as ever. Pupils’ increasing confidence with experimenting with different types of media was clearly evidenced, as a variety of paintings, sculptures and other 3D work was displayed in the Great Hall.

Many Old Vikings popped in to inspect the artwork as the event coincided with their drinks reception to bid farewell to staff moving on to pastures new. The atmosphere and ‘buzz’ around the room suggested that all visitors were impressed with what they saw.

Head of Art Mrs Gillings commented: “The diverse range of work clearly displayed pupils’ willingness to work to their strengths. It was lovely to hear complements from various visitors, while the pupils themselves were impressed with the overall appearance of the exhibition. This is a credit to them as of course it was their work on display! All those that took depart deserve our congratulations and I am looking forward to working with many of them in the new John Turner Building next year.”

The Private View event also saw the launch of our ‘Secret Postcard Exhibition’. All entries are warmly encouraged ahead of the new Art Department’s unveiling in September. 

Memorable Send Off for Sixth Form Leavers

Departing Year 13 pupils and their parents joined staff on the final evening of term for the 2014 Leavers’ Ball.

With a black tie dress code, gentleman donned stylish dinner suits while ladies arrived in glamorous ball gowns. The Head of College, Tom Arnold, and Senior Girl, Sissi Pongratz, arrived in VIP fashion in a chauffeur driven 1960s Ford Mustang.

In total, there were over 200 guests at the splendid event, which began with a drinks and canapé reception on the lawn in front of the Prize-Giving marquee. Legendary Catering Manager Mr Steve Beaumont, overseeing his final Leavers’ Ball at Shiplake, then called diners into the marquee for a fabulous three course meal. The exquisite duck main course was a particular hit with guests as they reminisced about the previous two or five years the pupils have spent at the College.

The meal was followed by dancing to excellent music from five-piece band Freeze Frame. After burning off energy on the dancefloor, the event ended with a traditional English breakfast served in the Great Hall in the early hours of the morning.

College Housemaster Mr Nick Brown, who himself is leaving the House to take on a new role in September, commented: “I thoroughly enjoyed this year in College House, due in large part to the efforts of the boys and their families. The atmosphere was great and I hope that all pupils have happy memories of your last year at Shiplake. I certainly will of my final year as Housemaster.”

The students will of course return to the College on Thursday 14 August to collect their A Level results. The majority will begin university courses across the country in September, with some choosing to take time out on a gap year and others bravely entering the world of work. The College then hopes to welcome all leavers back to Shiplake as Old Vikings at various events in the months and years to come.

Please click here if you wish to purchase professional photos from the evening.


Successes Recognised at Final Assembly

On the penultimate day of the Summer Term, pupils gathered in the prize giving marquee for the final assembly of the academic year. This gave everyone a chance to celebrate and recognise notable achievements, ahead of the main prize giving ceremony on the following day. The assembly particularly focussed on accomplishments in co-curricular domains including sport, outdoor pursuits and performing arts.

The assembly began with Duke of Edinburgh’s Award staff handing out certificates to successful pupils. Bronze award winners spent three months working on skills such as public speaking and cookery before completing a wet and windy expedition. Silver winners worked extremely hard to reach their goals but found it to be a very worthwhile experience. Gold award winners were deservedly recognised but will receive their awards later this year at Buckingham Palace from a member of the Royal family. Members of the CCF were then given their basic army certificates.

Outgoing Senior Master Mr Richard Mannix stepped up on stage to commend pupils and Houses who have behaved exceptionally this year. The Bevan Trophy is awarded to the House who were awarded the most excellence slips per pupil. In total, 3,863 excellence slips were awarded to pupils in Years 9 to 13. Skipwith came in 3rd place with 9.08 slips per pupil, last year’s winners Everett came 2nd with 11.02 while Orchard claimed the top prize with 11.70. The Graham Vick Lower School Trophy went to the Olympians who edged the Titans by just one more excellence slip per person.

Star performers across the College were Joseph Perry (Olympians, 41), Toby Gorringe (Titans, 41), Duncan Eglinton (Titans, 45), Joshua O’Hare (Olympians, 46), Will Bailey (Y9, 35), Kieran Leach (Y10, 51) and Freddy Ellis (Y11, 22).

Next, Director of Music Mr Paul Jones invited pupils who have excelled in the arts to receive commendations, half and full colours. A full list of winners can be viewed here. The Neilson Trophy, which combines the results of the inter-House Drama, Art and Music competitions, was won by Orchard House. Head of House Charlie Hancock was delighted to receive the trophy.

Director of Sport Mr Austin Kersey summarised the exploits of pupils in summer sports rowing, cricket and tennis. Our rowers’ successes have been well documented, particularly the medal-winning crews at National Schools’. Cricketers Matt Dalrymple and Miles Bridgeman put in exceptional individual performances, with best innings of 112 and 79 respectively. In tennis, Marcus Hillman and Laurenz Class made progress in the national ‘Road to Wimbledon’ competition while the College reached previously unchartered territory in the AEGON Championships. A full list of colours and award winners in tennis and cricket can be viewed here.

Rugby awards were handed out before Christmas but Alex Collis and Bodie Deane received their rugby badges. Girls’ Sport Captain Sophie Arnold was given another special mention for her outstanding contribution to sport at Shiplake. She has been an absolute credit to the College throughout her two years. Eleanor Waite has been appointed as Sophie’s successor for next year.

The results of all remaining inter-House events  were revealed, with all points contributing towards the Baldry Trophy for all House sport. To cap a remarkable year for the House, this was also won by Orchard.

Deputy Headmaster Mr Rob Jones invited newly elected prefects to collect their badges and ties from the Headmaster. Congratulations to Yeem Chanthanawan (Head of College), Daniel DiGiulio, Freddie Ireland, Anthony Miarli, Charles Marsden, Will Janes, George Lawley, Sam Hallatt, Phillip Green, Charles Galligan, Tom Harman and Emma Haynes (Deputy Head of College) who will all be prefects next year. Emma Haynes also becomes Deputy Head Chapel Warden, and she joined Head Chapel Warden Barney Aldridge on stage to receive their gowns.

The final part of the service allowed pupils to bid farewell to leaving teachers, which culminated in a standing ovation for Richard Mannix.

Congratulations to all award winners and to Orchard House for their resounding and consistent successes in House events this year. 

Mrs Pearson Awarded Camel Cup

The Camel Cup is awarded annually by the Senior Common Room to a new member of staff who has made an exceptional impression on the College across a range of domains.

As the 2012-13 winner, Mr Jack Caine had the honour, and pressure, of choosing this year’s winner. With so many new teachers making such a significant impression in their first year at Shiplake, Mr Caine had a very tough task. After much deliberation, the Camel Cup was awarded to Mrs Sian Pearson.

Drama teacher Mrs Pearson has quickly become a hugely popular member of the Shiplake community, amongst pupils, staff and parents. Since day one, she has thrown herself into every aspect of College life. The enthusiasm and confidence which Sian displays suggests she has been here a great deal longer than 10 months.

Mr Caine commented: “As well as being part of an academic department that has extensive co-curricular commitments, Mrs Pearson has also been involved in the Duke of Edinburgh’s award, Sport, Welsh House and many other things. She has also put what is best for the boys in front of her personal interests and ambitions. Most importantly, she has done all of this with a smile on her face, and nothing is ever too much for her.”

Congratulations Mrs Pearson, whose camel impression is fitting of a very worthy winner!