Tuesday, 29th July 2014

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!

Monday, 28th July 2014

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.

Friday, 25th July 2014

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.



Thursday, 24th July 2014

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

Wednesday, 23rd July 2014

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 marketing@shiplake.org.uk