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Below are some of the questions prospective parents may have if you are considering boarding at Shiplake College for your son or daughter. If any of your questions are not answered here, please do not hesitate to contact the Registrar, Mrs Esther Pasmore, on 0118 9405 221 or email [email protected].

How many boarders are there to a room?

This depends on the age of the pupil. Boarders in Years 9 to 11 tend to share rooms of 3 or 4. Most of the Year 12 boys have a room of their own or share with one other student, whilst all Year 13 boys have their own room in College House. All girl weekly and full boarders in Gilson House have a room of their own, with a a few double rooms allocated for flexi-boarders.

Does Shiplake offer weekly boarding?

Yes, weekly boarding is available from Year 9. Weekly boarders are entitled to stay up to six nights per week and can go home on Fridays if they have no Saturday commitments at College.

Does Shiplake offer flexi boarding?

Yes, flexi-boarding is available from Year 9 and pupils who pay this fee can stay for two nights per week. Pupils wishing to stay more than two nights a week should switch to being a weekly or full boarder and pay the associated fee.

Day pupils are welcome to stay overnight at the College for a fee charged by the night, if there is bed space available. Pupils may stay for up to two nights a week through this arrangement.

More information can be found on our flexi-boarding page.  

What happens at weekends?

After Saturday games and sports fixtures, pupils are able to return to the House to relax or go home if a weekly boarder.

We have a dedicated Boarders' Activities Co-ordinator who oversees full boarders' weekends. Examples include visits to London attractions, trips to sporting events, cultural visits to historic buildings, ice skating, cinema trips, go-karting and bowling.

Do many boarders stay in at the weekend?

Approximately 30 boarders stay in College over the weekend. Some weekly boarders and day pupils take advantage of the programme of weekend activities and accompany full boarders on the trips and events.

What are exeat weekends?

There are five weekends a year where there are no sports fixtures or School commitments. All boarders go home to parents or guardians on the Friday night, to get a well earned break.

If a pupil requires accommodation over an exeat weekend, this can be arranged for a small fee.

Is the College open over the weekend?

Many of our facilities are open for boarders including the Sports Centre and the Music practice rooms. The swimming pool will be opened and supervised at certain times during the Summer Term.

Is the College open over the holidays?

On the whole the College is closed during the holidays, though the main school office remains open for most of the year. During the Easter and Summer Holidays, the boarding houses are used by Ardmore Language School and for our own residential rowing camps.

When do boarders have to return to School?

The boarding Houses open at 7.00pm on Sunday evenings (or the last day of a holiday), and pupils are expected to have returned by 9.00pm. However, pupils may return by 7.45am on a Monday morning, as long as this is arranged with the Housemaster in advance.

Do I have to bring my own duvet, pillow and bedding?

Yes. Boarders are required to bring their own duvet, pillow and bed linen. 

Does my child need a laptop/device?

Each pupil is asked to purchase a Microsoft Surface Pro via the school in advance of joining and this will be issued shortly before the first day at Shiplake. These devices form part of a comprehensive education toolkit and can be used either as a laptop or as a tablet, which ensures pupils can access learning in an individual and flexible way, all while providing a secure and robust learning environment.

There is further information about our digital strategy and the device specifications on our Uniform and Equipment page.

Access to the internet… How is it monitored?

Each pupil is given their own e-mail address and an account which can be accessed on all computers and mobile devices. There is Wi-Fi throughout the College which is monitored and switched off at night. Parents are urged not to provide pupils with unlimited data packages on their mobile phones because we cannot monitor the content or extent of their screen time.

Laptops should be registered with the Housemaster. To be used at school, they must be configured for use on the network. No games or DVDs are to be played on them during school hours without permission.

Should my child have a mobile phone?

We have an 'eyes up' culture at Shiplake and the use of mobile phones is prohibited during the school day. Boarders are welcome to use their mobile phones in house at specific times depending on their year group. All pupils are provided with a safe in which they are asked to store their mobile phones, and other valuables, during the school day. Prefects are allowed to use their mobile phones with discretion. 

How is work supervised?

There is an allocated time for evening prep for boarders, where pupils work in their rooms or in the prep rooms. Staff on duty in the evenings are always members of the academic staff, and are on hand to help out with any difficulties. During the course of the evening, teachers visit each student, offering help and ensuring an appropriately studious atmosphere.

Is there an airport transfer service?

Unfortunately there is no airport service running at the moment as the arrival/departure times and dates vary so much. International boarders are asked to coordinate taxis to and from the airport using one of our trusted taxi services.

Are boarding students required to have a guardian?

The College requires every pupil whose parents are resident abroad has a suitable guardian living in this country. Where parents find it difficult to nominate a relative or good acquaintance for this purpose we suggest they refer to the AEGIS website at as a starting point.

How do I find out more about boarding and the individual Houses?
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