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

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 boarders in Gilson House have a room of their own.

Does Shiplake offer weekly boarding?

Yes. Approximately half of the boarders will go home after College commitments on a Saturday afternoon.

Does Shiplake offer flexi boarding?

Yes. Any day boy or girl is welcome to stay overnight at the College for a fee charged by the night. Pupils may stay for up to two nights a week through this arrangement, but pupils wishing to stay more than two nights a week should switch to being a weekly or full boarder and pay the boarding fee. 

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

What happens at weekends?

Once school commitments are complete on a Saturday (including games and sports fixtures), pupils are able to return to the House to relax or go home if a weekly boarder. Houses often arrange cultural and social events on Saturday evenings, sometimes with local girls’ schools, or pupils may choose to go out for dinner with a family member.

On Sundays there is a programme of trips, designed to appeal to a wide variety of boarders. 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 30-40 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.

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.

When do boarders have to return to School?

All pupils are expected to be back by 7.00pm on Sunday (or the last day of a holiday), for a quiet time preparing for the coming week. 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?

Each boarding house provides access to five or six computers, linked to the school's network giving access to the internet, emails and secure storage areas for homework, coursework, research and communication. Pupils also have access to computers in the Thinking Space until 8.00pm.

All pupils, however, are strongly encouraged to bring to College their own laptop or tablet device.

Access to the internet… How is it monitored?

Boarders can connect to the school network system via House computers or their personal laptops, tablet devices or mobile phones. Naturally the College blocks unsuitable websites, but it is expected that pupils ‘manage’ their use of the internet and self-restrict access to gaming and social websites. Pupils may be told to connect to a separate network system that restricts such sites if a pupil proves unable to manage this effectively.

Should my child have a mobile phone?

The use of mobile phones is prohibited during the School day. Boarders are welcome to use their mobile phones in house, after School commitments are complete. All pupils are provided with a safe in which they are asked to store their mobile phones, and other valuables, during the School day. Prefect 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?

Our matrons co-ordinate the pupils’ journeys to airports and arrange taxis for them. They try to get pupils to share taxis to reduce the cost. The cost will be added to the school bill, if taxis are booked this way.

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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