Below are some of the questions prospective parents may have if you are considering 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 boys and girls are there at Shiplake?

As of September 2018, there are a record 478 pupils at Shiplake College. This includes 52 girls in Years 12 and 13, making up over 25% of the Sixth Form.

How many day pupils and boarders are there at Shiplake?

As of September 2018, there are 167 boarders. This equates to 40% of those in Years 9 to 13 and 35% of the whole School population.

What proportion of pupils live overseas?

We currently have 29 boys and girls who live overseas – making up 6% of the school roll. These pupils come from 18 different countries, including the USA, Russia, Europe, the Far East, and South Africa. Many of the overseas students have English as a first language, with a small number requiring lessons for English as a Second Language.

What is the average class size?

In the Lower School (Years 7 and 8) class sizes do not exceed 13. In the Junior School (Years 9 to 11), class sizes are normally around 15. For A Level subjects, the class sizes are normally up to about 10 pupils, but not exceeding 16 for the more popular subjects.  

What time does school start and finish?

Registration is at 8.00am. Day pupils finish at 5.00pm, and are invited to enjoy Supper before school buses depart at 6.15pm (pupils in Years 7 and 8 can finish at 4.30pm if preferred, although not recommended). Boarders’ prep ends at 8.15pm (8.30pm for Year 9 pupils). On a Saturday, pupils may go home after they have finished any school commitments they may have. Click here to view the structure of the day.

Will my child require Learning Development?

Shiplake has, in the past, enjoyed an excellent reputation for providing for pupils with specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia. Whilst the numbers accepted with some form of learning need have reduced in recent years, we believe the quality of our provision has increased. In our experience, many pupils who receive some form of learning support in their current schools find that their needs can be effectively met within the mainstream classes at Shiplake without the need for any additional support. If, after the assessment day, it is felt your child may benefit from some additional support at Shiplake College he or she will be offered a Core place. Please note that additional fees are required for Core places. Current rates are available on the school website fees Page.

What proportion of pupils receive Learning Development?

Learning Development lessons are provided to pupils in Year 9 and above who have been identified as having a special learning need and have been offered ‘Core’ places. Core pupils will receive three hour-long lessons a week of Learning Development. About 18% of the College receive this form of additional support. 

Is there Saturday school?

There is no school on a Saturday morning for pupils in Years 7 to 13, however, they may be asked to attend a Saturday morning sporting fixture or open morning. 

Is there a school bus service available?

Yes. Shiplake runs nine bus routes to and from the College on Mondays to Fridays, and to the College on Saturday mornings for those in Years 9 and above. Please note that the cost of transport will be in addition to the published school fees. Further details here.

What universities do students apply to?

Around 70% of pupils who left in 2018 went on to a range of universities, increasingly embarking on high quality degree courses at top universities. More details about our University and Careers guidance here.

Is the school a religious foundation?

Shiplake’s religious affiliation is Church of England but we welcome pupils of all faiths. There is an extensive programme of worship, very often provided in the neighbouring Parish Church. The Chaplain, whose role is purely pastoral, is always available to any member of the College community. Further details about the spiritual life of the College

Is there any assistance with those who can’t afford the fees?

As a registered charity, the Governors of Shiplake College are committed to broadening access to the school by offering to eligible parents/guardians means-tested financial support with the payment of school fees. Such support is known as a Bursary and these may be awarded in the form of a discount on tuition fees payable, depending on the financial, compassionate or other pertinent circumstances of applicants. However, as a relatively small school the available funds are limited. Please contact the College Bursary for further details and an application form.

Applications for bursaries should be submitted by 30 September each year. Late applications will not be considered as awards are determined before offers of places are made.

Are there scholarships available?

Academic scholarships at Year 7 and Year 9 are awarded based upon exceptional results in the assessment papers and a corroborating report from the current school. Academic scholarships are available at Year 12 and are awarding following an assessment day in March with candidates sitting a written test in a chosen subject.

All Year 7 and Year 9 prospective pupils are eligible to apply for a Music or Sport (Rugby or Cricket) scholarship, with Art and Drama scholarships also available at Year 9. Candidates should apply with a recommendation from their current school. Pupils who achieve more than one scholarship will be a awarded an All Round scholarship.

Is there are a fee discount with a scholarship?

A scholarship normally carries 10% remission of fees, unless otherwise stated, with Exhibition Awards available at 5%. If financial circumstances warrant it, parents should simultaneously apply for a means-tested bursary and the award may be increased.

How much are the fees?

Click to view the fees for the current year.

What is included in the fees?

Fees are charged termly in advance and are inclusive of all the normal maintenance and recreational requirements of each pupil. Also included in the fees are: Academic lessons and text books; sports coaching; 2 meals a day and snacks (plus breakfast for boarders); laundry (not day pupils); pastoral support from Housemaster and Tutor; medical cover; a full time Chaplaincy; access to ICT and the internet; a 45 acre riverside site for outdoor activities; wide range of extra-curricular activities; concerts and plays in the Tithe Barn and Sports Hall; music rehearsal facilities; The Thinking Space; transport to matches, museums and plays (if mandatory part of the curriculum); accommodation for private study; careers advice; Personal Accident Insurance; House Subscriptions; Old Viking Membership.

We make every effort to ensure our fees are as close to 'all-inclusive' as possible but there will inevitably be some additional charges added to the bill. Please see the fees page for further details. 

Do Shiplake boys meet girls while they are school?

We run many activities and socials with a number of girls’ schools including Queen Anne’s School (Caversham), Cranford House School (Moulsford) and The Abbey School (Reading). 

Can my child receive instrumental or vocal lesson?

Yes. For an additional fee pupils may receive individual music lessons in a range of woodwind, brass and string instruments. Piano, vocal, drum and electric, bass or classical guitars lessons are also available.

In addition, our ‘music for all’ policy allows every pupil in Years 7 and 8 to enjoy free lessons on a range of orchestral instruments, with all achieving Grade 1 by the end of Year 8. Year 7 and 8s will become part of the Lower School Orchestra and Lower School choir and consequently play a key part in the termly College music concerts. 

479 pupils currently attending the College
We have had such a consistently positive experience at every touchpoint – from registration, to joining, to the rest!
Mother of Year 9 Pupil