1998 is a significant one in our School's timeline as it was the first year we accepted girls into our sixth form on a permanent basis. Unbeknownst to many, a few girls had been permitted on occasion to study for their A-Levels at the School since the days of J D Eggar but in 1998 we opened our doors to girls officially and have not looked back since!
Whole School 1998
The Henley Standard said: “After 39 years of male-only dominance, Shiplake College has welcomed girls into their midst. The six teenagers joined the sixth form at the beginning of this term. "We all admire the girls for their pioneering spirit and their determination to settle in," said their tutor, Chris Alcock. The college is convinced that the girls will enhance its artistic, musical and theatrical life. Mr. Alcock and housemaster, Peter Gould have visited co-educational schools, trained staff and helped with the design of the girls study facilities.”
Our First Six Girls
The rugby boys went on tour all the way to Australia! The trip was described as a great success by coach John Gayton. The 1st XV squad and their three coaches arrived in Brisbane via a Hong Kong stopover. On arrival at the Gold Coast the team trained on the beach and at the Palm Beach Rugby Club before their games against local schools. As well as training, the squad of 20 and their coaches visited SeaWorld, a koala sanctuary, a colony of half a million fruit bats, a rain forest and went whitewater rafting. For many however, the highlight of the tour was snorkelling and scuba-diving off the Great Barrier Reef during the stay at Cairns. The Tour Programme is available to view in our online archive.
The College produced a double bill of drama to entertain audiences at the Tithe Barn Theatre. Head of IT, Charly Lowndes, dramatised his own, already published, short story, The Knight Who Lost His Marbles for its stage premiere. The play looked ahead to a future without petrol where a double headed, icy-blue scaled dragon terrorised local inhabitants. Many of the audience will have been more familiar with the plot of Chris Alcock's production of Lord of the Flies. These were two of many successful productions this year, including a musical spectacular of Oliver!
Also in 1998:
- Pupils were lucky enough to have been given a drum masterclass by Status Quo drummer, Geoff Rich. His visit was reported in the Henley Standard.
- Olympic Oarsman Ben Hunt-Davis (90W)) returned to School to see a boat named after him. The boat had already been successful as the J16 Crew had just returned from winning medals at the National Schools' Rowing Championships.
- Shiplake College fought off fierce competition to take its place alongside some of the most prestigious schools in the country after being accepted by the Headmasters and Headmistresses Conference (HMC) membership, which acts as a ‘rubber stamp’ for excellence.