Throughout the year, teachers encourage their pupils to display the characteristics of the Shiplake Seven, such as being curious, motivated and creative. It is important for the teachers to display these qualities themselves so the Music Department launched The Symphonic Challenge, giving staff the chance to learn a musical instrument they may otherwise not have access to. The 'Music for All' programme had been running successfully in the Lower School for many years, with Year 7 and 8 boys being given the opportunity to learn a new instrument. This was now extended to the Shiplake staff - both teachers and members of the support team. From the Clarinet to the Cello and the Flute to the French Horn, the variety created a veritable cacophony of amateur excitement!
Music teacher Mr Jones said: “As well as embracing the Headmaster’s No Risk, No Reward mantra, at the start of every year we encourage all pupils to display the characteristics of The Shiplake Seven. Over twenty colleagues have taken the opportunity to learn an orchestral instrument for the year with one of our dedicated team of visiting musicians, it will also be a great experience for the pupils to learn alongside their teachers and embody The Shiplake Seven". Both pupils and staff worked towards achieving their grade 1 exam and performing at the Shiplake Summer Concert.
Introduced at the end of 2016, the Headmaster's decision to ban mobile phones put Shiplake College in the national spotlight. Banned during the day on College grounds, pupils are encouraged to interact with one another face-to-face rather than from behind a five-inch screen. This blanket rule and the liberating effects it has had have become a source of local and national interest and discussion; first published in the Henley Standard, the story was picked up by the Daily Mail. It has since been discussed on TALK Radio, and then on BBC 4’s Today programme. In February 2017, Headmaster Mr Gregg Davies took live to the sofa on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, to discuss the issue.
A new VIII boat arrived in the Boat House. Mr Currie was joined by all the rowing coaches and crews of varying ages for the boat-naming ceremony on Wednesday 22 March. The decision to name the boat for Headmaster Mr Davies had been decided without his knowledge, and so it was a total surprise for him as he walked down by the river that the ceremony was taking place! Mr Currie explained the significance of the boat-naming and the decision behind it:
"It is traditional to name a boat to bring it good luck on high seas. Hopefully, we won’t actually experience any high seas whilst rowing on the Thames – although the forecast for the Schools' Head tomorrow (Thursday 23 March) doesn’t look too great! At Shiplake, we have a great tradition for naming boats after those who have had a significant input into the life of the Boat Club and the rowers. The boats will be in the Boat House and up and down the river for years and years to come, so it really is a big decision what to name them, and very meaningful. It is very fitting today that we are able to honour our current Headmaster in this way. Gregg Davies has been an avid supporter of rowing at Shiplake, certainly in my time, and beyond that. The sport is incredibly popular here and we are highly fortunate to have such fantastic equipment and location. Mr Davies has shaped Shiplake and made it the welcoming place that it is today, and I’m really honoured to name this boat for him.’ Mr Davies christened the boat with champagne, inviting good luck and safe travels."
Also in 2017:
- The College’s 1st VIII rowers made it through to the semi-finals of the Princess Elizabeth Cup at Henley Royal Regatta but unfortunately lost out to Radley College by just one length.
- There was great pride as two former Shiplake pupils Will Satch (07O) and Nick Jones (81W) both received MBEs as part of the New Year Honours.
-Year 13 pupil Sunny Pong came sixth in the National Association of Teachers of Dancing British national championships in Blackpool.
- Our 360° Immersive Virtual Reality Video was produced and released.