Pupils in Year 7 and Year 8 belong to our Lower School. The Lower School opened in 2009, originally with 18 pupils. Since then, the House has gone from strength to strength and, from September 2023, will be home to almost one hundred pupils. Girls will join Year 7 for the first time and will make up more than 40% of the year group.
The house has a thriving and bustling environment which provides the perfect stepping stone between primary or prep school and Year 9. Our Lower School team has instilled a wholly inclusive philosophy, allowing all pupils the opportunity to sample everything that Shiplake has to offer.
Lower School pupils gain a solid grounding across the academic curriculum and are introduced to a whole host of co-curricular activities. The Lower School fields multiple teams in our major sports, allowing all to experience the honour of representing their College. Every pupil participates fully in the House drama productions, learns an instrument, and sings in the Lower School Choir. There are also many inter-house competitions where the three Lower School Houses - Titans, Olympians, and Spartans, battle for pride and prestige!
To accommodate growing numbers and in readiness to welcome girls into Year 7 from September 2023, the Lower School relocated to the Stableyard in September 2022. In addition to new toilets and changing rooms for girls and boys, there is a new kitchen and a large Common Room for socialising. Prep may take place in here or in one of the nearby classrooms. The second phase of this development will take place soon, which includes a new classroom block to complete the quad and then landscaping of the exterior area.
Lower School is run by a dedicated leadership team and enthusiastic tutors. The accessible and friendly staff endeavour to create a fun, welcoming and happy community, built through mutual respect and consideration of others. This environment makes Lower School a great place to be, allowing each and every pupil to thrive.
Mr Tom Crisford is the Head of Lower School, assisted by Deputy Heads of Lower School, Miss Stephanie Lane and Mrs Gina Partridge, and Lower School Matron, Mrs Henri Bonser.
Head of Lower School: Mr Tom Crisford
Mr Crisford teaches PE and is also a former Head of Rowing at Shiplake; he maintains a keen interest in the sport and keeps his hand in by coaching younger crews.
Mr Crisford lives in Caversham with his wife Rachel, son Samuel and daughter Daisy. His main hobby is road cycling, in which he enjoys competing as much as possible.
Mr Crisford has been a member of the Shiplake staff since 2003 and has previously worked as Assistant Housemaster of Skipwith. He has been Head of Lower School since 2017.
Deputy Head of Lower School: Miss Stephanie Lane
Miss Lane will be starting September 2023 as one of Lower School's Deputy Heads having previously been a tutor within the House.
Deputy Head of Lower School: Miss Gina Partridge
Mrs Partridge, like Miss Lane, has been a tutor previously within Lower School and will now be assisting the House as one of the new Deputy Heads.
Matron: Mrs Henri Bonser
Mrs Henri Bonser has been Matron of Lower School since January 2020. Her role is to assist with the supervision and care of the boys during the day and to help new boys settle into Lower School.
Before joining Lower School, Mrs Bonser was one of our Receptionists and a part-time Matron in Burr House. She lives locally and has three children.
Lower School Tutors
Please note that the College Management Information System is expected to hold current contact information for parents and guardians, including address, home and mobile telephone numbers and email.
If your information changes during the year, please inform the Housemaster and the College Office, as soon as possible.
Please also be aware that the mobile telephone numbers for all pupils will be held by the Housemaster.