In their final year at Shiplake, all boys move to College House where they are granted greater independence, as a reflection of their increasing maturity. Consequently, they are encouraged to take greater responsibility for themselves, both academically and socially. This unique element of the House system at Shiplake College provides a valuable stepping stone between school and university or work. Boys continue their association with their original Houses, helping with duties and playing an active role in the various inter-House competitions.
Almost 80 pupils call College House their home. The Year 13 House has single study bedrooms for boarders and there are shared study rooms for day boys (where flexi-boarding facilities are also available). The House community has access to a large common room and kitchens on each floor. There is also a laundry room as pupils take care of their own washing and ironing (hopefully in that order!).
Boarders can enjoy a multitude of weekend activities including trips into town, big tree climbing, laser quest, go-karting and paint-balling. A substantial amount of time in the evenings is spent doing prep, but there is also time for other activities as well as relaxing and socialising.
Members of the House regularly hold social events, often in conjunction with the girls in Gilson. In the summer, the barbecue is brought out at every opportunity and sporting rivalries are put to the test as the College leavers take on the staff cricket team. A ‘girls v boys’ netball match is also popular. The academic year finishes with a real flourish on the last night with the Leavers’ Ball.
Housemaster: Mr Jonathan Ralph
Mr Jonathan Ralph joined Shiplake in September 2018 after a short stint at Bradfield College, and a total of 24 years at Rossall School in Lancashire and West Buckland School in North Devon. He has, twice, been a Housemaster and has also served as Head of English and Head of Sixth Form.
Mr Ralph is married to Siân and they have three grown up children, Jamie, Madeleine and Catherine. Mr and Mrs Ralph, who works at LVS Ascot School, live on site with Dylan, their labrador.
Mr Ralph’s extra-curricular passions are sport, principally cricket, as well as music and drama; he coaches the U13B rugby and U14A cricket teams, and will sing with any choir or band that will have him. Mr Ralph has been a Liverpool supporter for over 40 years.
After two years as Orchard Housemaster, Mr Ralph became College Housemaster in September 2021.
Deputy Housemaster: Mr Jack Cooper
Mr Jack Cooper, also Head of Geography, has previously been a tutor in Everett House and Deputy Housemaster of Skipwith House.
Mr Cooper joined Shiplake College in 2018, having previously lived in Plymouth, High Wycombe and Herefordshire. He has been teaching since 2014 and before that worked with fossils.
Mr Cooper coaches senior boys’ and girls’ football, rugby and tennis. In his spare time he enjoys surfing, fossil collecting and helping out on his partner’s farm.
Matron: Mrs Julie Knight
Mrs Knight has worked at Shiplake since 2002, previously as Matron for Welsh and Orchard Houses.
She has an office in the House and is there to provide care and concern as well as the odd piece of spare games kit whenever the necessity arises. Matron also keeps the boys fed with extra sausage rolls and hot dogs.
Her hobbies are sewing and ballroom dancing. Julie is married with two children and three grandchildren.
College House Duty Staff
Please note that the College Management Information System is expected to hold current contact information for parents and guradians, 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.
Mobile telephone numbers for all pupils will be held by the Housemaster.