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Practical information for parents.

Shiplake Vocabulary
Term Explanation
Check Also known as registration. Takes place at 8.00am each morning, at the start of each lesson and during the lesson or tutor period straight after lunch. Boarders' evening check is at 7.00pm
Common Room Usually where check takes place, also somewhere for pupils to relax during lunch and after sport/activities and, for boarders, after prep time
Davies Centre The College has extensive rowing facilities and in 2020 the Davies Centre was opened to house the College’s fleet of rowing boats, as well as a fitness suite, an indoor archery and rifle range, a two-storey climbing wall and storage for other watersports, CCF and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award equipment
Excellence / Infraction Points Excellence points are awarded to recognise excellent conduct, academic work or endeavour. Infraction points are used to record missed deadlines or negative behaviour. Both are awarded on a scale of 1-3 points. See the Rewards and Sanctions Policy
EPQ Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a qualification, usually undertaken in Year 12, that leads to UCAS points and can aid university applications. 
Exeat A weekend when the College closes after lessons on a Friday and re-opens on Sunday evening meaning no sport or activities during this time. There is one exeat each half term apart from the second half of the summer term
HoD Head of Department
iSAMS iSAMS is the school’s secure management information system (MIS) which houses all the data about pupils. 
John Turner Building Location of the music, art, photography and learning development departments and the Lecture Theatre and Thinking Space
LDev Learning Development; the department that provides tailored small-group learning support
OVR Old Viking Room, located in Skipwith House
Parent Portal The parent portal is a service which provides parents secure access to the data held in iSAMS and reports, examination timetables and examination results
Prep Room Where pupils are able to do their homework (prep) quietly, and day pupils will have deskspace and a locker. These are often classrooms within the Houses
PSHEE Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education
PULSE Personal Understanding, Learning Skills, Enrichment. Part of the Year 12 timetable from and developed in order to facilitate the academic and personal core skills in Shiplake Sixth Form pupils in the form of an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) or a Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE)
SCR Senior Common Room, also known as the staff room
Shiplake Seven A framework of seven characteristics which underpins life at Shiplake. We would like all of our pupils to demonstrate an ability to be: determined, reflective, creative, open-minded, motivated, independent, curious. See this page for our definitions
Thinking Space A creative learning space designed to foster and encourage creativity, collaboration and independence


Who's Who?

Senior Leadership Team (SLT)


Mr Tyrone Howe
Mrs Sally Elliott
Deputy Head Pastoral
Mr Paul Jones
Deputy Head Academic
Mrs Kat Green
Director of External Relations

Housemasters and Housemistress 


Mr Tom Crisford
Lower School (Years 7-8)

Other Senior Staff 


Mr Andy Dix
Assistant Head, Staff Development and Community Outreach
Mrs Emma Farrell
Assistant Head, Sixth Form
Mrs Judit Coulehan
Director of Learning Development
Mr Sam Shaw
Assistant Head, Learning and Enrichment
Mr Dan Bradley
Assistant Head, Co-curricular
Ms Fiona Dunn
Assistant Head, Pastoral

Pupil Code of Conduct Overview

As in any area of society where a group of people must live or work together, a code of conduct is necessary to protect the safety and well-being of all members of that community.

  • Pupils will treat others with respect and courtesy at all times
  • Pupils will treat College property and belongings, and the property and belongings of others with respect and consideration
  • Pupils will work hard and give their best in order to make the most of opportunities available to them at Shiplake
  • Pupils agree to abide by the rules of the College as laid down in the policies, documents and procedures adhered to by the College. The policies are reissued and amended from time to time

These guiding principles should be applied more specifically in House. Pupils should be kind to each other, look out for each other and take pride in themselves and their surroundings. For example, pupils must not drop litter in House or in any area of the school grounds. The Shiplake ‘Pupil Code of Conduct’ and the College policy on ‘Behavioural Expectations, Disciplines and Rewards’ can be viewed in their entirety here. These policy documents, alongside the Parent Contract (Terms and Conditions) form the basis for each pupil’s offer and acceptance of a place at Shiplake College. The full Uniform and Equipment Guides are available on the College website:

House Duties

Everyone is responsible for keeping the House tidy. Specific daily duties include litter monitoring, tidying the kitchen and tidying the day room. In addition to the daily responsibilities, there are additional House duties, Years 12 and 13 supervise these duties and are responsible for explaining what is required of each pupil at the start of each term.

Sixth Form pupils work closely with the Duty Tutor and Housemaster throughout the day and evening to ensure the House runs smoothly and that all year groups are able to work and socialise in an environment in which they feel comfortable. Duties include:

  • Ensuring everyone goes to breakfast (boarders)
  • Making sure the House is cleared five minutes before lessons, chapel or assembly
  • Being present in the House during break and lunchtime, ensuring everyone leaves promptly for lessons
  • Maintaining a presence in House between the end of lessons and the start of games
  • Ensuring everyone goes to supper
  • Helping the Tutor to ensure prep runs quietly and smoothly
  • Ensuring the year group on duty clears up the kitchen
  • Ensuring all boarders adhere to the correct bedtimes
  • Supervising the tidying of the kitchen and day rooms by the year groups on duty
  • Closing windows and turning off the lights in day rooms, washrooms and kitchen

School Buses

Several bus routes run to and from the College on weekdays. Pupils can also use the bus service to travel to Shiplake on Saturday mornings. There is also a weekly bus, ideal for weekly boarders, that runs from West London to Shiplake on Sundays and Mondays and returns on Friday evenings.

Routes, timetables, costs and application forms are available at Cancellation requires a term’s notice.

Airport transfers and taxis are available by request which should be directed to the School Secretary, [email protected] or 0118 940 2455.

Public Transport

There is a public bus service that stops outside the College. This is the 800 route run by Arriva, which travels between High Wycombe, Marlow, Henley-on-Thames, Shiplake and Reading. Please check for timetables and costs.

The College is situated within easy reach of Reading, Henley and Shiplake rail stations. Whilst Shiplake is closest to the College, trains stop at this station less frequently and it may be more convenient and time efficient to organise a taxi from Reading Station. A daily bus route to and from Reading Station for pupils is available.

Drop-Off or Pick-Up by Car

Parents and carers are very welcome to drive in and collect pupils from the College. Pupils are expected to arrive and leave College in full uniform and not in sports kit or casual clothes.

It is essential that the very low speed limit is observed for the safety of, not only our staff and pupils, but also the children and pets of staff who live on site.

Pupils may be collected from either of the turning circles (one on the main drive close to Welsh House and one on the back drive close to Gilson House) but these are for picking up and dropping off and not for waiting. The turning circles must be left clear of parked vehicles as this blocks access for other parents and for buses. We request that parking is considerate and that car engines are not left idling while parked.

Parents are requested not to drive beyond the turning circles towards Skipwith House.

If parents are supporting a midweek fixture/event, home or away, then they can of course take their child home afterwards, but please let the Housemaster and team coach know.

Pupils Driving

Only Year 13s are allowed the privilege of driving to the College, but prior permission must be sought from the Head of Sixth Form. There is limited parking available on and around the site for a small weekly charge which goes to our nominated charities. All pupils driving to school hand in their keys to their Housemaster/mistress, who will hand them back at the end of the day (for day pupils) or if a boarder is going home.


Bicycle sheds are available for pupil use adjacent to College House. Pupils must provide their own security devices and it is not recommended that bicycles are stored there overnight.



Day pupils are expected to arrive by 8.00am and the day will begin with ‘check’ in House.

Off-site Appointments

If pupils have an appointment and need to leave school, parents should contact the Housemaster in advance by email. If a pupil leaves before 4.30pm they must sign out at Reception, if after 4.30pm, they must sign out in House. Boarders should alert House staff to any evening appointments on an individual basis.

Boarders must report to the Duty Tutor before leaving the house between 7.15pm and 9.00pm. Pupils must sign out after that time and report back in on their return.


Please notify the Housemaster or Matron as soon as possible if a pupil is staying away from school because of illness.


Please also notify the Housemaster or Matron as soon as possible if a pupil is likely to be late for registration. If a pupil arrives after 8.40am, when lessons begin, they must sign in at Reception first and proceed directly to their lesson.

Planned Absence

Clearly, school attendance is extremely important to educational achievement and absence from school is detrimental to your child’s education. He or she will be missing important educational activities including teacher-directed presentations, class discussions, hands-on activities, group work, and other lessons including games which cannot be ‘made up’. Absence on a Saturday will mean that your child will be missing scheduled games sessions, training and/or sports matches. School sports fixtures are a fundamental element of life at Shiplake, and extremely important for your child’s personal development. To be selected for a team is a great honour, and being absent from this should not be taken lightly. Whole school open mornings are also compulsory for all pupils if asked to attend to represent the College to prospective families.

There is a Leave of Absence Request application form on the Parent Portal for planned absence in exceptional circumstances during term time. This form should be completed, at least 7 days in advance of the proposed period of absence, by the parent with whom the child normally resides. This application will be reviewed by the Headmaster.

Please understand that this request permits a pupil to be excused from school and having the absence marked as authorised. However, he or she will be responsible for making up missed work including all prep and tests within a reasonable time frame upon return. As a general rule, teachers are not required to provide work prior to an extended absence, and it is the pupil’s responsibility to contact the teacher promptly to make arrangements for completing school work they have missed.

Prep Time

Prep is one of the most important times of the day. It is vital that an environment is maintained where everyone is able to concentrate on their work without any interruptions or distractions. Pupils are therefore expected to remain in their study room unless given permission to be elsewhere. Music may only be listened to through headphones, with the permission of the Housemaster or duty staff.

If pupils have already showered after games, then they may have time before the ‘official’ prep period to complete some work. This may help day pupils, without rushing, to complete some more prep before travelling home. It may not be possible to complete all prep at school. Day pupils (and parents) should expect to have some work to complete at home and to use some time in the evenings for study.

The School Day


Time Activity
7.00am Boarders wake up
7.00am - 7.40am Breakfast (Boarders only - day pupils at an additional charge)
8.05am Check/Registration in House
8.20am Chapel, Assembly, Hymn Practice, Communion or Tutor Time. Pupils hand in their phones by this time.


Day Activity Pupils Location
Monday Assembly Years 7-13 Sports Hall
Tuesday Junior Chapel Years 7-9 Parish Church
Wednesday Middle Chapel Year 10-11 Parish Church
Thursday Senior Chapel Years 12-13 Parish Church
Friday Holy Communion One House each week Parish Church


Time Activity
4.45pm - 6.00pm Prep for all pupils. Day pupils will have a supper slot within this period
6.00pm Pick-up for day pupils (sign out in House with duty tutor)
6.00pm - 6.30pm Boarders' supper
6.15pm School buses depart
6.30pm - 7.55pm Boarders' free time - gym sessions, using astro/field, activities programme, etc
8.00pm Check (in House), second prep session begins
9.00pm Year 9-11: quiet time in House, until bedtime routine begins.
Sixth Form: may leave Houses, curfew at 9.30pm (Year 12) or 9.45pm (Year 13)
9.30pm/9.45pm Bedtime routine begins

Please note that Friday evenings are more relaxed for boarders with prep being optional. Often events are run instead.


Pupils Timings
Year 9 Ready by 9.20pm, lights out by 9.30pm
Year 10 Ready by 9.30pm, lights out by 9.40pm
Year 11 Ready by 9.40pm, lights out by 9.50pm
Year 12 and 13 In rooms by 10.00pm. 



Some pupils will require little or no support to thrive in a new school environment, while others will need much more. Shiplake is recognised as a supportive environment with excellent pastoral care. All pupils have access to a wide range of support and advice. The Deputy Head Pastoral is responsible for the pastoral care at the College and assisted by the Assistant Head Pastoral. 

Housemasters and Matrons

Pastoral care at Shiplake is primarily built upon the House system with clear and constant communication between houses, teaching staff and the pastoral team. 

Year 7 and 8 are housed in Lower School a thriving and bustling environment which provides the perfect stepping stone between junior or prep school and Year 9 at Shiplake College. Staff have instilled a wholly inclusive philosophy, allowing all pupils the opportunity to sample everything that Shiplake has to offer.

Pupils in Year 9 and above are assigned to one of five Houses upon joining the College whether as a day pupil or a boarder. Houses are a vital part of the Shiplake community, as members spend so much time with each other and develop a sense of togetherness and team spirit.

Sixth Form girls at Shiplake join Gilson House, a dedicated, modern girls’ house. The House provides modern, purpose-built accommodation for a mixture of day and boarding pupils. Girls are affiliated to one of the five main Houses and may use their common rooms at break or at lunch time as well as being included in their social events and inter-house competition teams.

Each House is run by a Housemaster or Housemistress who is always on hand to offer their support to pupils in all academic, co-curricular, emotional and social domains. They are ably supported by other leadership staff, the House Matron and a dedicated team of tutors.

A significant strength of the College is that House staff take the time to get to know each pupil individually. This allows them to gain an understanding of individual preferences and concerns and offer help where necessary. The pastoral care committee meets regularly to ensure that no pupil slips through the net.


Tutors monitor academic performance, act as pastoral guides, and deal with administration such as activity choices. They are the first port of call for parents’ academic queries. Each tutor has a small group of up to eight pupils, allowing them to get to know each and every tutee on an individual basis. Tutor time is scheduled into the timetable, twice a week.

Each House has a team of tutors who are on hand during all non-teaching times to help with any problems, academic or pastoral, which may arise.


Older pupils or peers can give good advice on how to take full advantage of what is on offer at Shiplake. Sixth Form pupils are progressively trained in how to encourage and support younger pupils and enjoy this responsibility. Prefects raise any pupil concerns at their weekly meetings with the Deputy Head Pastoral. 

Each House has a Year 13 Head of House who is based in College House or Gilson House but has a large presence around the House and is accessible to all pupils for support and advice. They work closely with the Housemaster/mistress to ensure that all the pupils’ needs are being met whilst at Shiplake.

All Year 13 pupils act as House Prefects, meaning they are on duty for one day during the week, helping with the running of the house. Year 12 pupils occasionally act as House Prefects, shadowing and assisting Year 13 with duties if needed.

House Captains

Each House will have a designated House Captain and Deputy House Captain who will liaise with Housemasters, Deputy Housemasters and Matrons and provide a role model and listening ear to any younger pupils. All senior pupils have a responsibility to look after younger members of the community.

Year 12 Mentors

All new joiners will be appointed a mentor when they arrive at the school. The role of a mentor is to make sure their mentee is happy and has all the support they need. Sometimes problems are best shared with other pupils, but if the mentor feels the need to involve the Tutor or Housemaster, they will do so.

Chapel Wardens

The Chapel Warden team comprises specially selected Year 13 pupils who play a part in pastoral support at Shiplake. As well as supporting the Chaplain and undertaking obvious tasks such as handing out hymnbooks, they have a special role in helping, listening to and supporting the rest of us. We have a Head and Deputy Head Chapel Warden and each House appoints Chapel Wardens. Chapel Wardens report to Chaplain with any pastoral concerns.

The Chaplain

The College Chaplain is responsible for leading the weekly chapel services which are held in the morning before the start of academic lessons. Chapel services are split into senior and junior services, with each pupil attending one per week.

The Chaplain’s other main area of responsibility is the pastoral care and welfare of students and staff. This takes many forms such as helping someone worried about a family member who is unwell, helping with bereavement, examination worries and many other difficulties. Often it may just be an informal chat or advice on a problem. The Chaplain is in College every day and is in a unique position as this is not a teaching role and therefore there is no conflict of interest. Pupils can go to the 'Rev's Den' on a drop-in basis at various times through the week.


The College has fully qualified counsellors who visit several times a week. They are not members of staff, any contract is between a family and the counsellor, so they offer a truly independent perspective. They have been supporting our pupils for many years and so are well established and well known as part of our pastoral care system.

Pupils can be referred for counselling via the Medical Wing or at a parent’s request made via House staff. There is a charge for this service which will be added to the bill.

Counselling can be accessed both with regular pre-arranged sessions but also via a drop-in session to which pupils can be directed by House staff. 


The College has appointed Independent Listeners whom pupils may contact directly about personal problems or concerns at school; these people are outside of the staff and those responsible for the leadership and governance of the College. The College does not pay them.

The Independent Listeners will give common-sense advice and can exercise objectivity in responding to concerns and issues raised by pupils. Pupils can access this service by phone or at drop-in sessions which can serve as a triage system for the school counsellors. Pupils will be made aware of how to make contact and the Independent Listener will visit Houses each half term. 

Experience tells us that this service is only occasionally used but it forms an important part of our duty of care to all our pupils, particularly our boarders.


The College has a fully staffed Medical Wing, providing healthcare assessment and treatment to the College community along with health education. Matron, or the evening duty teacher, will be the first port of call for pupils who are ill. They will be assessed and, if deemed necessary, will be sent to the Medical Wing. If a pupil is judged too unwell to be in College then they will be sent home. The Sisters will contact parents accordingly.

The College Medical Officer is a family doctor from the Hart Surgery, York Road, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2DR, 01491 843200. Surgeries for boarders are held on Tuesday and Friday mornings within the school’s Medical Wing. Medical Wing staff liaise with the GP and will organise an appointment at the Hart Surgery if a pupil needs to be seen urgently before the GP is on site again.

Medical Wing Staff




Providing Informed Care

In order to provide the best possible care for your child, it is absolutely essential that we receive their comprehensive medical history via this online form before your child may start at the College. All day pupils are expected to be registered with their local doctor’s practice and to be seen by them if they should become unwell. It is strongly recommended that all weekly and full boarders register with the aforementioned surgery using our NHS Registration Form. By registering with our local doctor, your child may be seen at Hart Surgery or within the school Medical Wing whenever it is required. Any doctor consultations will be recorded in the medical records held at the Hart Surgery. During school holidays your child may visit your local doctor’s practice as a temporary resident thus eliminating the need for re-registering. Should your child have visited any family doctor, Consultant or Allied Medical Professional at any time, it is essential that where appropriate, the Medical Wing is informed to ensure continued and up-to-date medical records.

Please can all parents complete and return all the relevant information as failure to do so will result in your child being unable to access medical care whilst at the College.

Please keep the Medical Wing informed of any change in health or fitness on [email protected], or 0118 940 5233 if you would prefer; as a nursing team we value your involvement. The Medical Wing is open between 7.45am and 5.30pm; if your call is not answered, please leave a message and the Medical Wing staff will call you back as soon as they are available.

Prescribed Medication

If your child is taking prescribed medication (whether long term or for an acute episode), this should be handed immediately to the Sister in the Medical Wing. Some medications are only stored and dispensed from the Medical Wing, these are medication for ADHD e.g. Ritalin and Concerta and any antidepressants. For pupils taking ADHD medication, we need to have an up-to-date letter from the prescribing clinician.

Other prescribed medications may be able to be self-administered after assessment by one of the Sisters to see whether your child is 'Gillick competent' to do this. If they are competent, then a form is signed with a protocol to follow, this includes safe storage of the medication. Please note that prescribed medications must be in the original packaging with the name of your child and dosing information on the container.

Emergency Adrenaline Injectors (Epi-Pen, Emerade and Jext pens)

If your child has a life-threatening allergy requiring an adrenaline injector, then he/she must carry an ‘in date’ pen with them at all times, including when going off site. A spare must be stored with Matron. A pupil without this lifesaving injector may have to be sent home.


Inhalers must be carried by your child at all times. Please make sure that the inhaler is full enough and is in date. These should be taken to away matches or other off-site events.

Over-the-Counter Medication

No medication apart from prescribed medication may be brought into school. Any over-the-counter medication will be stored in the Medical Wing until the end of term. In the event that your child requires medicating, simple 'homely remedies' may be administered, either by house staff or Medical Wing staff according to protocol.

Diarrhoea and Vomiting

In accordance with the NHS England guidelines, pupils who experience either or both of the above symptoms must be collected from College, when requested, by a parent or guardian and should remain away from school for 48 hours after the last episode of illness. Pupils who have become unwell whilst at home must also remain away from school for a 48 hour period after the last episode of illness. Pupils returning before this period has passed will be sent home again.


Physiotherapy is available to all pupils through referral by a doctor. There is a charge for Physiotherapy unless your child is covered by Private Medical Insurance.


The school’s counsellor may be accessed by all school pupils. Please contact the Medical Wing for further details. There is a charge for accessing this service.


All pupils are included in the Routine Childhood Immunisation Programme offered by Oxford Health NHS. This usually takes place in the Spring Term and more information and consent forms will be issued nearer the time. Please give the exact dates of your child’s previous immunisations in the Medical History Questionnaire. Please advise the school Medical Wing of any immunisations that are given outside of the school to enable our records to be updated.


Website, Weekly Bulletin and Messages Home

The College website is updated daily with news and is also a comprehensive resource for parents, pupils and staff regarding policies, academic curriculum, co-curricular opportunities and much more.

The website is also home to the comprehensive College calendar containing all term dates, College events, boarders’ activities, school trips, parent consultation evenings and sports fixtures: The calendar can be filtered according to your interest.

For more details about the sports fixtures including the team, coach, location details and to access future fixture details for your child’s team, please see the dedicated pages of the website:

The Weekly Bulletin is essential reading and is emailed to all parents on a Thursday afternoon. The content of this will vary enormously from week to week and we would urge all parents to make time to digest this crucial information. There is an archive available on the Parent Portal. House staff will often write home with House-specific news and notices.

Email is our favoured method of communicating so please ensure that you inform of us of any change to your contact details by emailing [email protected].

iSAMS and Parent Portal

iSAMS is the school’s secure management information system (MIS) which houses all the data about pupils: contact details, attendance, timetables, excellence/infraction points.

The Parent Portal is a service which provides parents secure access to this information as well as reports, examination timetables and examination results. Parents are sent their Parent Portal login before a child starts at the school. The portal is 100% web based so is accessible from any location. Parents are strongly encouraged to download the iSAMS parents' app to keep abreast of excellence and infraction points awarded and to access reports. The app is downloadable from your usual provider. The school code is ‘SHIP’.

SOCS is the College’s hub for sports fixtures, where parents can view fixture lists, team sheets, start and end times, collection times and results. Parents will be asked to login to SOCS (using the iSAMS Parent Portal login details) to confirm any travel arrangements for their child if they have an away fixture.

Shiplake College is committed to protecting your personal data and working in accordance with all relevant data protection legislation, a copy of our Privacy Notice can be found at

Parents' Conferences

Parents have at least one formal Parents’ Conference per year, detailed in the school calendar. Parents will receive a communication from the College prior to these events to enable them to book a slot to speak to the relevant teacher(s), either face-to-face or remotely. Shiplake uses SchoolCloud to manage the appointment system (accessed via the iSAMS Parent Portal login).

A parent may request a meeting with a member of staff at other times, by making an appointment directly with specific member of staff. This may be conducted by telephone, via Teams or face-to-face.

ICT and Email

Each pupil will be given their own email address and an account which can be accessed on all computers and mobile devices. There is Wi-Fi throughout the College. Pupils in Years 7-9 will explore the effective use of ICT through our bespoke Digital Literacy lessons.

As part of our continual review of the College’s IT provision, the academic year of 2022-23 marked an exciting milestone, with a range of improvements to our digital offering being implemented in our classrooms and beyond as we adopted the Microsoft platform and introduced a standardised device for all pupils.

Social Media

We embrace technology at Shiplake College and most Houses and some of the academic departments are on social media so that you can keep up with their activities, achievements and sports reports. The College uses X (Twitter), Instagram and Facebook.

We advocate responsible use of social media and we have a clear policy setting out guidelines and principles for social networking and a policy against cyber-bullying for the protection of staff and pupils available here: The College will abide by the GDPR Photo Permissions provided by parents when using photos and names of pupils; these can be changed at any time by contacting [email protected]


Pupil safety is our primary concern and for this reason we have a strict policy that visitors must report to Reception to sign in and be issued with a visitor pass. For the safety of your children, visitors are not allowed to be unaccompanied on the school site.

Communication with Staff

There is a phone in each Housemaster’s study and in each academic faculty office. However, most teaching staff spend most of their time teaching or leading activities. Email is our preferred method of contacting teaching staff and so we publish all email addresses on the website:

If a current parent or guardian wishes to raise a query, they are encouraged to use the communication ladder below starting at the lowest level.

Option Contact  
1 Form Tutor/Subject Teacher Acknowledged within one day and replied to within two days during the times 7.00am and 8.00pm
2 Housemaster/Housemistress
3 Deputy Head Pastoral/Academic
4 Headmaster

Parents are requested to email the appropriate member of staff directly or contact the main school office on 0118 940 2455 or [email protected], asking for the query to be dealt with by the appropriate person. Teachers’ email addresses may be found on the Staff Contact List

Please note that there is an ‘email curfew’ and that staff have been directed not to respond to communications between 8.00pm and 7.00am. Replies during weekends and school holiday times may not be actioned within the timeframe above; important emails that require a timely reply during holiday times should be sent to [email protected]

Please be aware that the key priority for teaching staff is to plan, teach and support the pupils in their care. Communication with parents, whilst recognised as important, will not always be a top priority. Please be patient with teachers whilst waiting for responses. If parents do not get a response in a timely manner (see above) please check with the school office to see if the teacher is in school at present, and not away through illness or for another reason.

Contacting Pupils

Should you need to urgently contact your son/daughter during the school day, please contact Matron. Messages will not be conveyed during teaching time, but pupils will have access to their emails at various points during the day. If your son/daughter misuses their mobile phone by contacting you with it during the school day, please support our mobile phone use policy by not responding until after 6.00pm.

Mobile Phones and Wi-Fi

To help our pupils improve their social skills, Shiplake College bans the use of mobile phones during the day from Monday to Friday.

  • All pupils in Years 7–12 hand in phones between 8.00am – 6.00pm (day pupils leaving earlier will be able to gain access via House staff)
  • Boarders (Years 9–11) hand in phones at bedtimes and are given their phones between 7.00am – 8.00am in the morning. They will then be handed back in before morning check. Year 12 and 13 pupils are allowed to keep their phones overnight
  • College Prefects may use phones discreetly for operational purposes only

We continue to review and amend these rules from time to time as appropriate. Mobiles are not covered by the College’s insurance policy.

Wi-Fi is available and monitored and is switched off at night. Parents are urged not to provide pupils with unlimited data packages on their mobile phones because we cannot monitor the content or extent of their screen time.

Communication with Other Parents: The Parents’ Association (PA)

The College is lucky to be supported by an active PA, which organises events to make everyone feel welcome and bring parents together socially to enjoy our special community. All parents are warmly encouraged to attend these, and details are circulated in the Weekly Bulletin and by parent year reps.

The PA does not exist specifically to raise funds for any purpose, other than to ensure its continued activities. Ticketed events will normally be priced at a level to ensure that they break even. It is recognised that events will sometimes generate a profit and that wherever possible any funds will be used for the benefit of the College and community.

As part of the Parents’ Association, the College operates a Year Group Rep system via which parents may raise any issues of a general nature with the College. It is also a way of communicating positive feedback from parents. We encourage parents to volunteer to be their Year Group Rep by contacting [email protected]. The College will only share parents’ contact details with year reps and other parents with consent. Please go to to submit or update your preferences.



At Shiplake, we prepare our youngsters for a world full of uncertainty and opportunity through a rich and varied academic curriculum. We are proud to offer a genuine diversity of subjects and qualifications, which ensures that at every age and stage, all of our pupils study courses that are right for them. At each academic stage, the curriculum is adjusted and reviewed to suit the developing needs of pupils. A summary of what pupils and parents should expect is available below, with further subject-specific information available on the academic department pages of the website.

Pupils in the Lower School follow an exciting and innovative curriculum which was specially designed by the College to allow maximum exploration of subjects and curriculum areas whilst incorporating the latest educational research. A solid foundation is created for pupils as they move up to Year 9 and consider their GCSE subject choices. The Lower School has mixed-ability sets in each year group with maths, English and science sets often streamed by ability. Pupils may easily move between sets depending on assessments results and their progress.

The Year 9 curriculum is designed to ensure that all pupils are well-prepared to begin their GCSE courses. In view of the varying academic experiences of pupils progressing from our Lower School and arriving from various prep schools, teaching aims to bring everyone up to an even level of understanding. Throughout Year 9, pupils are given guidance to identify their strengths and skills. Towards the end of the year, we offer wide-ranging support and advice as pupils select the subjects they wish to continue studying at GCSE. Parents are invited to engage in the process and support pupils with their decision-making; there is a GCSE Subject Fair for pupils and parents.

Beyond the core subjects of English, mathematics and science, pupils must select at least four subjects. We agree with the recommendations of the National Curriculum that pupils should try to study a humanity and a practical or creative subject. Additionally, pupils should seriously consider taking a foreign language, as this is highly valued by more prestigious universities. An up-to-date GCSE Options Guide is available on the website:

In the Sixth Form, most pupils choose to pursue three subjects. There is an enormous number of subjects available from traditional A Levels, for pupils applying to top universities, to vocational courses for pupils considering apprenticeships or employment, to a combination of both.

Mindful of the considerable academic leap required to step up from GCSE level, we aim to provide an extremely supportive learning environment for Year 12 pupils. To this end, study periods during the academic day are supervised to help the development of independent learning which can be relied on in Year 13 when pupils have more free time to manage their workload. An up-to-date Sixth Form Options Guide is also available on the website:

Most pupils in Year 12 will also study towards to Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) providing academic enrichment and additional UCAS points:

Prep Policy

We believe learning outside the classroom is an essential part of a good education. An appropriate, well-managed prep programme helps our pupils to develop the skills and attitudes they need for successful lifelong learning.

At Shiplake, teachers set prep appropriate for the age and ability of the pupils in their class. This is adjusted for any special educational needs and/or gifted and talented pupils within the group. Prep is continually monitored by the Head of Department to ensure that demands are consistent across all subject staff. Tutors and Housemasters also keep an eye on individuals’ workload to ensure they do not become overburdened.

Boarders are allocated specific times during the day and evening to complete prep tasks, and whilst day pupils can often complete some tasks at school, parents should expect them to bring prep home on a daily basis. This naturally increases as pupils progress through the College into upper year groups, where classroom time is not sufficient to fully prepare pupils for external examinations. Go to for prep expectations, recommendations and timetables per year group.

Progress Feedback

Reporting procedures are regularly reviewed at the College in order to ensure that our systems are in the best interests of our pupils. A full illustration of the reporting system can be viewed here: Our regular reports (Progress Reviews) are intended to inform pupils’ progress by reporting current academic attainment and suggested action steps. Our most important measure is pupils’ Engagement with Learning.

In addition to the regular written Progress Reviews, there is also a cycle of Parents’ Conferences offering one-to-one conversations with individual subject teachers. There is one conference per year group per year and this is held at the most appropriate point in the academic year for each year group. The dates of the conferences are published in the main College calendar. Details for booking appointments will be included in the Weekly Bulletin two weeks in advance.

Stretch and Challenge

We are proud to offer an individually-tailored academic programme which can support, stretch and challenge pupils of all academic abilities. As well as helping pupils requiring learning development support to achieve their goals, the College is equally adept at catering for the most academically able.

Several Oxbridge candidates have emerged from Shiplake in recent years, with many more leaving us to join Russell Group universities. All pupils are challenged to reach their potential in a number of ways. Differentiated work is set during class and for prep in order to stretch pupils sufficiently to access the highest possible grades at each Key Stage. The top sets in each subject often go above and beyond the core curriculum to enhance overall topic understanding.

The progress of all pupils is closely monitored by Academic Tutors, who ensure high-achieving pupils remain sufficiently challenged across all academic areas at all times. Furthermore, pupils are encouraged to select co-curricular activities which further promote the pursuit of intellectual discovery and exploration, including Current Affairs Club, Chemistry Club and the Debating Society.

Shiplake College’s ethos of supporting the individual is typified in its programme of Academic Support Clinics. Every day from 4.45pm-5.45pm departments are open for pupils to meet with teachers, sometimes in small groups or even one to one, to discuss and work through specific academic problems. These support sessions are tailored to individual needs and therefore invaluable to pupils of all ability.

The Exemplum Docet Society (named after the school motto, meaning ‘the example teaches’) exists to provide academic enrichment opportunities for those who are in receipt of an academic scholarship, and is also open to pupils who have been identified as exceeding expectations in the classroom. The society enjoys visits from external speakers as well as challenging discussions and debates, and the chance to go on a variety of trips.

Learning Development

Shiplake College has a reputation for providing support for bright pupils with mild learning difficulties, and more information is available here about the support we provide.



Our co-curricular programme is a crucial part of the College timetable as a means by which pupils can build character and develop life-skills.

Clubs and Societies

Our co-curricular activities run throughout the week with most year groups having two afternoons to embrace something new and interesting to them, including our popular Outdoor Education programme. Some activities also run during our extended lunch breaks. The Lower School have their own special programme and the choices grow as you move through the school. Full details of what is available will be given before the start of each term and students can sign up in the first week of term. Our clubs and societies are too numerous to list and are updated every year.


Details of all fixtures and competitions can be found at

Boys in years 7, 8, 9 and 10 will play rugby as their major sport in the Autumn Term with training on two or three afternoons during the week (depending on the year group). In Spring Term the major sport is football, and they can choose to play tennis and cricket in Summer Term. Pupils in Year 9 will also try rowing in the Autumn Term on Monday afternoons, for which normal games kit is fine (specialist kit can be bought later in the year). Kit can always be stored safely at school.

Girls’ major sports are hockey and football in Autumn Term, netball and pre-season cricket in Spring Term and in the Summer term cricket, rounders and tennis. Competitive rowing is a year-round commitment. Training for team sports are on a Monday and Thursday afternoon with matches on Wednesday afternoons and occasionally Saturdays.

Pupils in Year 11 and the Sixth Form can choose from other sporting options and they will be able to sign up in their first week of term.


All pupils, regardless of whether they study music, have access to the wide variety of groups, bands and choirs in the Music Department. They can sign up for these at the start of each term and many will have the opportunity to perform in our end of term concerts.


Outside of drama lessons, the Drama Department produces a senior production in the Autumn Term and a junior production in the Spring Term. All pupils will have the opportunity to sign up for these should they so wish at the start of the term. For many years the Drama Department has also run a trip to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe. Auditions for this are held in the Summer Term. LAMDA lessons run all year round during term time and can be arranged via Mrs Farrell, the Head of Drama.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme

Shiplake College offers pupils in Years 10 to 13 the chance to complete the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) at Bronze, Silver and Gold level. Pupils can sign up for this at the start of the Autumn term.

Combined Cadet Force (CCF)

The CCF at Shiplake comprises all three service sections: Army, Navy and Royal Air Force. The aim of the youth organisation, sponsored by the Ministry of Defence, is to “provide a disciplined organisation in a school so that pupils may develop powers of leadership by means of training to promote the qualities of responsibility, self-reliance, resourcefulness, endurance and perseverance.” As well as helping pupils to develop these important life skills, involvement with the CCF is enormous fun. Such is the value we place on CCF, it is compulsory for all boys in Year 10 and thereafter is an option for all pupils. CCF runs during the co-curricular Tuesday afternoon session.



Fees are charged termly in advance and are as fully-inclusive as possible. The College reviews fees annually, with any changes taking place at the beginning of each academic year. Any fee amendments are notified to parents before the end of the preceding academic year.

Included in the fees are: Academic lessons and text books; most sports coaching; two meals a day and snacks (plus breakfast for boarders); laundry (not day pupils); pastoral support from Housemaster and Tutor; access to medical wing; a full time Chaplaincy; access to ICT and the internet; a 45 acre riverside site for outdoor activities; extensive co-curricular activities programme; plays and concerts 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); a place for private study; careers advice; personal accident insurance; House subscriptions; Old Viking Society membership.

Up-to-date fees are detailed on the website: If you have questions about the amount being charged, please contact the Bursary, [email protected].


We make every effort to ensure our fees are as close to ‘all-inclusive’ as possible but inevitably some additional charges may be added to the bill, such as: outings/trips; extra musical instrument tuition; ad hoc overnight accommodation and exeat weekend boarding; learning development/EAL support; public examination fees; some clubs/societies; insurances; transport; accompanied off-site medical appointments; travel money; school uniform. Agreement is sought for any charge in excess of £50.

Payment of Fees

Parents are requested to pay fees by Direct Debit. Fees for each term accrue separately and form a discrete contract between Parents and Shiplake College. Parents may elect to pay termly fees either by a single instalment due on the first day of each term or by three equal monthly instalments. Parents are requested to make such election by completing this form as appropriate and completing the appropriate Direct Debit form.

Payment by one instalment per term: The total amount of each termly invoice will be debited from the nominated bank account on the first day of each term. Invoices for the following term’s fees are prepared at the end of each term.

Payment by three instalments per term: The total amount of each termly invoice will be debited from the nominated bank account in three equal instalments, the first being on the first day of term. 

Invoices will be prepared each term and a schedule of payment will be provided.  Payments by cash, or by debit or credit card are not accepted.

Late Payment Penalties

Should the collection of funds fail for any reason, an administration charge of £25 per rejection will be made. The school will also apply the standard late payment charge of 2% per month for any funds that are outstanding beyond the due date.

We may refuse to allow your child to attend the College or to withhold any references while fees remain unpaid or there is a persistent failure to pay the fees on time. We may refuse to allow your child to participate in the relevant co-curricular activity, or sit the relevant public examination(s), while the applicable supplemental charge for that activity or examination(s) remains unpaid. Parents are responsible for paying the costs we incur in recovering, or attempting to recover, any unpaid fees or supplemental charges. We may inform any other school or educational establishment to which you propose to send your child of any outstanding fees or supplemental charges. This is all detailed in your contract with us.

Acceptance Deposit

The acceptance deposit will be retained by the College until the pupil leaves and will be returned (less the final term’s extras or any outstanding debts) in the August after a pupil has left unless parents wish to donate all or part of the deposit to the College.

Leaving the College

We assume that pupils joining before Year 12 will continue into our Sixth Form after the completion of GCSEs, subject to meeting academic and behavioural expectations. Therefore, if you are planning to move your child at any point before the end of Year 13, you must give written notice of this (to [email protected]) at least one term ahead of the leaving date or the next term’s fees will be payable as per the terms and conditions you signed up to when accepting the place. If you are considering moving your child, we advise that you speak initially to your child’s House team.

Changing Boarding Status

We require notice of any change of boarding status (i.e. whether they are a day pupil, flexi-, weekly or full boarder) by the end of the first day of the term before which you wish the change to take effect, as per the terms and conditions. Please liaise with your child’s House team and the Registrar about this: [email protected].


Scholarships are merit-based awards designed to reward excellence and celebrate and nurture exceptional ability. Scholarships are offered to pupils who demonstrate outstanding academic ability or excellence in a major co-curricular domain. The progress of scholars is closely monitored and they are expected to maintain an exemplary level of behaviour and commitment to their studies, as well as contributing actively to their field of scholarship. Should they fall short of these expectations, the scholarship may be removed. Our scholars are identified around school by scholars’ badges and will receive additional enhancement and enrichment opportunities in their field of scholarship, such as trips, speakers and access to competitions. In addition, scholars usually enjoy a 5-10% fee discount. Exceptional Year 12 rowing and academic scholars may be eligible for larger discounts. Generally, scholarships are available for pupils applying for all three of the major entry points however, current pupils who demonstrate an appropriate aptitude moving into Years 9 and 12 can also apply. Shiplake pupils considering applying should discuss this with the appropriate Head of Department for advice and endorsement before making a formal application. We will also review a pupil’s behaviour record when considering them for an award. Scholarships are reviewed regularly and therefore also available to other existing pupils who have demonstrated exceptional improvement in a particular field during their time at the College, such scholarships awarded ‘out of process’ are normally honorary and come with no financial discount.


The College Governors are committed to broadening access to the school by offering means-tested financial support to eligible parents or guardians to assist with the payment of school fees. Such support is known as a bursary and may be awarded in the form of a discount on tuition fees payable, depending on the financial, compassionate or other pertinent circumstances of applicants. Bursaries are reviewed annually and continued support will be dependent on behaviour and effort. If your financial situation changes and you feel that you may need financial assistance after your child has started the school, please discuss this with the Bursar at the earliest opportunity. More information about bursaries and access to the application forms can be found at:


The insurances detailed below are currently available but subject to change.

  • Healthcare: Parents may opt for pupils to be covered by a private medical scheme to provide cover against the cost of private specialist and hospital treatment. However, this does not cover the cost of prescriptions, dentists and some medical specialists not covered.
  • Personal Effects: Unless covered by their home household policy, parents are strongly advised to take out the inexpensive Personal Effects insurance scheme offered by the school as the main school insurance policy does not cover personal effects.
  • School Fees Refund Scheme: this is optional and is available at a premium of a very small percentage of the termly rate. This scheme secures a refund if your child cannot attend school because of illness or injury.

Applications forms may be found on this page.



Day pupils and weekly boarders are ordinarily free to go home after their games and sporting commitments on a Saturday afternoon. Pupils wishing to book a taxi can do so through the Housemaster or College secretary, with the cost added to the school bill.

If pupils are going anywhere other than their own home, the Housemaster requires confirmation from all concerned. Otherwise it is always assumed that they will be travelling home with their parents. There may be one or two weekends during the year where all pupils are asked to stay in for a chapel service or special event. Attendance will be compulsory on these occasions but parents and pupils will be given plenty of notice in advance.

If weekly or flexi-boarders choose to stay in at the weekends they are free to make use of the College’s fantastic grounds and facilities but they may be required to stay in a boarding house other than their own. Trips and activities are frequently arranged, although pupils may choose to stay on site and relax after their busy weeks. Weekend outings include bowling, cinema, go-karting, ice-skating, watching sports fixtures and day trips to Reading and Henley. Supervision of pupils on Sundays is taken care of centrally by Housemasters and senior tutors on a rota system.

Exeat Weekends

Exeat weekends occur at intervals throughout the term. The House closes for these weekends and all pupils return home to their parents or guardians.

Exeats generally begin on a Friday afternoon and run until Sunday evening at 7.00pm. Please consult the published time in the calendar for House re-opening after exeats, or indeed half-terms or holidays.

Pupils returning before the Exeat is over do not have permission to be on the College site unless this has been specifically arranged. Pupils are strongly encouraged to leave the College for Exeat weekends however, we can accommodate full boarders whose parents are overseas, subject to an extra charge.

Ad-Hoc and Flexi-Boarding

Flexi-boarding reflects an upfront inclusive rate for pupils who regularly board for up to two nights per week.

Parents of flexi-boarders will be required to confirm before the start of each term which two nights of the week their child will regularly stay and an online form is provided for this purpose. Nights will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Flexi-boarders will not generally have their own dedicated bed. Senior flexi-boarders in Welsh, Burr, College and Gilson Houses will board in their own house but, depending upon numbers each year, other flexi-boarders may sleep in a house other than their own. There are currently no boarding facilities in Lower School, Orchard or Skipwith Houses.

For parents of day pupils wishing to book occasional overnight stays, or for flexi-boarders wishing to board more than two nights in a given week, this may be booked via their own Housemaster and will be charged as an extra. A place is dependent on space and may not be confirmed until 48 hours before the night requested.

Often Forgotten

Every pupil will need a watch. Boarders require an alarm clock, duvet, cover and pillows. Flexi-boarders should supply a storage bag for their bedding.

Pupils’ Rooms

Pupils may put up appropriate posters on the pinboards with pins or on wooden surfaces with Blu Tack. Offensive posters will be removed. Any unnecessary damage will be charged to the occupants of the room.

Pupils are encouraged to bring a desk lamp and laptop. Small music systems are permitted. The volume should be kept at a reasonable level and not disturb others in the House. Small electrical items such as chargers and laptops may be plugged in, but larger items such as fridges and heaters are not allowed. All electrical items are safety-checked each term.


Pupils should take responsibility to keep valuable personal items locked away. Pupils have access to safes or lockers but generally need to provide at least one padlock for these. A combination lock is recommended to avoid carrying/losing keys!

All personal items valued over £100 must be registered with the Housemaster.

The front door of each House has a combination code which is usually changed each term. Pupils should not give the code to anyone who is not a member of their House.

Lost Property

All uniform, equipment, folders and books should be clearly marked with a pupil’s name and their house so that lost property can be easily returned to its owner. In the meantime it is handed in at Reception.


The excellent catering at Shiplake College is provided by the catering company, Thomas Franks. The team specialises in catering for independent schools, including all special events and fine dining services. They have a passion for food, professionally presented through excellent service using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

All dietary requirements can be catered for, but please ensure that you have communicated these via your child’s Pen Portrait, medical form or by emailing the Housemaster. There is an enormous choice of food including soup with fresh bread, sandwiches, a choice of two hot main meals, vegetables, jacket potatoes, fresh fruit, yoghurts, desserts and a salad bar. You can keep up with the latest menus here: Lunch, some snacks and supper are included in day fees and boarders are also entitled to breakfast.

Drinking water is available from the taps which are clearly marked drinking water only.

Open Mornings

Each year the College holds two Whole School Open Mornings and one Sixth Form Open Morning. These events give all prospective families an opportunity to find out more about Shiplake. We hope that all parents have positive memories of their first visits and see how crucial it is that pupils act as ambassadors of their school.

Whole school open mornings are compulsory for all pupils asked to attend. Sixth Form open mornings are compulsory for all pupils in Years 12 and 13. Full school uniform is required. Should exceptional circumstances mean that your child is unable to attend an open morning, then a Leave Request should be submitted to the Headmaster with seven days’ notice using the online request form found on the Parent Portal.