Orchard House is situated at the very front of the College overlooking the award-winning, 1st XI cricket pitch. Orchard is home to 80 day boys from Year 9 to Year 12, spread across 3 floors of a wonderfully maintained, modern building. Year 13 boys and girls live in close proximity in College and Gilson Houses respectively.
The magnificent cricket pavilion is part of the House, allowing pupils to enjoy using it as their common room at break and lunchtimes. There is also a games room with pool tables and table football. With no boarders, space in the House is dedicated to providing light and spacious work environments where pupils can complete their prep.
Although one of the largest houses at Shiplake, Orchard still manages to be a welcoming and friendly home that offers every boy a small corner that they can call their own. The house is run as one big family, with all teaching staff and senior students playing their part to create an atmosphere which is based upon mutual respect, tolerance and the support of each other in times of joy, and sadness.
This successful ethos allows for every pupil to feel comfortable and valued, and encourages them to flourish in whatever they might choose to do. All Orchard pupils are passionate about their House and enjoy taking part in inter-house competitions. The brimming trophy cabinet and a long list of academic and co-curricular awards is testament to this!
To ensure the safety, welfare and development of every boy, Orchard House is supported by a dedicated leadership team. Former international rugby player and Orchard Housemaster Mr Diez-Urkidi is very happy to begin a new adventure at Shiplake College. Mr Diez- Urkidi has spent most of his life living in Spain and France but learnt to speak English in New Zealand whilst playing elite rugby. This has left him with a slight kiwi accent, which he intends to keep! Mr Diez- Urkidi originates from the Basque Country in northern Spain, enjoying good food (he cooks a mean paella) and fine Rioja wine.
This is Mr Diez-Urkidi’s first year as Housemaster, but his experience on the Rugby pitch will set him in good stead for the role.
Mr Diez-Urkidi works alongside Deputy Housemaster Mr Walter attended Exeter University having grown up in Cheltenham. He is particularly interested in hockey, football, racquet sports and winter sports, and was club captain whilst at uni. Mr Walter is very well travelled having lived and worked in Canada, America, Bolivia and Peru. Another enjoyable previous job was at the Wimbledon Championships where he escorted the players and visiting celebrities around the grounds.
Matron Mrs Sue Blackwell completes the Orchard team, providing support and pastoral care, and has been at Shiplake for over 20 years. Sue moved from Burr House to be Matron in Orchard in 2016.
Orchard House Booklet