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Boarding is an integral part of life at Shiplake. Full, weekly and flexi-boarding, available from Year 9 and above, allows pupils to fully benefit from all the academic and co-curricular opportunities that we offer. With no 'daily commute', boarders can dedicate more time to academic and leisure pursuits. Our boarders join from many parts of Britain, with about 5% coming from overseas. Together they make up a busy and vibrant community, who are proud to call Shiplake College 'home'. 

The College provides a secure and supportive environment in which pupils learn to live together happily, grow in confidence and achieve success and enjoyment in all aspects of school life. We see the boarding environment as a key way to foster the complementary values of social tolerance and inclusiveness. Boarders quickly come to regard their House as a home away from home and boarding enables them to develop key skills, including independence, self-reliance and getting on with others, which will stand them in good stead later in life.

Boarding is Excellent

And it is not just us that says so. A full ISI Inspection in May 2022 judged all aspects of boarding at Shiplake College to be 'excellent', the highest possible grade of achievement. Comments from the boarding inspectors included:

  • 'Boarders say that boarding encourages them to get on well, support and tolerate each other. Their activities help bring pupils together and create connections, resulting in strong friendships and mutual support.'
  • 'Boarders say that they appreciate the increasing freedom to make their own decisions and manage time as they move through school.'
  • 'House captains support younger peers, and the buddy system is a successful mentoring system for new pupils which is particularly appreciated by boarders.'
  • 'Boarders value the experience of living with others from different countries and cultures.'
  • 'Boarders participate in a variety of the opportunities on offer and appreciate the extra time boarding affords them to do so.'
  • 'Boarders say that the atmosphere in the houses, particularly at weekends, encourages them to work together and share knowledge and expertise such as essay construction or mathematical techniques.'
  • 'An appropriate induction process for pupils new to boarding is implemented, and suitable provision is made for boarders' medical and health care, their food and drink and for managing boarders' laundry and possessions. Boarders have suitable contact with friends and family and access to a programme of activities. Boarding staff are appropriately trained and deployed.'

Contact with Family

Mobile phones, email and other online applications make regular communication with home easy and the Parent Portal keeps parents fully informed of their child’s educational progress. Friends and family are welcome to visit, and are actively encouraged to take a full and active part of the boarder’s life. Many parents, particularly those who live about an hour from the College, are able to attend concerts, performances or sports fixtures, or may occasionally choose to take their child out for dinner during the week.

Full, Weekly, Flexi or Overnight Stays?

Boarding is a popular choice for families and is no longer seen as a momentous decision as it provides the flexibility to satisfy individual family needs. Our fee structure allows pupils to benefit from boarding in a way that best suits their and their families' needs.

Families choose full or weekly boarding at Shiplake for a variety of reasons but both options offer pupils the chance to experience all aspects of Shiplake’s provision. Staying during the week can relieve an arduous daily commute, give pupils more time for studying and relaxing with friends. Boarding is often particularly attractive for pupils who are heavily committed to sport or co-curricular activities. Many parents find that weekly boarding allows them to fulfil their work commitments and chores during the working week, allowing for 'quality' family time at the weekends.

Flexi-boarding and overnight stays are available to help accommodate the busy lifestyle of many families, particularly those whose parents need to travel extensively for work, and is also ideal for pupils who wish to fully emerge themselves in the co-curricular activities offered at the College, some of which take place in evenings. More information on flexi-boarding and overnight stays can be found here

The Houses

Our boarding houses are homely and friendly places, where pupils are supported by an extensive pastoral system of Tutors, Resident Tutors, Housemasters, Matrons, Chaplain, a Medical Wing and independent listeners. Boy boarders are normally allocated to Burr (full or weekly), Welsh (weekly or flexi) or Everett (flexi or Year 12 weekly only), with College House providing accommodation for all Year 13 boys. Gilson House is home for all Sixth Form girls. 

All the Houses have excellent bedroom accommodation, bathroom facilities, communal social areas, games rooms, kitchens, private gardens and access to IT equipment.

International Pupils

More information about the admissions process for international pupils can be found here.

40% is the proportion of boarders in Years 9-13
Shiplake is more than a place to learn, it is a place to live and grow: a vibrant and busy community with a mixture of boarders and day pupils