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Below are some of the questions prospective parents have about the admissions process at Shiplake College. If any of your questions are not answered here, please do not hesitate to contact the Registrar, Mrs Esther Pasmore, on 0118 940 5221 or email [email protected].

Can I visit the College?

We would very much recommend that you visit us if you can and offer a variety of different events from individual meetings with the Headmaster to taster events to attending open mornings alongside 200 other families. Please click here to book your choice of event or call the admissions team to arrange on 0118 940 5221. 

For a video tour of the College by the Headmaster, click here.

At what age do pupils join Shiplake College?

Boys and girls normally join Shiplake at Year 7 (age 11), Year 9 (age 13) and at Year 12 (age 16). We do consider applications to join at Year 8 or Year 10, if there are vacancies. Admission into Year 11 or the Upper Sixth is not usually possible.

When should we apply?

The registration deadline for Year 7 candidates is the December preceding their year of entry, ahead of assessments in January whilst they are in Year 6 at their current school.

For Year 9 candidates the registration deadline is the end of July, prior to their assessments in September at the beginning of Year 7 in their current school.

Year 12 candidates should be registered by the end of the October of their Year 11, ahead of the assessment day in November.

We advise that you register as early as possible in order to benefit from communications from the College about taster events and other activities. Late applications may be considered if there are vacancies.

What are the entry requirements?

Year 7 and Year 9 applicants will undertake written tests in English and mathematics as well as short literacy and numeracy assessments. They will attend an informal interview with a senior member of staff, and participate in an indoor and outdoor activity.

Year 12 applicants will undertake a range of literacy and numeracy assesments. They will also take part in a group task and be interviewed by a senior member of staff.

A reference will also be requested from the candidate’s current school for all entry points.

Is Shiplake a selective school?

Shiplake College is a selective school but we do not select on academic ability alone. In each intake we admit pupils across a range of abilities. We look for pupils who will make the most of the opportunities and challenges that will lie ahead of them at the College and who will, in turn, contribute to and enrich the Shiplake community.

What is the ratio of applicants to places?

We receive about 2.5 applications per place for entry at Year 7, Year 9 and Sixth Form.

With girls joining from September 2023, the intake at Year 7 increased to four sets with over 44% girls.

At Year 9, with the addition of those moving up from Year 8, we currently seek to create an overall year group of 70 pupils (five sets of 16). From 2025, as girls moving through and joining, we expect this to increase to six sets of up to 16 (maximum of 96).

There is space for about 35 girls to join Year 12, depending on the day/boarding split, and about 15 to 20 boys also join Year 12.

What happens when pupils move from Year 8 to Year 9, or Year 11 to the Sixth Form?


There are no separate tests to move from Year 8 to Year 9, or from Year 11 into the Sixth Form; continuation at Shiplake College is assumed. However, all Year 11 pupils progressing to the Sixth Form would be expected to have a good history of academic effort and classroom discipline, together with a commitment to school activities and a record of participation in extra-curricular activities. Pupils should also expect to achieve at least a Grade 7 in their chosen A Level subjects.

How should I prepare my child for the entrance tests?

No advance preparation is required for our assessment days. Copies of previous years’ papers are not available.

Are offers at Year 9 conditional on Common Entrance grades?

No. Pupils would be expected to achieve an average of 50% at Common Entrance but this is not a requirement if an offer of a place has already been accepted. Read more about our approach to Common Entrance here

How can I learn more about boarding at Shiplake?

Click for more information about the boarding provision at Shiplake College. Click for the Boarding FAQs.

When do I have to make up my mind?

A deadline for completing the acceptance form will be provided with unconditional offers of places, normally giving parents about 4-6 weeks to make a decision. After this date, the place will be released and offered to pupils who were on the waiting list.

What are the main feeder schools to Shiplake?

Pupils join us from around 50 different schools each year. At Year 7 about half of the joiners come from maintained primary schools and half from independent prep schools. At Year 9 the majority of joiners are from independent prep schools, with some from maintained senior schools. There is a mixture of joiners from maintained and independent schools into the Sixth Form. There are a few schools that send us many boys each year but we do not give any preferential treatment. Click to view a list of feeder schools from where we get pupils joining on a regular basis.

Do pupils live locally?

The majority of our day pupils live within 50 minutes’ drive of the College, with clusters in Henley-on-Thames, Reading, Marlow, Maidenhead and Beaconsfield. Full and weekly boarders tend to live between 1 and 2 hours’ drive, in particular Surrey and the western suburbs of London, but a number do travel to the College from all areas of the UK (and from overseas).

Do you have a sibling policy?

A sibling's suitability for the College will be carefully considered, as with any application, therefore whilst it is likely they will be offered a place, it is not guaranteed.

Can I speak to a current parent?

Yes of course! We have a number of parents of current pupils who would love to talk to prospective parents about their experience of Shiplake. Contact the Admissions Team and we will match you with someone appropriate. 

Another Question?

Is there a question that you would like us to answer that is not included in our FAQs? Please get in touch and we will endeavour to answer this.

68 girls currently part of Gilson House (2022-2023)
Pupils achieve highly in a broad range of subjects and activities, with many individuals exceeding expectations. Parents comment that individuality is promoted, and the wide choice of subjects and activities, together with a friendly and inclusive ethos allows confidence to grow so that everyone can be successful. Success comes in many guises as this school, and the pupils grasp the opportunities offered and work hard to achieve their goals.
ISI Inspection, May 2022