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Shiplake College welcomes applications from international students across the globe. Our international pupils, which include British and non-British students resident abroad, represent approximately 5% of the current school population. International applications are permitted into all year groups, but the majority of pupils usually join at Year 9 (13+), Year 10 (14+) or Year 12 (16+).

Our international pupils soon become fully integrated into Shiplake’s inclusive and welcoming environment. Pupils for whom English is an additional language are offered specialist tuition to improve their verbal and written communication. This is essential to excel in the British education system. However, all pupils must have a reasonable level of fluency upon arrival at Shiplake and therefore all non-native English speakers are assessed as part of the interview process and again on their arrival at the College to ensure that we can offer the appropriate provision for their needs.

Virtual Tour

Our international applicants are often unable to visit in person before joining us but we hope that this virtual tour (filmed during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020) gives a good overview of the College's site and facilities and an insight into the education and other opportunities offered to pupils.

Boarding at Shiplake

International boarders are fully integrated into the College community. Our small size and inclusive nature ensures all individuals receive the attention they deserve. With less than 10% of boarders arriving from overseas, the boarding lifestyle offers pupils a valuable opportunity to become fully immersed in the English language and culture. Many students take the opportunity to stay with their school friends during Exeat weekends, an indication of the strength of the bonds formed by boarding.  

More information about boarding at Shiplake, including details of our new weekend activity programme, can be found here

Study Visas

Shiplake College is licensed to sponsor Child Student Visas for suitable candidates and will provide the necessary confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) to enable families to apply for the visa. An additional charge is payable for this service (more information here) and the College has additional statutory responsibilities regarding pupils whose visas we sponsor. Most non-British pupils will require this visa sponsorship unless they have a right to study in the UK by some other route. You will be asked this on your registration form.

International Application Process 

International applicants follow a very similar entry process to domestic pupils, but we understand that it is not always possible for candidates to sit our tests on site. We, therefore, offer assessments and interviews via video call. Testing usually includes a maths paper and an English paper (designed for non-native English speakers if applicable). Sixth form candidates may also sit other papers depending on their preferred subject options.    

For entry into Year 9 or 10, pupils are expected to have a good understanding of the English language to enable them to access the curriculum. Students wishing to join the Sixth Form are required to have an advanced level of fluency and understanding. An equivalent of at least 5.5 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination is required.

Parents and pupils based outside the UK interested in joining Shiplake College are encouraged to contact the Admissions Team on +44 (0) 118 940 5221 or [email protected]. They will be happy to guide you through the process of applying for an international boarding place at Shiplake and are a good source of advice for all questions regarding boarding and admissions.


As with all other independent schools in the UK, international students at Shiplake College must have a UK-based guardian if their parents are living abroad. A guardian will form part of the team responsible for safeguarding and promoting a student’s welfare while their parents are overseas.

We take our responsibility for the welfare of our international students very seriously and the appointment of a guardian is a vital part of this. Shiplake College is a member of AEGIS (Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students) to show our commitment to ensuring that international students studying with us in the UK feel safe, welcome and cared for. We therefore insist that families using a guardianship service ensure that it is fully AEGIS accredited.

Guardians are expected to represent a pupil’s parents in loco parentis. They will be a vital link for the school especially in times of emergency (such as if the pupil falls ill or otherwise needs to be away from school).

Guardians are also usually expected to provide a home for the pupil during exeats and half term holidays, unless the parents have put other arrangements in place.

We would also hope that the guardian would take an interest in the pupil’s development and progress, as well as supporting the school in good pastoral care. They would usually attend parent/teacher meetings and report back to parents. They would also be able to monitor the academic and social development of the child and will be kept informed via our usual communications systems. A guardian is expected to have an strong command of English and be able to assist with the translation of communications between parents and Shiplake College if necessary.

Guardianship is a very responsible role and we would expect a guardian to be at least 25 years of age and live within around an hour's drive of the College.

Parents may select guardians privately (for example a family member or friend they trust) or may arrange this care via a guardianship agency but it is vital that we have full contact details for the appointed guardian before a pupil starts with us.

Airport Transfers

Heathrow airport is under one hour's drive from the College. For transfers to and from Heathrow, the school can organise a taxi for collection or drop off. This service will incur an additional cost, which will be charged to parents' termly bill (depending on the airport, the taxi fare is about £80). We will use our local taxi company whose drivers are cleared to carry our students.

If you wish to make use of this service, please contact the Mrs Arpino, School Secretary, [email protected] with flight number, arrival time, terminal and your child's current mobile phone number (so that the driver can contact him or her if necessary). 

Pupils arriving from all nations and continents soon become fully integrated into Shiplake’s inclusive and welcoming environment.