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Scholarships are merit-based awards designed to reward excellence and celebrate and nurture exceptional talent. 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.

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. Some of our scholars' achievements are showcased on our Scholars' Website.

Scholars usually enjoy a nominal 5-10% fee discount. Exceptional Year 12 rowing and academic scholars may receive discounts of between 5% and 50%. 

Parents of scholars who anticipate that they will experience difficulty in meeting the balance of the tuition fees are strongly encouraged to simultaneously apply for a means-tested bursary after registering their child. Find out more about our financial assistance in the form of means-tested bursaries.

Generally, scholarships are available for pupils applying for all three of the major entry points, and you will find below information about the criteria and application process for each. Scholarships are also available to internal candidates moving into Years 9 and 12, and Shiplake pupils considering applying should discuss this with the appropriate head of department for advice and endorsement and we will also review a pupil’s behaviour record when considering them for an award.

Scholarships are reviewed regularly and therefore also available to 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.

Details of the types of scholarships available and our assessment criteria for each are available below. If you require further information please contact the Admissions team on 0118 940 5221.

Please note the scholarship application deadlines for Year 7, Year 9 and Year 12 entry.

Scholarship Application Form

Academic Scholarships

Year 7 and Year 9 academic scholars, and applicants for the special Year 7 Eggar All-Rounder Scholarship (see FAQ below), should have an excellent academic record, a thirst for knowledge and the ability to act as an academic role model to peers. They will also be required demonstrate an outstanding behaviour record.

Applicants should submit a scholarship application by the relevant deadline and those who achieve excellent scores in our main entrance assessments will be invited to attend an additional scholarship assessment. This will consist of a presentation on a subject of the applicant's choice, followed by an interview with a senior teacher to discuss their academic portfolio (which they should bring with them) and the role of an academic scholar.

Sixth Form academic scholarships become subject specific, and scholars will have demonstrated the potential to gain As or above at A Level and attain a minimum of a grade 8 in their chosen subject and seven further grade 7s at GCSE. Applicants will also have a proven track record of academic excellence and will have consistently demonstrated respect and passion for learning and interest in their academic studies that go beyond the confines of the GCSE curriculum. Successful scholars will be expected to act as role models in the Sixth Form to enhance the academic standards of the College and inspire their peers. An excellent behaviour record is also expected. 

Candidates who apply for a sixth form academic scholarship should submit with their application their latest school report and 'working at' grades. Selected candidates will be invited for interviews with a senior member of academic staff and the head of their chosen subject to discuss their academic passions and achievements and what they would bring to the role of senior academic scholar. It can be helpful for candidates to bring with them an academic portfolio for discussion. Any offer of an award is conditional upon the candidate's GCSE grades. Outstanding Sixth Form Academic Scholars may be awarded up to 50% discount. If your child would be unable to attend Shiplake without such a substantial discount, we strongly advise that you apply for a means-tested bursary alongside a scholarship.

Art Scholarships

Art scholarships are now available at all standard entry points. Applications should be supported by references from an Art teacher and applicants should bring to the scholarship day a portfolio showing work completed both inside and outside of a school environment. A sketchbook showing off a candidate’s own particular interests would also be advantage.

As there is equal emphasis on 2D and 3D work, scholarship candidates who have completed interesting 3D work should also bring this along to be assessed. If this is not possible, applicants should bring photographs of their work endorsed by their current Headteacher.

The Art department at Shiplake College encourages work in all possible media and is primarily concerned with the development of each individual’s artistic sensibility. Pupils’ own interests and their own independently produced work are considered equally valuable to prescribed coursework.

It is expected that Year 12 scholarship candidates would have the artistic and creative talent to achieve an 8 or 9 at GCSE and the expectation is that they would achieve an A grade at A Level. Selection will be dependent upon an outstanding portfolio of work which displays candidates’ strengths and representations of various media.

As well as discussing their work with our Head of Art, candidates will be expected to complete a creative task on the day of the assessment.

Drama Scholarships

Drama scholarships are available at all standard points of entry.

Candidates are expected to be enthusiastic and gifted performers. In addition to this they should have a longstanding involvement in school and youth drama, playing a variety of different roles. Candidates who have completed up to grade 4/5 in the LAMDA or Guildhall Speech and Drama examination syllabus will also be favourably considered. Prior to their scholarship interview, candidates are asked to send a record of all of the performances that they have participated in to date, detailing the roles they have played. In addition, a written reference is required from the candidate’s current drama and English teachers, as we will also be looking for evidence of strong written English and comprehension skills.

For the Scholarship Assessment, candidates should bring a prepared 2-3 minute monologue and older candidates will also be asked to perform a written paper and sight reading task. All candidates will be interviewed about their experience and interests. Scholarship candidates must be willing to study drama at GCSE and A Level.

It is expected that Year 12 candidates will have a proven interest in drama and performing arts and have participated in a number of productions both in and outside of their current school. This can be as a performer, director, set designer or technician. Candidates would ordinarily be predicted an 8 or 9 for Drama and an 7 grade in English Language at GCSE. However, if they have not studied Drama at GCSE, the minimum of an 7 grade would be expected in GCSE English Language. Selection for scholarship will be based upon interview and audition performance, review of references and applicants’ contribution to performing arts in their own time.

Music Scholarships

Music scholarships are awarded to outstanding musicians who play any instrument or sing with exceptional ability or, in the case of Year 7 applicants, those who show considerable potential.

External candidates must obtain a specialist reference from their current Head of Music in addition to a reference from their Headteacher. At the Scholarship assessment, they will be required to perform two short contrasting pieces on one or more instruments, together with aural and practical tests. There will also be an interview with the Director of Music. Successful scholars will be expected to be an ambassador for Music and its promotion in school and in the community, and will be expected to contribute significantly to the musical life at Shiplake throughout their time at the College.

Music scholarships are available at Year 7, Year 9 and Year 12 and will only be awarded to pupils who have passed the school’s entry assessments. Year 7 candidates should be Grade III or above in their chosen instrument, while Year 9 candidates should be at least Grade V standard. Good sight reading ability is an advantage as is some keyboard skill and a sound knowledge of music theory. Candidates weak in one of these aspects should not be discouraged from applying, though, since the emphasis will always be on potential and commitment to the musical life of Shiplake College.

At Year 12, Music scholarships are based on auditions and a review of written reports from the candidate’s teachers. Candidates would normally have reached Grade VI in their primary instrument and would have passed Grade V Theory. Potential to achieve a similar grade in a second instrument would be an advantage. Students must be willing to participate fully in the extra-curricular musical life of the College and to study either Music A Level or BTEC. The scholarship would also normally be conditional on achievement of an 8 or above at GCSE and the expectation of an A grade at A Level. 

Sport Scholarships

Sport scholarships are awarded to outstanding, all-round sportsmen and women who can demonstrate notable standards of performance, character and ambition in one or more sports.


Sport scholarships are available at Year 7, Year 9 and Year 12 and will only be awarded to pupils who have passed the school’s entry assessments.

At Year 7, sports scholarships are available to girls and boys who can demonstrate the ability or potential to excel in a minimum of two of the College's main sports (rugby, hockey, netball, football and cricket) and demonstrate overall fitness, agility and proficiency across a range of sports.

In Year 9, sport scholarships are available for pupils who can demonstrate the ability or potential to be excellent in a minimum of two but preferably three of the College’s main sports; rugby, rowing, hockey, football and cricket for boys and netball, hockey, football, cricket and rounders for girls. Candidates should not only be talented and skillful players, but should also demonstrate confidence, leadership and a depth of understanding in their main sport. It would be preferable, though not essential, if they have achieved some form of county, regional or even international recognition.

In their application, applicants should detail all their achievements from the past two years, endorsed by their current PE teacher, together with references from coaches or trainers. A character reference from their current school is also a prerequisite for entry into the scholarship group. During the assessment process, additional credit is given to those candidates who show the willingness to try sports to which they may not be accustomed.

The sport scholarship assessment becomes more specific for those pupils wishing to apply for a Year 12 award. Applicants must be able to excel in their given sport. They are not necessarily asked to demonstrate ability in other sports but should note that this would of course be advantageous. Boys can apply for scholarships in rugby, rowing, cricket or football, whilst girls are eligible for rowing, netball, cricket, football or hockey. Candidates would normally be of a regional standard or equivalent. They must have demonstrated commitment, dedication and leadership in their sport. Candidates would be expected to have a high level of fitness and mental toughness. As senior figures at the College, Sixth Form sport scholars would undoubtedly act as role models to younger pupils and should therefore demonstrate an excellent attitude and application across all academic and co-curricular pursuits. In exceptional circumstances, we may consider applications for scholarships in sports other than our main sports above. Such applicants would need to be outstanding in their sporting arena and be able to demonstrate how they would thereby contribute to College life. 

Application is by online form, and selected applicants will be invited for assessment by the Director of Sport and/or the individual heads of sport. They will be expected to demonstrate exceptional leadership, communication and teamwork qualities whilst also showing a willingness to develop new skills. Candidates will be required to provide a specialist reference from their current Head of Sport and a coach in their specialist sport. Scholars will be expected to make a widespread and valuable contribution to Shiplake College sporting life throughout their time at the College. They should strive not only to raise their own sporting standards but also that of their peers and the College as a whole. A candidate's behavioural record should also be exemplary.

Rowing Scholarships

We offer exceptional rowers scholarship awards which can enjoy a discount of between 5% and 50%. Find out more about the criteria and assessment process for these competitive awards here

Year 7 'Eggar' All-Rounder Scholarship

Shiplake College offers one special all-rounder scholarship to a pupil from a state-maintained primary school seeking to join us our Year 7. The John Eggar Scholarship, named after a the College's Headmaster between 1963 and 1979, is particularly aimed at pupils who would not be able to attend Shiplake without substantial financial support, and up to 100% assistance may be awarded for the right candidate.

The candidate would excel academically and also display talent, or show the potential to, in other areas of school life such as sport, music, art or drama. The scholarship is available to day pupils or flexi, weekly or full boarders, and families should be prepared to make a means-tested bursary application.

Applicants will be invited to one of the Year 7 entrance assessment days and the Academic Scholarship afternoon, both of which take place in January before entry. Please read our criteria for Academic Scholarships to understand what is required at the assessment and note that an additional application for another scholarship (Music, Art, Drama or Sport) would be an advantage.

Please note that this is a highly competitive process as substantial financial assistance is not generally available from Year 7 and this scholarship would continue throughout a pupil’s time at the College, provided the boy’s conduct and performance is maintained.

Please contact the Registrar, Mrs Esther Pasmore, to find out more. The deadline for applications is detailed on the Year 7 Admissions page.

5% discount in fees awarded with 'exhibitions'
10% discount in fees offered to successful scholarship applicants