Shiplake College, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, UL

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Shiplake College is an independent boarding and day school in Shiplake, by the River Thames just outside Henley-on-Thames, England. This is co-educational boarding school with 480 pupils, welcomes boys from 11–18 and girls from 16-18. This top UK boarding school offers small class sizes, multi-sensory teaching, outstanding sporting opportunities and pastoral care. Pupils are encouraged to pursue a broad education taking part a diverse programme of co-curricular activities. Courses are organised to develop leadership and management skills. This top boarding school in England aims to 'add value’ to pupils of all abilities both inside and outside the classroom and has an extensive learning development department to provide support to all students.

Number of students

Boarding School:







Day School:








7 days boarding: 

10,650 per term

About the school

Shiplake College was founded in 1959 by Alexander and Eunice Everett. The land on which the school now stands was bought by Robert Harrison in 1888 and the original buildings date from 1890. The main building, which houses Skipwith House and the Great Hall, was built as a private residence for the Harrison family. The College stands in 45 acres of land on the banks of the Thames and the site and buildings have been imaginatively adapted to the needs of the 21st Century.

Shiplake College lies on a beautiful 45 acre site on the banks of the River Thames just 2½ miles upstream from Henley-on-Thames.

The main buildings are centred on Shiplake Court, a fine Victorian manor house built in 1890. The house has since been named after David Skipwith, a key figure in the early days of the College. The focal point of the ground floor is the Great Hall, which hosts major College events and is used day-to-day as a dining room for pupils and staff. A number of function rooms lie adjacent to the Great Hall which are used often used as a meeting place for our numerous clubs and societies.

The main teaching area comprises the Goodwin Building and Science & Humanities Block. The majority of academic departments are located in this area, with dedicated, fully equipped, classrooms available for each subject. The English, Drama, Media and Careers departments are situated in the listed Stableyard area. The Tithe Barn Theatre is also located in this area, which is used to host all College Drama productions.

The College also boasts a range of excellent sporting facilities, allowing pupils to enjoy representing their school and further enhancing Shiplake’s proud sporting reputation. Alongside a fully-equipped cardiovascular room, there is a designated weights room for strengthening and conditioning. There are three large sports fields on-site providing a number of high quality pitches for all outdoor sports. Award winning full-time grounds staff maintain the pitches to an excellent standard all year round. A modern cricket pavilion overlooks the front field and a large, multi-purpose sports centre lies at the heart of the College. There is also an all-weather Astroturf pitch on-site which is a popular recreational area for pupils at lunchtimes and after-school.

Located on the banks of the River Thames, Shiplake College has its own stretch of water providing an exceptional setting for rowing. The College has extensive rowing facilities including numerous ergometers, a weights room and two Boat Houses containing an excellent fleet of boats.

The Houses are at the heart of College life. The pupils are allocated into one of five houses with Boys becoming members of either Orchard or Skipwith (if they are day boys) or Burr, Everett or Welsh (if they are boarders). Girls are members of Gilson House, whilst Upper Sixth boys reside in College. Pupils in years 7 and 8 are members of the Lower School.

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Academic life

At each academic stage, the curriculum of this British boarding school is adjusted and reviewed to suit the developing needs of pupils.

Boys in the Lower School follow an exciting and innovative curriculum which was specially designed by the College to allow maximum exploration of subjects and curriculum areas. A solid foundation, based on the National Curriculum, is created for boys to build on when they move up to Year 9.

The Lower School has two mixed-ability forms in each year group, the Olympians and the Titans, with Maths, English and Science sets streamed by ability.

The Year 9 curriculum is designed to ensure that all boys are well-prepared to begin their GCSE courses. In view of the varying academic experiences of pupils progressing from  Lower School and arriving from various prep schools, teaching aims to bring everyone up to an even level of understanding.

Options available to pupils at GCSE

BLOCK  A: EAL, ICT, Learning Development, Music, PE, Spanish, Religious Studies

BLOCK  B: Art, Design and Technology, French, Geography, PE, Spanish             

BLOCK  C: Art, Design and Technology, Drama, Geography, History, Religious Studies, Triple Science

BLOCK  D: Computer Science, Drama, Geography, History, ICT, Religious Studies

Sixth Form

In the Sixth Form boarding school, most students choose to pursue four subjects. There are numerous A Level subjects on offer, but for pupils who prefer to apply their learning in more practical situations, there are also a handful of BTEC courses available.

The current Sixth Form subject blocks for 2018-2020

BLOCK A; French, Business Studies, Geography, History, ICT, Learning Development, Maths, Photography, Sport BTEC     

BLOCK B: Art, Biology, Business Studies, Design and Technology, Drama and Theatre Studies, Economics, Further Maths, Geography, History, Music, Travel and Tourism               

BLOCK C: Art, Biology, Business Studies, Economics, Geography, Media Studies, Music BTEC, Physics, Psychology, Religious Studies, Spanish,        

BLOCK D: chemistry, Economics, Engineering, English, Learning Development, Media Studies, Photography, Psychology, Politics

Sport and culture

This British boarding school has a strong sporting ethos. The Good Schools Guide notes that „Rugby, rowing, hockey, cricket, athletics and netball plus a good smattering of minor sports and house fixtures are important, improving, inclusive and competitive (notable successes against much bigger rivals). In line with school spirit, fixture boards welcome the opposition and wish them luck.

Rowing is an important school sport, with this boarding school located on the banks of the River Thames. In recent years, Shiplake crews have enjoyed considerable national success, including winning the Child Beale Cup at National Schools’ Regatta. Several boys have represented England and Great Britain. Most notably, former pupil Will Satch claimed an Olympic Gold medal at Rio 2016 in the Men’s Eight, and an Olympic Bronze medal at London 2012 in the Men’s Pair event.

As well as rowing, this traditional British boarding school plays Rugby. Former pupil Tom Howe now plays for London Wasps.

Location Description

Henley on Thames Oxfordshire RG9 4BW

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