Shiplake College


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  • Category: Senior / Sixth Form
  • Pupils: Co-Education
  • Type: Day & Boarding
  • Religious Affiliation: Church of England
  • Roll: 415 (Boys) 55 (Girls)
  • Age Range: Boys 11-18 years, Girls 16-18 years
  • Founded: 1959

School Contact Details

Shiplake College

[t]: 0118 940 2455
[f]: 0118 940 5204

Location Description

45 acre riverside site and the historic Shiplake Court, in beautiful countryside close to Henley-on-Thames. We have all the advantages of a country school yet are within easy reach of London Heathrow Airport, M25, M4, M40 & M3

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School News

Shiplake College independent day and boarding school Oxfordshire

A Shiplake College team have recorded the highest ever score of an all-male team in the history of the ‘Thinkers in Education’ CSI challenge on

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Wednesday 20 June.

The challenge, where students have to work in Crime Scene Investigation teams and solve a fictional crime, has been taken up by over 20,000 pupils in schools nationwide since 2008. The team made up of Year 10 pupils: Ralph Burrows, Tom Craven, Conrad Cameron-Tueton, Harry Clark, Alexander Coles and Toby Coles knocked previous record holders King’s School Ely off the top spot who had held the record since 2016.

Students had to represent CSI teams investigating a mysterious death and use DNA Electrophoresis, Fingerprinting and Blood Typing to process evidence and reach a conclusion. As forensic scientists, pupils had to process the evidence accurately and earned points for doing so. Students then had to scrutinise suspects and crime scene photos in the search for clues and then needed to evaluate their evidence, determine its relevance and reach a conclusion before facing the pressure of the courtroom. If pupils made a mistake they may have seen the ‘murderer’ walk free!

Matthew Hackett, Director at ‘Thinkers in Education’ said, “The winning team from Shiplake College were outstanding in the CSI Workshop ‘Dead on Time’ – with effective teamwork, accurate application of forensic science skills and very high levels of critical thinking. Conrad led his team – Toby, Alex, Tom, Ralph and Harry – to victory with the highest ever score for an all male team – scoring an incredible 190333 points.”

Shiplake College independent dau and boarding school Oxfordshire

All of Year 8 were recently involved in a performance of Skellig, taking on the award-winning text as part of their Performance Evening. A packed

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audience in the Tithe Barn Theatre enjoyed a moving and memorable performance of the piece, which has won numerous awards since its publication in 1998.

All of Year 8 were involved with the performance, either acting, or helping with lighting, staging and sound. The play follows the story of a family having just moved to a new, decrepit, house, and the young son, Michael, finding a strange creature amongst boxes and debris in the garage. The story of Skellig, and his friendship with Michael, intertwines with the story of Michael’s family, as his baby sister is fighting for her life in hospital. The play was very moving, with the creature Skellig eventually appearing in Michael’s mum’s dream – which involved a very clever piece of physical theatre – and Michael’s baby sister being saved as a result of this.

The piece was performed by Titans and Olympians, as each house took on half of the play and swapped parts. The performance was quite physically demanding with a lot of movement onstage. Head of Drama Mrs Jenny Nunes, and Mrs Sian Pearson, commented: ‘We’re really proud of the pupils for getting so involved in this and putting on a great play for the audience. Skellig is a much-loved book, and so we tried to keep the poignant messages about love, family and friendship clear in the movement from page to stage. We were short a couple of actors unfortunately, but the pupils did brilliantly stepping up to the plate. We look forward to what these boys can achieve in Drama as they move up through the school.’

Shiplake College independent school Oxfordshire

BTEC Business pupils were keeping busy last week, heading to three different primary schools in the local area in order to teach younger students the

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basics of business. The Shiplake Enterprise Days took place at Badgemore Primary School, Shiplake Primary, Gayhurst Prep School and St Mary’s School. Accompanied by Head of Business Studies Mr Andrew White, Mr Kevin Bloor and Mr David Rose, pupils from the Sixth Form BTEC course joined classes to teach a workshop on designing, creating and promoting a product: in this case, the challenge was to create a flip-flop!

Starting the day with activities such as building the tallest structure out of string, marshmallows, spaghetti and tape was a fantastic team-building exercise, and got the pupils thinking outside the box. The main focus for the day was then introduced: in small groups, pupils were tasked with designing and developing a brand new flip-flop, and then working on ways to promote the product. The room was a flurry of activity; the ideas were hugely varied from group to group, and the Shiplake boys were highly impressed with the innovative designs. The groups created mood boards to help generate ideas, and from there put together designs that they thought would sell well. Moving forward with their chosen ideas, the groups were then onto the construction and promotion elements of the course. Helping with the days were Anna Davies, Matthew Godwin, Christian Hjortland Marks, Henry Birdsey and Andrew Fearn.

The days were very well received; meeting with the school’s community involvement aims and charitable status, introducing to local schools and students Enterprise Education. The day was a resounding success; Badgemore School said that the workshops were ‘stimulating, entertaining and relevant’ and that the BTEC students ‘guided our children with respect and maturity.’ Badgemore have written a wonderful article about the day, which can be viewed here. White commented that ‘we are really pleased with how the sessions went. They demonstrated the commitment that Shiplake College has in educating young people, and the Sixth Formers were shining examples. Thank you to everyone involved.’

Saturday 26 April will go down as a momentous day in Shiplake College’s proud rugby history as two pupils from the College represented England in

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youth team internationals. First up was Fili Savou, a current Year 11 pupil, who took to the field to make his England U17 debut against France. Initially named on the bench, Fili was thrust into the action after just 15 minutes, coming on at outside centre. The Fiji-born powerhouse made an instant impact, holding off several tackles to score with his very first touch. Fili recalls: “As soon as I got the ball I knew it was try time. It was an unbelievable feeling to score in the biggest game of my life, I was absolutely buzzing for the rest of the match.”

The second half proved to be much more difficult for England, as the French came back strongly. Going into the last few minutes, England trailed the tight match 25-22. At this point, normal tactics went out the window and desperation kicked in. Fili explains: “We were supposed to run patterns but at that stage we could not afford to take any risks. Every single player on our team was smashing the ball up the middle. We worked together brilliantly as a team and fought for each other.” Numerous short bursts gradually made up the required ground and eventually England’s blind side flanker powered the ball over the line with just 30 seconds left on the clock. The whole place erupted and the England fly half successfully converted the try to earn a 29-25 victory and avenge the defeat they suffered to France last year.

Fili, who also plays for Saracens academy, is now looking forward to moving up to the U18 national side next season. The highlight will be the junior version of the six nations championships which takes place in Italy next summer.

The second fixture at Broadstreet RFC in Coventry also saw a familiar face in action. London Wasps winger Tom Howe, who left Shiplake College in 2013, continued his own fledgling international career lining up for England U19 also against France. This match proved to be a much more comfortable affair for England, who built up a 16-3 half time lead. France briefly threatened a second half comeback, but England held firm and the match finished 28-15. In March, Tom scored on his Aviva Premiership debut for London Wasps against Heineken Cup finalists Saracens.

Photo: Fili Savou 


“Eleven members of Shiplake College’s very own touring theatre company ‘Scruffy Penguin’ will make history this summer, as they perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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This is the first time pupils representing Shiplake College have appeared at The Fringe; the world’s largest arts festival. The trip came about following the excellent successes of this year’s GCSE and AS Level examination pieces, which were both awarded top band marks. The Fringe gives the pupils a magnificent opportunity to showcase their talents to a wider audience.

Drama teachers Jenny Unwin and Sian Pearson have written a script called Homeless that focuses on a fragile community of young people, living on the street. The show features unique and exciting additions of a cappella singing and physical theatre. The characters each have their own story to tell about their past experiences, their current challenges and the dreams they have about escaping their present situation.

The group will be performing a brand new show titled Homeless. Scruffy Penguin has its own identity, including a brilliant logo designed and drawn by Sixth Form pupil George Martin. This has been used on publicity materials which will be distributed throughout Edinburgh to drum up spectators for the show. Performances will run daily from Monday 11 – Saturday 16 August. Priced at just £5 for adults and £3 for concessions, the 50 minute performance begins at 09.10 each morning at the superb Greenside at Nicolson Square venue. All support would be greatly appreciated, so if you are attending the festival why not check out the show?”

Construction of Shiplake College’s latest development project is due for completion over the summer, ready for term starting in September 2014. Named the John Turner

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Building, it will house the Music Department, complete with 2 ensemble classrooms, 7 practice rooms and a recording studio, the Art Department with three large fit-for-purpose rooms for 3D and 2D art work, and the Learning Development Department, with five seminar rooms and a classroom. There will also be a Lecture Theatre for 140 people and a modern Study Centre with a space for working in groups, a conference room and a quiet space for private study.


The Headmaster, Gregg Davies comments: “The new development means that the Music and Art Departments will have facilities that are not only built for purpose but will match the high standard that our musicians and artists already possess. A Lecture Theatre will provide the perfect platform for intimate musical recitals, a programme of visiting speakers and for use on many other occasions. Pupils of all ages will study, collaborate and research in an innovative space where the use of modern technology supports how pupils work most effectively in this digital age. Having this Study Centre and the Learning Development Department at the heart of the College reflects my desire to ensure academic rigour and a love of learning is at the root of a good Shiplake education.”

The Tithe Barn Theatre at Shiplake College was packed to the rafters in January as the Shiplake Drama and Music departments teamed up to put

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on an engaging production of Bugsy Malone.

With tickets in such high demand, two extra performances were added, yielding a tough schedule for performers of six shows in four days. This did not put the Shiplake actors off though, as they performed with infectious energy and enthusiasm from the moment the first audience took their seats on Wednesday afternoon until their final bow on Saturday evening.

Shiplake’s stage adaptation of the 1976 musical gangster film told the story of the rise of Bugsy Malone (Connor Cummings), a likeable boxing promoter down on his luck, and the battle for power between ‘Fat Sam’ (Ruaridh Sheppard) and ‘Dandy Dan’ (George Atkinson). Ruaridh did not let a broken leg suffered over Christmas hold him back, with the ‘star in the cast’ ultimately proving to be the ‘star of the cast’.

The conflict was certainly not a traditional gang war. Instead, shaving foam filled ‘splurge guns’ and custard pies were used as weapons to finish off opponents. This created a hugely entertaining spectacle, and whilst the cast remained in character throughout with some impressive American accents, the enjoyment was clear to see on their faces.

Connor (Bugsy) certainly won the hearts of the audience, but found winning the affections of Blousey Brown, played magnificently by Emily Holloway, a more difficult prospect. His quest was not helped by the meddling of Fat Sam’s girlfriend ‘Tallulah’ AKA Sixth Former Katie Webster, or his financial troubles. The latter led him into a sticky situation with Fat Sam, culminating with a dramatic car chase shown below.

Directors Mrs Unwin and Mrs Pearson did an excellent job adapting the storyline to utilise all available space in the Tithe Barn venue. Imaginative staging brought the audience very close to the action, creating a terrific atmosphere. Songs were accompanied by a live band, led by Mrs Rapple on the piano. Soloists showed off their impressive vocal ranges, notably Niranjan Rajagopal (hilariously accompanied by Lower School backing dancers) and Jordan Gibson playing caretaker ‘Fizzy’ who wowed the crowd with a storming rendition of ‘Tomorrow’.

All 88 cast members did themselves proud, including the entire Lower School who demonstrated admirable versatility to depict down and out workers, dancers, barbers, boxers and butlers!

The final scene was a chaotic melee of shaving foam, as the rival gangs converged to settle their differences once and for all. There was to be a happy ending, however, as the characters realised they could all be friends, and Bugsy made Blousey’s dream a reality by whisking her off to Hollywood.


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