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Shiplake College

Shiplake College - Weekly Bulletin

Dear Parents

Please see below this week's notices from the College.

Saturday Arrangements 

Please click here for details regarding Saturday 17 September.

From the Headmaster

All pupils are expected to attend school during term time, including Saturdays when required. Planned absences from Shiplake must be authorised and parents are requested to complete a Leave Of Absence form if their son/daughter is going to be away. There is a separate form for Saturday and both forms can be downloaded from the website. Absences of less than half-day will be granted at the Housemasters’ discretion and no leave of absence form is required. Where possible, a Leave of Absence should be submitted at least two weeks’ prior to the planned leave. Please send forms to and the appropriate Housemaster/Housemistress.

Mr Gregg Davies

School Buses

Please be advised that all school buses will be leaving the College for the exeat weekend on Friday 23 September at 3.30pm.

Mrs Sue Arpino
School Secretary

Year 10 and Year 11 - Co-Curricular Opportunities

As you will be aware, the shape of the Shiplake day has changed to further enhance the experiences and opportunities on offer to our pupils. We have moved CCF (Combined Cadet Force) from a Wednesday evening to a Tuesday afternoon with the intention of making it more accessible for our day pupils and appealing to our boarders. The DofE (Duke of Edinburgh Scheme) is now scheduled from 4.45pm–5.45pm on Mondays. Both of these activities offer pupils tremendous opportunities and experiences which will complement the academic curriculum and also offer chances to learn new life-skills.

I am concerned that a large number of our Year 10 and 11 pupils have not taken up these opportunities. Many boys have cited the need to do prep, which is laudable, but with prep/academic support offered each afternoon after games and activities and study periods now timetabled each week this rationale has less credence.

Please do have a chat with your sons and encourage them to reconsider taking up these opportunities, as I would be delighted if we could have them on board.

Mr Alex Hunt
Assistant Head, Co-Curricular

Settling In

The school theme for the last two weeks has been Settling In. I sincerely hope that new pupils in particular, have been helped to settle into life at Shiplake and that they have felt supported as they embark on this new chapter in their lives. I have talked to each year group and reminded them of their responsibilities in this regard. Further developing this theme, in assemblies and PHSEE sessions, many groups have talked about tolerance and the importance of accepting that we are all different, all have our strengths and foibles and must learn to be accepting and supporting. Should there be worries or when things go wrong, our layers of pastoral care are many and varied and pupils know to whom they can turn. I wish everyone a very happy, settled and productive term.


As part of our commitment to enhancing e-Safety and in line with our commitment to safeguarding, the school has installed a web filtering and firewall management system called Smoothwall. This enables us to monitor on-line activity on the school system. It generates daily reports alerting us when users are searching for potentially inappropriate sites. Only myself and one deputy Designated Senior Lead in Safeguarding receive these reports and we will be discreet and thoughtful in any action that we take, cognisant of the fact that in many cases one word or phrase in a website may trigger an alert.

Pupils sign a user agreement when joining Shiplake and this gives us the freedom to monitor usage. Rather than an intrusion into privacy, we see this as part deterrent, part education and a safety measure commensurate with our duty of care to all pupils.


A number of boys have returned after the summer with unacceptable haircuts. I have talked to a number of them who have very well defined “steps”, having requested that they have their hair “blended” over the weekend. In layman’s terms, no one should have closely shaved sides and floppy hair on top! There are very clear guidelines on hair styles in the uniform list on our website and I copy the relevant section below:

Boys’ hair must be kept short (well off the shirt collar), clean and neat. Fringes must not fall across the eyes. Hair must not be shorter than a ‘number 3’ grade and extremes of fashion and colouring are unacceptable. Boys should be clean-shaven; sideburns should not be worn lower than the bottom of the earlobe. The Headmaster will authorise House staff to take pupils to a Barber/Hairdresser locally if these rules are not adhered to.

Mr Nick Brown
Deputy Head, Pastoral

Music Lessons

Instrumental and vocal lessons started this week and there is a real buzz around the department. Our visiting musicians still have some spaces available should you wish your son/daughter to take lessons. The online lesson booking form can be found here.

There is a full timetable of Music Ensembles taking place at lunchtimes throughout the week this year, the most up to date timings of which are available on the website. We would love to see your son or daughter getting involved in one or more of these activities as an important and enjoyable expressive outlet in their busy week. If your son or daughter plays an orchestral instrument to a reasonable level (ABRSM grade 3 or 4 and above) then I would be delighted to see them at orchestra on a Friday afternoon when we will be working on Bach’s Sleeper’s Wake and the Downton Abbey Theme. The Shiplake Chorus performs at full College Services and is the choral heartbeat of the College. All are welcome to join Mrs Rapple Moore in rehearsing a Queen medley in preparation for the Winter Concert later this term. There are more soul-inspired ensembles such as Big Band and Rare Groove, the latter requiring singers as well as instrumentalists. Please encourage your child to ‘Just Try!’ and give some of these ensembles a go!

Mr Richard Curran
Director of Music

Year 12 and Year 13 Psychology, Philosophy and Art and Photography New York Trip

After the success of the Psychology and Philosophy trip to New York in 2015, we hope to run the trip again during February half term this academic year while also including the Art department. The main point of interest will be the 9/11 Memorial Centre which links closely to topics studied in all three departments. There will obviously also be time for sightseeing, shopping and hopefully a sports fixture. A provisional date of Friday 23 September at 3.30pm (coincides with exeat) has been booked for a talk in the Lecture Theatre, where a more detailed itinerary and costs will be discussed. To confirm your attendance, or declare an interest if you are unable to attend the meeting, please email Mr Ebbage (

Mr Richard Ebbage, Miss Lizzie Morgan and Miss Chloe Mordue

Academic Support Time

As part of our new timetable, there will now be a designated time of Prep/Academic Support every day for all pupils (4.45pm - 5.45pm). During this time, pupils will either be working in House or will be able to work with teachers at the many support sessions offered by individual departments. Please find the link to the timetable of Prep/Academic Support sessions offered this term here:

Prep Timetable

To help pupils plan their prep and manage their work, there is a Prep Timetable for each year group. Whilst every effort will be made to stick to this timetable, please note there may be occasions when teachers will need to give prep on a different day. Please be assured that if this does occur, pupils will still be given ample opportunity to complete their prep.

Parents’ Conferences 2016-2017

The dates of this year’s Parents’ Conferences are now in the College Calendar:

Autumn Term                     

Sixth Form Subject Fair
Wednesday 5 October (Sports Hall, 6.00pm - 8.00pm)

Year 7
Friday 14 October (Sports Hall, 5.00pm - 6.00pm)

Year 9 
Tuesday 18 October (Sports Hall, 3.30pm - 5.30pm) Exeat

Year 13 
Friday 25 November (Sports Hall, 3.30pm - 5.30pm) Exeat

Spring Term                   

Year 11
Friday 20 January (3.30pm - 5.30pm) Exeat

Year 8 
Friday 27 January (Sports Hall, 5.00pm - 6.00pm)

Year 12
Friday 10 February (Sports Hall, 3.30pm - 5.30pm) Half-Term    

GCSE Subject Fair
Thursday 23 February (Sports Hall, 6.00pm - 8.00pm)

Year 10 
Friday 10 March (Sports Hall, 3.30pm - 5.30pm) Exeat

Mr Paul Jones
Assistant Head, Academic Studies

RFU Concussion Education Code of Practice

The RFU, our national Constituent Bodies and partners are determined to ensure that we lead the way in keeping the welfare of our players at the forefront of all we do. Therefore we, alongside ERFSU, would like you to commit to a four-step Concussion Education Code as follows in your school: 

  1. All staff coaching or refereeing contact rugby to have successfully completed the 30-minute Headcase Concussion Awareness Course for teachers and parents available here.
  2. All players in extra-curricular contact rugby in Year 10 and above to have successfully completed the 20-minute Headcase Concussion Awareness Course for players available here.
  3. All players in curricular rugby in Year 7 and above to have watched the 7-minute ERTV Concussion video available here.
  4. Rugby parents in the school to have been signposted to the Headcase Concussion Awareness programme here.

Mr Sam Beckett
Head of Rugby

Lower School - Literary Festivalplease see attached

Lower School - Author Visitplease see attached

Mrs Eleanor Hallam
English Department

World's Biggest Coffee Morning

The College is once again supporting the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. The event will take place on Friday 30 September from 8.00am - 10.00am in the OVR. All parents, guardians, grandparents, staff and other members of the College community are warmly invited to attend. The Parents’ Association will be running a cake stall and parents are encouraged to bring a cake as part of the fundraising effort. Baked or bought goodies can be dropped directly to the OVR or to Reception by 8.00am. Guests are encouraged to make a donation in return for their coffee and cake (to be consumed that morning or taken away!) so please do bring change. It is always a lovely morning and a good opportunity to meet other Shiplake parents or catch up with old friends; we very much hope to see you there.

Mrs Katherine Green
Director of Marketing and External Relations

Email Disruption

It appears that some emails sent from and to Shiplake accounts on Monday 12 September, from around 2.00pm to 6.00pm, did not reach their intended recipient. If you sent an email but have not received a response, it is advised you resend. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Mr Neil Walne

News from the College

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