Idsall Proving to Be Top of the Class for Sport...
Idsall School's sports stars are preparing to jet off to Saint Tropez this month to celebrate a fine school season.
The tour will give the youngsters a May half-term to remember, as they embark on the luxury town on the French Riviera.
The trip, held by the school every two years, follows 2014's venture to Lake Garda in Italy.
After becoming a 'sports college' in 2001, the Shifnal based school are continuing to push the boundaries across a broad range of sports.
Football, rugby, netball or tennis - whatever the competition - Idsall have reeled off some impressive results in recent times.
The year seven boys and year 11 girls will both head into regional Futsal finals in Birmingham in May after coming through their Shropshire qualifiers on top.
This month will see Idsall's girls and boys football teams compete in seven football finals while the year eight boys have already won the President's Plate.
It is not just with a round ball that the talented students excel, as the school's rugby teams have landed multiple titles.
The year seven rugby side have so far landed two of four county cups and remain unbeaten all season - winning 17 out of 17 matches.
The year nines are aiming for a unique grand slam next year. After claiming the county cup at year seven, eight and nine, they are targeting a fourth successive title.
A successful campaign saw them take down Adams Grammar School in the group stages, before memorable wins against Wrekin College in the semi-final stage and Shrewsbury School in the final.
On the tennis court, a group of year eight boys have netted a county cup competition. They now look ahead to a regional tournament later in the summer.
Dominic Bradburne, head of sports development at Idsall, insists the school's achievements are down to the tireless work carried out by committed staff. "I oversee the sporting programme but we're a massive team", said Bradburne, who has been at the school for 12 years and became head of sport in 2007.
"We've always been a good sporting school, but it's a huge effort, we can have kids all over the place. A lot of it is extra curriculum stuff that is outside of the teacher's contracts - meaning it is all voluntary.
We have 12 other PE staff and other subject teachers that help out too, whether that's driving the minibus or whatever".
Idsall also joined forces with students from Bishop's Castle Community College, Church Stretton School, Oldbury Wells School, William Brookes School, Ludlow Church of England School and Lakelands Academy as the East Shropshire collaborative came out on top in the School Games, across both summer and winter forms.
"Our philosophy is across all sports, " Bradburne added, "A lot of schools focus on just one or two sports but we try to give opportunities for all sports."
Idsall stuck to that philosophy, entering students - and Bradburne himself - to the National Biathlon finals in Crystal Palace.
"There were about five or six thousand enter in each age category," he added. "Josh finished ninth and Aaron came 15th - it wasn't bad for a school without a swimming pool to make the national finals!"
Proud headteacher Pete Bourton insisted sporting success is almost engrained in the school's DNA.
"It identifies us," Bourton said. "I'm immensely proud. It is not all about winning, we take pride in the numbers we have taking part. We've got more successful each year and our range is growing.
"The teachers volunteer because they believe in sport - we believe sport is the glue that holds on the school together. It helps leadership skills and is great for their health too."
Pictured above are Idsall's unbeaten year 7 rugby side.
Article by Nick Elwell, the Shropshire Star's Grassroots Editor