FITZWIMARC School’s head of PE has praised his pupils for helping them win the state sports school of the year title.

Danny Cowley said if it wasn’t for the dedication and hard work of Fitz pupils, the school would never have picked up the title.

“It is a fantastic achievement and a credit to the kids for their hard work and their endeavours,” said Mr Cowley.

“It’s a two-way thing. Our kids are great and a credit to the school.

“They are really good children who you want to be around and who you are willing to go that extra yard for.”

The school won the award from the annual School Sport Magazine.

Judges praised their “dedication to providing all pupils the chance to succeed at both a local and national level.”

FitzWimarc has won an incredible 65 district, county and national titles this past year.

Highlights include having three teams qualify for the English Schools National Track & Field Athletics Cup final, with two of those teams becoming national champions.

While in gymnastics, their under-16 boys finished second in the national championships, while their under-13 boys came fourth in the national schools trampoline finals.

Mr Cowley added: “Our kids are remarkable. They all live in Rayleigh and are able to get in early and stay late after lessons to train – and that really is a cornerstone of our success.

“And the fact south east Essex has so many other amazing schools in terms of sport also helps.

“There are the two Southend High Schools, Eastwood and King John. The competitiveness between all these schools has really driven up standards. I don’t think there is another area like this in the country.”

As well as Danny Cowley, the FitzWimarc School PE department is made up of Nicky Cowley (head of boys), John Bradley, Tom Hughes, Claire Rooney (head of girls), Michelle Knott, Colette Maskell, Kate Cowley and Lynne Kelly.