A Notley High School pupil has talked her way into the semi-final of a national public speaking competition which could win her £5,000.

Scarlett Perrin, 14, of Great Notley, beat 18 others in the regional final of the Jack Petchey challenge on last Thursday, May 15, hosted by Hedingham School, near Halstead.

She said: “It’s given me a whole new perspective.

“I’ve always been into drama and am quite a chatty person but I’ve never got involved with public speaking until now.”

Scarlett faces a virtual semi-final on June 7 for a chance to speak at London’s Piccadilly theatre in front of 800 people in July.

She said: “I am really nervous because there will be a lot of people there but hopefully I can keep people laughing.”

Jack Petchey’s Speak Out Challenge aims to teach young people to speak confidently about different topics and boost their self-esteem.

Pupils from 12 schools in north Essex took part in the regional finals, giving speeches on a topic they feel passionately about.