A pupil who delivered a "powerful message" about identity and discrimination was among 11 students chosen to represent her school at a public speaking competition.

A group of 50 Year 10 students from Burnt Mill Academy, in Harlow, took part in the Jack Petchey “Speak Out” Challenge and spent a day learning how to deliver a speech.

Hadiya Rehman was selected to represent Burnt Mill in the west Essex regional final alongside 11 other students.

She performed her speech, Identity, based on identity and discrimination, specifically the discrimination Muslim women face when they wear a hijab.

English teacher Jordane Oso said: “It was amazing to see all 50 students grow in confidence during the day.

“Hadiya was chosen to represent Burnt Mill as her speech was clearly conveyed and well structured. It was not only articulated brilliantly, but conveyed an extremely powerful message. Seeing her perform at the regional final was heart-warming. She did Burnt Mill proud.

“Many students began the day quite nervous and apprehensive. However, by the end of the day every student had delivered a speech to their peers about topics quite personal to them. It was lovely to see how they all supported one another and cheered each other on.

“They learnt how to have their voices heard in a positive way, stage presence and confidence from the challenge.”

All Year 10 students will receive the training later in the school year.