A TRIO of Swindon schoolgirls will go head-to-head against some of the best bakers of their generation in London this month.

The Nova Hreod pupils are finalists in the Teflon Diamond Standard Awards. If they can wow the judges at the showdown at the Waitrose Cookery School in London next week, they will win a dream three-year scholarship with the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts.

But they will need to be at the top of their game. Not only are the young chefs taking on tricky competition, but they have chosen some fiendishly difficult dishes to cook up.

In the style of the Great British Bake Off, they will have just 90 minutes to prepare their dishes.

The youngest of the group, 14-year-old Abby Lloyd will be whipping up a Japanese-inspired black sesame treacle tart with salted caramel sauce and clotted cream, garnished with Far East condiment Gomashio made from sesame seeds.

“I’ve made it quite a few times,” said modest Year 10 pupil Abby. “It sounds more complicated than it is.”

The talented youngster has already competed in a couple of cookery competitions: “I’d love to own my own restaurant. I want to go travelling, work in different countries and bring the dishes back.”

Teacher Kerry Camm, faculty lead at Nova Hreod Academy, said it was unusual for three pupils from a single school to all make the final of the competition.

“We are very proud of them,” she said. “I was amazed that we had three pupils in the final. They were all good entries . I wouldn’t have liked to have chosen between them myself.”

In the end, all three girls went through to the final. Now, the teenagers are busy practising their menus and preparing any ingredients like dehydrated meringue that can be made before they head to London on the train with their teacher.

Lizzie Ainsley, 16, said she was over the moon when she heard from her teacher that she had made the final.

The school prefect, whose favourite thing to bake is a Victoria sponge, will be cooking a sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and poached pear for the judges.

“I’ve always had the dream of being a chef in a restaurant,” she said. “It’s still there. I want to do it. I love cooking – it makes be happy when other people taste what I’ve made and say they like it.”

Fellow school prefect Julia Aniola, 16, will serve an apple dish inspired by autumn. She first tried the dish on the day they were told by their teacher to prepare their menus: “The idea just came from my head.”

Blessed with a sweet tooth, Julia said she hoped to one day open her own bakery. On the shelves? Strawberry tart, her favourite thing to bake at home.

But for now she is keeping her eyes on next week's competition: “The Waitrose school is really good. One of the best in England. For me, as someone who wants to be a baker, it would be incredible to go. This competition is such a good opportunity.”

The girls will take part in the Teflon Diamond Standard Awards on January 23. Leading the judging panel will be celebrity chef Lesley Walters: “I shall be looking for the right attitude and passion for their subject. Originality and basic skills are essential along with determination and flare.”