When Nickael Briggs started her new teaching job, the hardest thing wasn't adjusting to a new group of students.

It was walking up the four flights of stairs to get to her classroom.

That's because at her heaviest, the Mitcham woman tipped the scales at 21 stone.

"You needed to have a disability to use the lift and I didn't want to ask, so I had to walk up the stairs and get sweaty and out of breath," Nickael said.

"I was given a class of year 11 students who were demotivated and likely to fail their GCSE’s.

"I had a huge task ahead to motivate them to work hard and achieve well in their exams."

Although she never doubted her ability, she did wonder what those impressionable kids may think when they look at her.

"My initial thoughts were that the kids in this new school would look at my appearance and think 'how are you going to get me through my GCSEs,' she said.

"First impressions are really important and I thought that if I was going to be encouraging people to meet their targets, then I needed to meet mine too."

So each Monday she and the class would check in on each other and discuss the progress we they were making towards the targets.

By the summer, Nickael had lost a whopping nine stone and the students had succeeded in their GCSE results.

Fair to say she is enjoying her new look.

"It's the best feeling ever," she said.

"I couldn't have done it without the students. I was always quite a confident person, but now I feel unstoppable.

"I can wear clothes I like and not simply because they ‘make me look slim’. I have changed my life and health for the better and nothing beats that."

But that isn't the end of her journey.

She has been selected to represent the UK at the International Slimmer Awards where she will compete against nearly 20 other countries.

"My physical weight loss has helped build my confidence and my students have benefitted from a teacher who is energetic and enthusiastic about leading assemblies and planning exciting trips and events," Nickael said.

"Before, I wouldn't put myself out there because I would always feel self-conscious. Now I'm more confident in meeting new people."

To vote for Nickael and help her take out the title, click here.