Last Friday (26 January), I enjoyed two extremely interesting visits to schools in Redditch. First, I was taken around Birchensale Middle School by headteacher Tim Jones and head pupils Seb Fyield and Cristina Ricci, both from Year 8. I was very impressed with the community and pastoral work being carried out at the school, including in the teaching of English as a second language to pupils and parents and their Chatty Families learning group. Involvement in the community is a very important part of school life, as is the individual tuition and care of pupils who are undergoing some sort of problem in their life.

I also popped into meet Sarah Callanan, headteacher at St Stephen’s First School in Abbeydale. The school is single form entry, and so is quite small, but each of the classes has its own, very impressive, outdoor forest area with related equipment. This was fantastic to see and I was particularly encouraged to see muddy play is so actively encouraged! Their partnership activity with other local smaller schools is also to be commended.

On Saturday I gave a reading at the annual Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations in Redditch. This marked the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau and the annual event provides the perfect opportunity for everyone to reflect on the tragic events of the Holocaust, and subsequent genocides, to make sure these terrible events are never repeated. Earlier in the month I had, along with other MPs, also signed the book of commitment produced by the Holocaust Educational Trust, another sign of the pledge to see an end to these acts of atrocity.

I have been asked make constituents aware they may still be eligible for the Warm Home Discount this winter. The Warm Home Discount is a scheme which allows some constituents a rebate of £140 off their electricity bill. You may be eligible if you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit or you are on a low income and meet British Gas’s criteria for the scheme. You can still qualify if you use a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meter. If you are a British Gas customer I would encourage you to get in touch with them as soon as possible as the scheme will close soon.

Visit https://www.britishgas.co.uk/energy/energy-saving/warm-home-discount.html or call 0800 072 8625 for details.