BBKA Learning Online

BBKA News Archive Magazines

BBKA Forum

Welcome to the 'Beekeepers' area which contains restricted content specifically for our beekeeping community. 
Here you will find a wide range of resources and information to support existing BBKA members and Associations.
Select from the additional menu bar above the banner image.

If you aren't already a BBKA member then you can explore your options to 'Become a Member'

Introduction to the Examinations Board

The BBKA Examinations System provides a range of practical assessments and written examinations to members culminating in the Master Beekeeping Certificate.  The Examinations Board operates independently of the Executive Committee and maintains the quality and standards of the examination system.  

There are 9 elected members of the Board with voting rights These are expected to have attained the Master Beekeeper Certificate of the BBKA Examination System There are also 4 officers on the Board, the Examinations Board Secretary, the Moderator and two assistant moderators without voting rights. Each Area Association has a local Examinations Secretary who co-ordinates exam entries and organises the Basic Assessments and the venue and invigilator for the module examinations.

The Examination Board meets formally four times each year.  The Board considers issues of budget, examination and assessment management, syllabus revisions and assessor training.  Syllabii are revised on a rotational basis when they are adjusted to keep abreast of current developments or to improve the content.  Although the Board is not bound by ADM proposals, improvements to the examination system often come from members suggestions.   

Sub-groups of the Board meet to discuss topics and prepare recommendations for Board approval.   In April the Board appoints examiners for the written module exams and assessors for the higher assessments.  These examinations are organised by the Examinations Board Secretary.  New assessors are trained each year.  Assessors are all qualified to the level above the assessment.  Module examiners are Master Beekeepers.

Nicky Campbell - Exam Board Secretary 

I’ve been a beekeeper for five years and keep between three and five colonies in suburban Sheffield. I am a member of Sheffield Beekeepers Association where I have served on the committee as Chair and Event Secretary. I have taken three of the module exams and I loved the experience and would recommend them. I love being involved in the process of providing these amazing learning experiences to beekeepers in the form of both written exams and practical assessments. I enjoy my role keeping the exams running smoothly and answering queries that come in about the exams and assessments. Its great to be able to help people and to talk to lots of other lovely beekeepers. As well as beekeeping I am a keen cook and long distance runner, two things that often go hand in hand. The prize for honey cake at my local honey show continues to elude me though. I am looking forward to talking to many of you over the coming years. Especially if you have top tips for honey cake.

Marin Anastasov, NDB - Chair

I started beekeeping in 1992 and developed my initial beekeeping knowledge and skills while I was studying towards a BSc in Animal Science. Later, I completed an MSc in Organic Farming at Aberdeen University. 

I am passionate about sustainable food production and my entire working career has been in organic food and farming. My day job involves training and development of farming operations in 35 different countries, so they can meet the required standards for organic food production. Working with farmers and growers around the world has allowed me to experience beekeeping practices in different countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and America.

I currently manage 30 colonies in Gloucestershire in 3 apiaries. The main objective of my beekeeping is honey production, but I also find working with bees rather relaxing after a busy day at work. I rear all my own queens, as well as few extra for sale to other beekeepers. To manage the quality of the mating I use instrumental insemination for those destined to be the breeder queens. 

In 2014, I became a Master Beekeeper and since, I have taken an active part in all areas of the BBKA examination system, both setting Module papers as well as conducting practical exams from the Basic to the Advanced Husbandry. In 2017, I gained the National Diploma in Beekeeping (NDB), which is the highest beekeeping qualification awarded in the UK. 

I have served on the BBKA Examinations Board since 2016 and in that time I co-authored and led the implementation of the Certificate in Honey Bee Breeding, including providing the training and support to both future candidates and assessors. I hope this certificate will provide the framework for the improvement in the skills of queen rearing and bee breeding, ultimately leading to more sustainable domestic queen production. I also supported and contributed to the development of the Honey Bee Health Certificate, which has proven to be very popular within the BBKA members. More recently, I led the scoping of the new on-line module examination system - an exciting development and an evolution from the current examination system to ensure we continue to offer the Module exams following the impact of COVID-19.  

The most important aspect of the BBKA exam system is to provide the steppingstone for constructive learning about bees and beekeeping. To that end the process of gaining knowledge by the candidate in preparation for the assessment is the most important aspect. My progression through the BBKA examination system, has undoubtedly made me a better beekeeper and I would like to encourage and support as many members as possible on their way to becoming a Master Beekeeper too. 

Stuart Roberts - Vice Chair

A BBKA Master Beekeeper having kept bees for 11 years. He has five out-apiary locations using his home base as a swarm isolation apiary. He predominantly uses 14x12 brood boxes and some nationals. In his diverse apiary locations he encounters oil seed rape and heather and rears his own queens.  In his spare time, he enjoys learning new things and passed his Advanced Husbandry Certificate in 2018 which gave him Master Beekeeper status. He also was elected to the BBKA Examination Board in 2019 and has just completed his first year in the role working mainly on the Show Judge Certificate syllabus and portfolio.

Stuart has been a member of South Staffordshire & District Beekeepers Association since 2009 and has been actively involved in the running of the club since 2011 currently holding the roles of President and Education Coordinator. He is also an active member of Solihull beekeepers which is a branch of Warwickshire beekeepers. He is part of the team that deliver their beginner training and has recently helped deliver a 2 day microscopy course.

He is passionate about passing on his knowledge and wants to be involved in beekeeper training and beekeeper training strategy at a national level. He also gets invited to speak at other associations and has written several published articles in the BBKA news, BBKA special editions and the Beekeeper's Quarterly. He is currently studying towards the National Diploma in Beekeeping (NDB).

John Hendrie - Moderator

John Hendrie has been a beekeeper all his life, as a teenager learning the craft from his father. John has managed up to 35 hives but now spends more time helping other beekeepers starting out in the craft.

He has been a member of the Examinations Board for many years having been the Board secretary from 1991 to 2006.  He achieved his Master Beekeeper certificate in 1986 and has been heavily involved in beekeeping education ever since, running courses and lecturing widely in the United Kingdom and Ireland on bees and beekeeping.  He has served several terms on the BBKA Executive committee including being the BBKA President for 2016 and 2017.

With National beekeeping organisations John Hendrie is the General Secretary of the National Honey Show. He also judges at honey shows. He is a director of BeeCraft and has been a trustee for the Central Association and BIBBA.

In his working career he was a Laboratory Manager for the Environment Agency and was responsible for the quality of the chemical analyses produced by his laboratory.

Sean Stephenson - Moderator: Written Exams

as been a Master Beekeeper since 2013 and is currently Chairman of Buckinghamshire BKA. He has been an Assistant Module Moderator on the Exam Board since 2018. This position involves, amongst other things, moderating the preparation of the Module exam papers as well as their marking. As this role is an appointment of by the Exam Board rather than a nomination at the BBKA ADM Sean is a non-voting member of the Exam Board.

Alastair Welch - Moderator: Practical Exams

I started beekeeping in September 2004 by attending courses at Blackhorse Apiaries in Woking. I then went on to attain the BBKA Master Beekeeping Certificate in 2010 and the Microscopy Certificate in 2013.  In practical terms, I initially ran a number of colonies on my own before joining forces with a friend and together we ran up to 330 colonies of bees.

I am a member of a small subcommittee for the Surrey BBKA which promotes further education in beekeeping.  As a group we have organised and undertaken workshops promoting bee education. I have also organised training sessions for the General Husbandry Assessment at both theory and practical levels. At National level I have run workshops at the annual BBKA Spring Convention, namely “Assembling your own hive” and one for “An introduction to the General Husbandry Assessment”.

I am a BBKA examiner for the Basic, General and Advanced Husbandry Assessments, also a tutor for the BBKA correspondence courses and in addition I have set one or two module theory exams. 

Shirley Bond

I started beekeeping in 2010 and took the Basic Assessment in 2011.
From the beginning I was keen to learn more. As I continued on my journey my beekeeping improved and became much more enjoyable. In 2017 having passed all the modules and Advanced Husbandry I became a Master Beekeeper. I was first elected to the exam board in January 2018 and have just been re-elected. I have helped with the revision of the Microscopy and Show Judge syllabi. In addition I set and mark modules and am also an assessor for the Basic and General Husbandry practicals.
I have been involved in beekeeping education for several years and run courses from starting out with beekeeping to advanced candle making techniques and microscopy. My aim with all teaching is to encourage people to find out more and to further their enjoyment of the craft. I enjoy showing and am currently working towards obtaining my Show Judge award.
I keep about 20 colonies, many of which are moved to take advantage of the heather on the moors about 40 miles from home. I also manage 14 colonies for my local association, where we endeavour to raise sufficient nucleus colonies to provide bees for all the new beekeepers we train.

Lynne Ingram

I am a Master Beekeeper with over 30 years beekeeping experience, and currently manage 20 colonies in 3 apiaries. I am a member of Somerset Beekeepers Association, where I hold the roles of Events Officer and Asian Hornet Teams Coordinator.

I am very involved in the education of beekeepers, teaching courses and giving presentations, and more recently initiating online study groups. I also curate and host the online Somerset Lecture Series, and organised the first South West region AHAT Training event. I have been working with beekeepers in Morocco for the last 8 years, which has given me a wonderful insight into their beekeeping practices. I have specifically been working with them on the re-introduction of the Yellow Saharan Bee to its native habitat.

I was elected to the Exam Board in 2019, and have been involved in reviewing modules and reviewing and updating the exam Reading lists. I am an examiner for the Basic, General Husbandry, Microscopy and Bee Health assessments, as well as for the written Module exams. I am also a Correspondence Course tutor. My experience of the BBKA Exam system has made me a much better beekeeper but also given me the knowledge that we never stop learning – there is always something new to know about bees!

Andrew Gibb 

I started beekeeping whilst I was at a boarding school in Somerset where the biology master gave encouragement to students to show interest in a hive he kept on the roof of his laboratory.

When I left school, Mrs B W Hamlin, a well-known Surrey beekeeper at the time, heard of my interest and gave me some hives and equipment. After keeping bees for 10 years, I attended instruction classes in Guildford run by Mrs Clark and Bob Hammond. In due course I passed the BBKA basic assessment and in the process increased my annual honey yield by 50%. This led me to eventually become a master beekeeper in 1985 and I am now a BBKA examiner. I recently published two books with Ann Harman, a US beekeeper, to help candidates prepare for the beekeeping history questions in the written exams.

I was chief executive officer of Bee Craft Ltd, the organisation that publishes Bee Craft magazine and a wide range of beekeeping books and booklet for 44 years; I have also been chairman of Surrey BKA and its show secretary.


Anne Rowberry

I am committed to developing beekeeping and improving bee husbandry; I give lectures and practical demonstrations to other Associations, belonging to Avon myself. I believe strongly in getting young people involved in learning about bees and beekeeping and in encouraging an understanding of these wonderful creatures. Since taking early retirement, after a career in teaching and charity work overseas, I am able to further pursue my interests in bees and in Chelonia.

I have been a beekeeper for 12 years and run 20+ hives.  During this time I have studied and passed all the modules and passed the practical exams to become a Master Beekeeper. I have also passed the Microscopy certificate. I give lectures, practical demonstrations and have run study groups for Modules.  I am an assessor for the Basic, Bee Health. General and Advanced Husbandry exams I set and mark papers for the modular assessments. I have delivered courses , organised study days and lectures Nationally and Internationally.

Gareth Morgan

I qualified as a Master Beekeeper in 2021 and I feel I have gained relevant experience to help educate ‘tomorrow’s’ beekeepers but I am also aware that I am still learning. 

I was a BBKA Trustee for 3 terms (8 years) and sat on the Education & Husbandry committee, as well as others, throughout this time. I was also the BBKA representative for the National Diploma in Beekeeping.  I wrote the ‘Year in the Apiary’ series in 2018 for BBKA News and the BBKA Special Issue on ‘Colony Management’ as well as other articles for both BBKA News and BeeCraft. I have also answered the Q&As for BBKA News for the past two years.

I assess the Honey Bee Health (HBH), Basic Assessments and am a correspondence course tutor. I was a speaker at the Spring Convention, jointly delivering a seminar to prospective Advanced Husbandry candidates and helped deliver the HBH Training for Tutors course at BBKA HQ.  I organise and run my division’s educational courses and taster days encouraging other members to participate in the teaching, as I know it will help them with their beekeeping and creates variety for the course attendees.

Stephen Derry

I have always recognised and promoted the importance of life long learning and personal development. In beekeeping this is no less important in order to continually develop our members’ skills and knowledge of the craft. I have spent all my working career in education as a science teacher, head of department and director of education to this end. Since retiring, I have had more time to devote to supporting fellow beekeepers in their journey in this fascinating craft. As an apiary warden of our division’s teaching apiary, I have provided both beginning and continuing beekeepers with practical experience and in leading study groups towards module exams and assessments. I am our division’s education officer and a trustee for the Surrey Beekeeping Association.

! have completed all the BBKA module exams, the Bee Heath assessment and the General Husbandry assessment. I am currently preparing for the advanced husbandry assessment in order to achieve Master beekeeper status. 

Jenny Morgan

I have been a beekeeper for 14 years and now have 30 hives. I have strived to learn as much as possible about beekeeping, pollinators and the environment. I have progressed through the BBKA modules and the Microscopy Assessment. I have passed the Advanced Husbandry Assessment and am a Master Beekeeper. I am a qualified teacher and have worked for both secondary and tertiary exam boards as both a question setter and marker. I held the position of Head of Science and have lectured at university before I retired, after more than 35 years of teaching.

Throughout my beekeeping I have sought opportunities to share my knowledge by acting as a tutor for the practical assessments and the modular exams. I am my associations Education Officer and am familiar with exam board procedures. More recently I have assisted on BBKA Queen Rearing and Microscopy Courses. I am a Basic and Honeybee Health Assessor.