Ashbrow School is situated on the outskirts of the market town of Huddersfield. Known for its high quality cloth and textiles, it sits in the foothills of the Pennines and boasts some lovely countryside around the Colne and Holme Valleys. Famous for hit TV series Last of the Summer Wine, it is a beautiful part of the world.

Ashbrow School has had a fully operational apiary for the past 11 years, housing 10 colonies. Every child in school, from early years through to Year 6, have the opportunity to learn about the bees and work with them as part of their outdoor learning experiences. 

All year groups experience one full outdoor learning day each term, during which time they are taught the skills of beekeeping, bee breeding, harvesting and selling their honey and hive products, candle and cosmetics making, along with learning about bee diseases through hands on microscopy and bee dissection lessons.  We are also focusing a lot of our attention this year on gardening for pollinators, with an exciting new project lined up for 2025. 

“Our children love the bees! They learn such a lot through hands on experiences like this. Our children inspect the hives, learn about bees and beekeeping and each year have a go at bee breeding through grafting, cupkit, and cell punching techniques, honey extraction and bottling, and candle and cosmetic making.  We welcome other schools to our apiary, where they can have a taste of what it’s like to work with the bees. We offer help and advice to anyone who wishes to learn about bees and in particular setting up beehives in schools so please get in touch.  We are very proud of what we have achieved and what is still to come. The joy that beekeeping brings to our school is priceless. We are committed to providing an outdoor environment that cares for all our wildlife and all our pollinators and offers our children experiences that they will never forget, and we will continue to do so in years to come.” 

We sell our honey and products every year at our Harvest Festival and it always proves incredibly popular. 

The children learn about bee breeding and every year produce nuclei of bees to sell.  We have provided other schools and beekeepers with bees and look forward to this every year.

We pride ourselves on getting everyone involved and our parents are given the opportunity to spend time with their children on their outdoor learning days.  They too enjoy time with the bees! 

We love all our bees and pollinators and continue to provide areas around school that are full of nectar rich plants.  We are currently developing a specific area within school that will be dedicated to monitoring and surveying our visiting pollinators including our native species of bumblebees. This is our 2024 project. We feel this vital work is needed in order to keep our population of bees and other insects happy and healthy. We will be planting an array of both nectar and pollen rich flowers that are native to our area so that they may thrive in an environment that is abundant with food.

Our apiary grows from strength to strength each year, and we intend to continue for many more years to come.

Yvonne Kilvington, Ashbrow School, February 2024