Interview with Sara Fletcher, Science teacher and Head Beekeeper at Shrewsbury School

How long have you had bees at the school? 

The beekeeping society was set up in 1973 and has run ever since. The school is very proud of having such a quirky society.

How did you become the 'school beekeeper'?

 I'm a Biology teacher and have always been fascinated by beekeeping. When the current head of beekeeping society was retiring he seemed like the perfect time for me to take over.

What’s the benefit of keeping bees in school? 

The interest of the students and their wish to keep bees for themselves outside of school.

What is the biggest challenge? 

Keeping the bees alive! Especially through the winter. We struggle to produce much honey at all from our bees and certainly no excess - we leave on what is produced for the bees through the winter.

Has it had a profound effect on any of your pupils? 

Yes, one has completed his EPQ project on beekeeping by designing and making his own top bar hive. Two of our recent cohort now keep their own colonies at their homes. A few who struggle in academic areas of school life get great enjoyment from practical beekeeping.

What would you say to others’ thinking about taking the leap? 

Get as much support as possible and lots of resources and activities to keep you busy during the October to March time of the year where practical beekeeping is generally not able to take place.

This picture shows the children being assessed for their Junior Certificates in Summer 2019

This picture shows the children receiving their certificates and badges after passing their assessments !

With schools' membership, the school can enter pupils into the Junior Assessment for free. Here is a link to the syllabus - Junior Certificate

For more on Beekeeping and Schools go here