November 2023

Oakgrove School, based in Milton Keynes, have been awarded 'Beacon School' status and they are delighted that educating their pupils on the enjoyment and importance of bees in the environment has been recognised by the BBKA.   

BBKA President, Anne Rowberry, recently visited the school for a student-led tour of its apiary and to present the school with its Beacon School certificate.

The school currently has 22 hives and runs a twice weekly Bee Club.  They also share their knowledge and best practice with other schools in the area and with the local community helping to demonstrate the value of beekeeping.  They sell some of their honey each year to help fund new equipment for the Bee Club.

We came up with the idea of a beekeeping club in 2020.  I was chatting with the Deputy Head, Nic Irwin - Morris, about bees and mentioned I would love to become a beekeeper.  She asked why I wasn’t and I told her it was because I had nowhere to keep any bees. She remarked that 'we have a very large field' and that ignited a spark! 

I looked into getting some hives and put the word out that we needed a beekeeper.  Within days, Ed Reney (a local beekeeper), approached us and within a few weeks 2 hives were ordered and I started my journey as a beekeeper.  We started the club in September of that year with about 10 students and now 3 years later we have 73 students of all ages and 22 beehives on site.

The first 10 students are still with us and are now on their own journeys to becoming beekeepers. We have joined North Bucks Beekeepers Association as individual members and, as a school, the students regularly take assemblies and go out to other schools in the area telling other students all about bees and beekeeping.  We often have visitors to the school and the students show them around. This is a whole school effort as teachers and contractors to the school have sponsored our club and enabled us to buy more hives and equipment.  We also have open mornings when we invite parents and families in to see the bees. The students are so enthusiastic about the bees and our next venture is to set up one of our joint schools with there own beekeeping club.

John Leadbetter and the Oakgrove Beekeeping Club