THEY tick the box for topics within education.

Science, English and Maths are among the subjects, along with important issues such as the environment, which have brought bees to the close attention of schools.

“We are looking at bees within our science lessons,” explains Sarah Broadbent, Year 4 teacher at Low Ash Primary School in Shipley.

Pupils have been learning about the importance of bees as pollinators, how they are integral to the food chain and about the plight of their dwindling population along with the threats to the survival such as the Asian hornet and the Varroa Mite, during a two day workshop at the training apiary run by Bradford Beekeepers Association in Bradford.

They also had the opportunity to step into a bee suit and get an insight into a bee hive during last week’s sessions which also aimed to take away the fear young ones often feel when they see a bee.

Miss Broadbent explains honeybees can look similar to wasps and children often see them as a threat. “It makes it more real for them and it gives them some appreciation because this time of year is when they start coming out.”

The children also had the opportunity to see the room where the association members create their own honey, giving them an insight into how honey is being produced locally.

Bill Cadmore, training officer for the Bradford Beekeepers Association, explains the children participated in a circus of activities including bee games and honey tasting. They also looked at bees under a microscope and learned more about the honey bee using a virtual hive as well as looking through a real hive of bees.

“The apiary visit acts as a stimulus activity to enthuse students who complete science/numeracy/literacy activities in school based around what they’ve done at the apiary,” he explains.

It isn’t the first time the school has linked up with the Bradford Beekeepers Association. Pupils have previously visited the apiary to learn more about the dwindling bee population - and now they are hoping to help local beekeepers take action by creating a bee garden within their school grounds.

Miss Broadbent explains the children have been learning about which flowers and plants to include in their school garden to attract bees.

“With us having this understanding from learning all about it, and having a garden we can preserve that and encourage more bees to come to our garden at school,” explains Miss Broadbent.

“I think it is important they understand the importance of other creatures in the world they live in and it is nice they can learn all about it in a hands-on experience.”

Bradford Beekeepers Association have been busy developing their links with local schools through the schools pack they created with the help of a £9,713 grant from the Gannett Foundation, the charitable arm of the parent company of the Telegraph & Argus.

The packs, containing two DVDs, including a data disc with around 74 individual classroom and outdoor activities for various age groups relating to bees and pollinators, have so far been distributed to every school in Bradford as well as Leeds, Halifax and Huddersfield.

Some packs were sent as far afield as Kent, Wales, Los Angeles and Australia, indicative of the demand both nationally and globally to learn more about our dwindling bee population. Bill explains there are still some packs available.

As well as its work with schools the association also runs courses at Bradford University, renowned for its Eco-versity status where they hold their winter meetings.

Bill says demand, mainly from those in their 30s and 40s whose children have now grown up and are now seeking something to connect them to the natural world - has prompted them to put on extra courses.

“The need to get closer to the natural world seems very strong - gardening is popular too,” adds Bill.

Since the association launched five years ago, Bradford Beekeepers Association has gone from strength to strength and now boasts a membership of nearly 120.

Future plans include establishing a Friends of Bees group for those who are interested in bees but who don’t currently keep them.

The association is also holding another Bee Health Day on May 27 at the University of Bradford. Members of the public are welcome.

For more information about Bradford Beekeepers’ Association, visit