Beekeeping and school visits

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Joined
Aug 17, 2019
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Location
Bath
Hive Type
National
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My children’s secondary school have asked if its possible for a couple of students to visit my apiary next year to look at the bees. From what I understand so far, they will only be observing. Before I get back to them I want to be clear about what is involved. I’ve thought of the following:
PPE- suit, boots, gloves
Insurance - school & me?
Permission from: parents/carers
Permission from landlady of apiary site
Risk Assessment

I have two apiaries, so was going to choose the one which has more space surrounding the hives.

Thanks
 
Leave the risk assessment to the school ... it's their responsibility but they may consult with you, Similarly, parental permission is their responsibility, As for insurance ... what are you going to get cover for ? I doubt that any insurer would give you cover against bee stings ! The school will have cover for anything pertinent in relation to school trips. The less involvement you have in their side of things the better.

I'd just give them an outline programme of what you intend to do - are they going to have a member of school staff with them ? If not then you could be at risk as you would, defacto, be in loco parentis. You really do need two people - one to do the beekeeping and one to keep an eye on the audience.

Be clear about apiary rules so they are aware - bees are stinging insects and their stings can cause anaphylaxis - you might consider erecting a mesh screen if you have room to separate the viewers from being directly in the bees flight path.

I've had lots of children over the years watching me with my bees but always with another adult present and i've restricted inspections to colonies that I know don't give me any issues.

It's always a good idea to start with a talk about the bees and beekeeping away from the apiary before you suit up and go to the apiary - it gives them an idea of what they may see and experience and gives you the chance to set the ground rules before you are knee deep in bees. A debrief with a taste of honey at the end usually finishes the experience on a high note.
 
I'd just give them an outline programme of what you intend to do - are they going to have a member of school staff with them ? If not then you could be at risk as you would, defacto, be in loco parentis. You really do need two people - one to do the beekeeping and one to keep an eye on the audience.

These days you may also need a DBS check though that may depend on exactly how you're going to interact with the children. It's free if you're volunteering (at least mine was) and the school can probably help out with that too.

James
 
Thanks. Good ideas. They will have a member of staff with them. I’ll think about what you have suggested.
 
These days you may also need a DBS check though that may depend on exactly how you're going to interact with the children. It's free if you're volunteering (at least mine was) and the school can probably help out with that too.

James
Fortunately I have an enhanced DBS as I work with vulnerable adults and young people.
 
These days you may also need a DBS check though that may depend on exactly how you're going to interact with the children.
I've done school talks - including ones in a special unit for autistic children, and they've never asked me for a DBS ticket
 
I've done school talks - including ones in a special unit for autistic children, and they've never asked me for a DBS ticket
Because in that situation you are not in loco parentis ... there is a person (teacher) who holds that responsibility so a DBS clearance is not required. If you were running a school apiary and actually in charge of a group of children then you would. Parents who accompany school trips or are involved on a voluntary basis in the school will normally be required to be DBS cleared.
 
If you were running a school apiary and actually in charge of a group of children then you would. Parents who accompany school trips or are involved on a voluntary basis in the school will normally be required to be DBS cleared.
Neither of those seems to be the case though - the school is asking for her to facilitate a visit to observe the bees
 
Given that she's already got one, it shouldn't be an issue anyhow :)

The rules do seem to change often and arbitrarily though, perhaps depending on the school or group of schools in question. Last time mine was renewed wasn't because it had expired, but because I'd not done anything at the school for more than three months (not exactly difficult when you consider that the Summer term is often taken up by exams and then after the holidays it can take a couple of weeks or so for everyone to get themselves organised at the start of a new school year). I've never come across that before.

James
 
I would think long and hard before even considering it. Most importantly for you, is your relationship with the landowner of your sites and to a lesser or greater degree, the security of your bees.
I wouldn't risk losing my apiary and suggesting a bunch of kids visiting site may be enough to make some land owners feel less enthusiastic about hosting honey bees at all.
 
I would think long and hard before even considering it. Most importantly for you, is your relationship with the landowner of your sites and to a lesser or greater degree, the security of your bees.
I wouldn't risk losing my apiary and suggesting a bunch of kids visiting site may be enough to make some land owners feel less enthusiastic about hosting honey bees at all.
Good considerations Steve. I’m not certain about it so wanted to explore all the issues prior to meeting with the headteacher. She is a determined lady, so I need to be prepared.
 
Neither of those seems to be the case though - the school is asking for her to facilitate a visit to observe the bees
Exactly ... there should be no DBS issues. Having said that ... there are some schools and organisations that seem to feel the need for a DBS check for anyone who even so much as comes near ....
 
Good considerations Steve. I’m not certain about it so wanted to explore all the issues prior to meeting with the headteacher. She is a determined lady, so I need to be prepared.
If it was your land the bees are on, it's solely your decision. I worry that a request like this may set off alarm bells with your landlord/s, after all, the agreement was for X amount of hives and a beekeeper visiting to tend the bees.
Personally, I'd explain they are not on your property. She could also explore the possibility of a school apiary.
 
These days you may also need a DBS check though that may depend on exactly how you're going to interact with the children. It's free if you're volunteering (at least mine was) and the school can probably help out with that too.

James
DBS checks only required if you are going to be alone with children. If they are accompanied it's not an issue
 
There's a fairly comprehensive section on the BBKA website about school visits, national curriculum etc. You might want to have a scan through it.

Over here in the West one of our local associations has a bee tent, which they use for visits. I'm not suggesting you go that elaborate but they should be able to give you pointers as to how they do it, insurance if you need it, waivers on stings etc

https://swanseabeekeepers.org.uk/bee-tent/
 
There's a fairly comprehensive section on the BBKA website about school visits, national curriculum etc. You might want to have a scan through it.

Over here in the West one of our local associations has a bee tent, which they use for visits. I'm not suggesting you go that elaborate but they should be able to give you pointers as to how they do it, insurance if you need it, waivers on stings etc

https://swanseabeekeepers.org.uk/bee-tent/
Thank you. That’s really helpful. I’m thinking against a visit to my apiary and instead doing something in school.
 

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