Buzz as Ormiston Victory Academy Costessey moves into beekeeping

A buzz is being created at Norwich's newest academy – thanks to a cash windfall to buy two swarms of bees.

Ormiston Victory Academy Costessey has received �2,500 of Awards for All cash to pay for two beehives, protective equipment, training – and 120,000 bees.

Now its students are looking forward to the sting in the tail – producing their own jars of 'Victory honey'.

The unusual project is being overseen by the academy's environmental and outdoor learning co-ordinator Pauline Williamson, who said: 'The idea came from someone who visited the academy to present our Norwich in Bloom award.

'They came to our wildlife garden and said 'have you considered having beehives?' We've got all the pollen-rich flowers which are what bees need. There's a big drive to reverse the decline of honey bees, without which many of our foods would not grow because they would not be pollinated.'

Mrs Williamson and fellow teacher Ben Rogers have started a 10-week basic beekeeping course with Stewart Spinks from the University of East Anglia's Beekeeping Society.

She will also be visiting a commercial beekeeper who is looking to 'downsize' his business and is prepared to sell two hives to the academy – once those who will look after them have 'hands-on experience'.

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She said if all went to plan, the academy could have the hives in place by April or May.

Mrs Williamson added: 'Small groups of students will be shown the workings of the hive. They will get involved in the honey production and use the honey in their food technology lessons.

'We will also be working with the community, and want parents and families to come in and learn about beekeeping. Hopefully other people will then start up their own hives.'

Principal Rachel de Souza said: 'We are always looking for new ways to teach students the importance of our environment. We have conducted all the necessary health and safety checks for the hives and students and staff are very enthusiastic about such an innovative addition to the curriculum. I'm looking forward to tasting the first jar of Victory Honey.'

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Recycling scheme gets share of lottery cash – see page 46.