Bede’s Senior School Opens Zoo Extension


On Thursday 6 September, Bede’s Senior School celebrated the extension of its bespoke Animal Management Unit with an official opening by Dr Christoph Schwitzer, Chief Zoological Officer of the Bristol Zoological Society.

The event welcomed Bede’s parents, pupils and staff – as well as representatives from Drusillas Park, Chessington World of Adventures and the Zoological Society of East Anglia – for tours, speeches, and drinks and canapés.

Bede’s Zoo has been extended with six brand-new enclosures, housing African birds, Madagascan lemurs, and South American squirrel monkeys. The zoo – which originally opened in 2011 – currently hosts over 70 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish and invertebrates.


The zoo forms the cornerstone of the Sixth Form BTEC Animal Management course, as well as one of the School’s most popular activities, the Zoological Society. Since Bede’s started offering the course in 2013, nearly 40 pupils have completed the BTEC qualification, with the majority achieving distinction level. Pupils who have undertaken the course have moved on to study veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing, zoology and conservation.


John Tuson, Academic Deputy Head at Bede’s Senior School, says, “With the extensive development of our various animal enclosures, the arrival of a number of new species, and the appointment of the zoo’s first manager, 2018 has been a very busy year for the Bede’s Zoo.

“With the opening of the new extension, Bede’s has a truly unique facility: a zoo which is a teaching resource, which enables pupils to learn and to pursue their interests, and which allows pupils to participate in national and international programmes for the benefit of wildlife.


“The Bede’s Zoo is not, primarily, a facility for sightseers: it is a working part of a school rather than a visitor attraction. However, each month we welcome many groups to the school zoo – from local schools, disadvantaged children, from our own Prep School, or anyone who is interested in the work we are doing. In this increasingly digital age, there is a lot to be said for the benefits of spending time with a Ring-tailed lemur, or a Kinkajou.

“We look forward to seeing the zoo blossom over the next few years as an increasing number of pupils embrace and enjoy the academic, co-curricular and holistic opportunities the facility brings.”

Pictured top: L to R John Tuson, Academic Deputy Head at Bede’s; Paul Juniper, Teacher of Science at Bede’s; Dr Christoph Schwitzer, Chief Zoological Officer of the Bristol Zoological Society; and Helen Poyser, Manager of Bede’s Zoo

Learn more about Animal Management at Bede's >

Learn more about the Zoological Society at Bede's >