We are delighted to announce that Bede's Zoo has become an Educational Associate with the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA).
With more than 100 zoos and aquarium members across the UK and Ireland, BIAZA helps to support these organisations in their commitment to be at the forefront of conservation, education and research. By becoming a BIAZA Educational Association, Bede’s school zoo demonstrates its dedication to conserving the natural world through research and conservation programmes and to educating and inspiring its pupils to do the same.
Bede’s Senior School is one of only a few schools in the UK with its own zoo. Opened in 2011 and extended in 2018, Bede’s school zoo is home to over 70 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish and invertebrates. The zoo provides the cornerstone of the Sixth Form BTEC Animal Management course, which since its launch in 2013 has seen over 60 students complete the qualification (the majority at Distinction level) and go on to further studies and careers in veterinary medicine and nursing, zoology, and conservation. Deputy Head, John Tuson, confirms the school’s commitment to the zoo in its midst: “That we are able to offer such innovative and exciting courses within the school is what Bede’s is all about; that we can have within our zoo Black Lemurs, Erckel’s Francolins and a colony of Brazilian Guinea Pigs is truly wonderful”. The zoo is also the location for one of the school’s most popular activities: the Zoological Society.
Dr Christoph Schwitzer, Chair of the BIAZA council and from Bristol Zoo, comments, “I have always believed that a zoo can provide an infinite number of learning opportunities. It is brilliant to see such a superbly presented and maintained collection as part of a school in this way, and we are delighted that the Bede’s Zoo is now a member of the full professional zoo organisation.”
Helen Poyser, Zoo Manager at Bede’s Senior School, adds, “Becoming a member of BIAZA is a proud accomplishment for Bede’s Zoo; it enhances our commitment to educating the next generation about conservation and animal welfare. We hope that it will lead us to being a part of more captive breeding programmes, such as our current Hazel Dormouse project, allowing our pupils to first hand see the positive impact that zoos and aquariums can have on protecting our natural world.”