18 months ago, Brenton Fahey started his new job at Kelso High. Brenton is now a Science and PDHPE Teacher, Aboriginal Education Coordinator and MTB Programs Coordinator.
6 months into his new job, Brenton reached out to the Principal with the idea of bringing MTB (Mountain Biking) into the school. He had previous experience and success in running MTB classes at another school. The plan was a rewards system for students, where working and contributing to school life and volunteer activities allowed them to participate in an excursion.
He started the journey by purchasing 12 MTB bikes from the local bike store for the school, which would be used by the students. This cost was fronted by the school. A year later, they now have a total of 22 bikes doing regular MTB excursions and sports days.
What started out as a way to give students an opportunity within the schooling pathway, has now developed into regular sports day activities and around 3-4 excursions a year. MTB at Kelso High creates inspiration and purpose during their schooling activities, where students are taught the fundamentals of bike safety and track etiquette in theoretical classes. Brenton hopes to eventually be able to develop an interschools competition with schools that run MTB activities.
Brenton is in charge of regular tasks and maintenance. He makes a list of requirements for students to reach and then sits down with each of the year advisors, as to which students are able to go on their MTB excursions. Brenton does a term-to-term count on infrastructure and what items need to be replaced or have maintenance work done on them. They provide gloves and safety pads, but students have the option to bring their own. The only compulsory item that has to be worn during bike excursions and sport classes is their school long sleeve MTB jersey.
On their excursions, students are able to bring their own bikes if they have gone and purchased their own. Bringing their own bikes activates a discount on the excursion fee. There are also regular fundraiser activities like BBQ fundraiser days, which allows students to help at, raising funds for the excursion costs. A percentage of their hours worked combined with the funds raised goes towards the individual student’s excursion and bike maintenance fees.
Kelso High plan on extending the length of their excursions, by giving the students tasks like cooking dinner and washing up. There is also the potential of eventually providing jerseys to students with their names on the back that they can wear on excursions and sports days.
Brenton has started many partnerships with local business’ that donate funds for their excursions and bike maintenance fees. Renshaw’s, is the name of the local bike shop who has been their provider of bikes and equipment. The aim is to eventually have all their corporate partners logos on the school’s riding jerseys.
At least 10 of the students have gone and purchased and upgraded Mountain bikes from Renshaw’s, in which they all use regularly in and outside of school. They have also had students join the local MTB club (Bathurst MTB Club) where Brenton has stated that up to 10 students have joined, with 4 students being regular riders there. Lastly, Kelso High have their own Instagram and Facebook pages, which Brenton does a heavy amount of the content. It is an area that he wants to give to the students to control and update with photo’s and news in the future, but there are of course some privacy logistics to work through.
In summary, Brenton has developed a great system within the school using MTB. Giving students opportunities that they normally wouldn’t receive, whilst also developing the students behavioural and academic skills. The selflessness and time that Brenton puts in to give the students the best schooling experience is incredible.
With plenty of work to do, Brenton would love to see more schools get involved in the MTB space and develop interschool meets and series in the future.
To see more!!! @kelsoMTB on Instagram and Facebook.