Staying Safe and Healthy
Kooth is a free online service that offers emotional and mental health support for children and young people. When you sign up you can choose an avatar, which helps to keep you safe and anonymous. You can have a “drop-in” chat with a counsellor or therapist or book a one-to-one session.
Kooth’s counsellors and therapists are available until 10pm, 365 days a year. You can talk to other young people anonymously on the forums whenever you like, and keep an online journal. Subscribing to Kooth means you can read its online magazine and maybe even write for it. You can also use Kooth to set goals with your online counsellor or therapist and keep a record of how you are doing. Evidence suggests that Kooth can help children and young people with a range of emotional and psychological problems.
Who is it suitable for?
Kooth is suitable for children and young people aged 11 to 19 (25 in some areas). It can help with lots of different problems, including family problems, eating disorders, loneliness, bullying, anxiety and depression.
How do I access it?
If you’d like to sign up with Kooth go to http://www.kooth.com/ and enter a user name and password. Then click on the dropdown menu to see if Kooth is available in your area.
If Kooth is available in your area, you’ll need to enter some information about yourself. None of the other young people who use Kooth will be able to see this so that you can stay safe and anonymous.
Will I have to pay?
No, Kooth is free.
Getting to and from School
Walking to school
Walking is a great way to get to school – it’s healthy, free and doesn’t create pollution. It also reduces traffic congestion during the ‘school run’. Walking to school also gives older children independence. Once they know their route and can cross roads safely, they can walk by themselves or with friends. It is important pupils walk on the footpath and do not accept a lift to school from people they do not know!
Cycling to school
Cycling is another great way to get to school. However, young people aged between 11 and 15 are more likely to be injured on the roads than any other group, so they need to be aware of the dangers. If your child cycles to school, make sure their bike is in good working order, and that they wear a helmet and reflective jacket. Work out the best route, with the least traffic.
Driving to school
If walking or cycling aren’t possible, there are several ways of getting to school by road:
- public transport
- school buses
- family car
Driving your child to school with empty seats in your car is the least environmentally-friendly way to get them to school. However, it’s still the way many pupils get to school. If this is your situation, it’s worth taking some time to see if you could organise it any other way, at least on some days. Your child may be eligible for free school transport. Your child will qualify automatically if they are aged between five and 16 and attend the nearest suitable school, and the school is further away than the ‘statutory walking distance’ (two miles away for children aged seven and under; three miles away for those aged eight and over).
Help may still be available for children who don’t qualify automatically, for example, if they are from low-income families or if they have special educational needs or disabilities. To find out more, it’s best to check with your local authority. The website www.direct.gov.uk is also very informative.
Travel tips for secondary pupils
- Practise your child’s journey with them before they start secondary school.
- Choose busy times, not in the middle of the day.
- Make sure your child is aware of potential danger points – looking carefully before crossing busy roads, taking extra care at bus stops.
- Make sure your child keeps their possessions safe, e.g. mobile phones, keys and money.
- Talk with your child about what they would do if something unexpected happened, eg if there was a security alert on their bus and passengers were asked to leave.
- Talk with your child about what they should do if they felt threatened, eg if they felt an adult was following them or behaving oddly on public transport