One in four teachers think “banter” is a serious problem in their schools, a poll has found.
More than three in five (62%) teachers agree there is a fine line between banter and bullying, according to the survey commissioned by the Anti-Bullying Alliance.
The poll, which questioned nearly 900 teachers in the UK between May and June, found 37% believe the effects of banter online are serious and 26% think it is a serious problem within their schools.
More than four in five (84%) teachers said they have received no training on how to deal with banter and 64% said their school had no policy on the issue, according to the survey by Nottingham Trent University researchers.
The Anti-Bullying Alliance – which is part of the National Children’s Bureau charity – is urging everyone to think about the role banter plays in bullying and how it can be tackled as part of Anti-Bullying Week.
A separate questionnaire, of nearly 65,000 pupils in England between November 2022 and February 2023, found nearly one in four children (23%) said they were being frequently bullied.
Pupils in receipt of free school meals (28%) and those with special educational needs or disabilities (29%) are more likely to report being frequently bullied, according to the Goldsmiths, University of London research which was carried out for the Anti-Bullying Alliance.
Alliance director Martha Evans said: “Banter is a fun part of communication, but too often bullying behaviours are dismissed as ‘just banter’.
“Recognising the fine line between banter and bullying is crucial for the development and emotional wellbeing of our children. We want to see schools having these conversations with pupils this Anti-Bullying Week.”
Professor Lucy Betts, from Nottingham Trent University, said: “Our research has shown that there is a fine and subjective line between banter and bullying.
“In most cases, sharing jokes and banter with friends can be fun and can help strengthen these friendships. However, when the banter stops being funny or when it crosses the line of acceptability, these behaviours may become bullying.”
Children and families minister David Johnston said: “Bullying is never acceptable, which is why this Government is committed to working with schools to create good behaviour cultures and to improve approaches to tackling bullying.
“We’ve created behaviour hubs across the country, included teaching respect and inclusivity as part of the RHSE curriculum and provided more than £3 million of funding to anti-bullying organisations to support their vital work.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub