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Bullying or banter?

28 June 2012

Ofsted has published a report suggesting many schools do not have sufficiently clear bullying policies in place and that teachers are unclear where the boundaries lie between “bullying” and “banter”.

The report identified language used in both primary and secondary schools, often relating to race, religion or sexuality which can be dismissed by schools as “banter”.

Ofsted’s Director for Education and Care, Susan Gregory, said school staff need better training to deal with different types of bullying that occur.

Teasing and banter are an important part of the school playground environment and derogatory terms can be used without intention to insult. Nevertheless it is important that children are reasonably protected against any language that is intended to cause harm.

The report serves as a reminder of the importance of schools having clear policies in place to address bullying and behaviour that include appropriate definitions of bullying so that teachers are clear when they are required to intervene and are confident in doing so.

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