‘Banter VS Bullying’ – Is there a difference?

With 10 million children heading back to school this month a recent study has shown that more than a third are worried about returning because of bullying.

It’s in the news, it’s on the TV and it is still a very real problem happening in our schools all over the country.  The question has been asked whether the media and technology is part of what seems to be an increasing problem, and if this is the case it can make it even harder for schools to tackle the influences and the resulting behaviour.

Where does a harmless joke between friends end and a more serious act against a person begin? What is the difference between banter and bullying?

Below is a section of script from a scene with Millie (age 7) and her dad, who are watching the TV and discussing the big question – BULLYING VS BANTER?

NEWS                                    …and a teenager has begun a legal battle against her schoolmates for
what she calls bullying and what they call banter. This banter has taken
the form of online abuse and worse, our reporter is on the scene…

DAD switches the news off.

MILLIE                                    Daddy, what’s banter?

DAD                                       It’s a kind of grown up joking.

MILLIE                                    So is it funny?

DAD                                       Well, yes.. if I’m with my friends and I tease them about their non-existent football skills, say, ‘You’d never get picked for the team!’  that kind of thing, you know…

MILLIE                                    So how is it joking?

DAD                                       Well, banter is joking and sort of teasing, but it can feel like someone is hurting your feelings if they say something that makes you upset.

MILLIE                                    Like bullying?

DAD                                       No, because banter makes you laugh and bullying makes you feel scared.

MILLIE                                    So when Jake says I smell and he makes a fart noise that’s banter?

DAD                                       Yes, kind of, but Jake who is this?

MILLIE                                    But when he says it over and over and over again in breaktime is that still banter even though it makes me want to cry?

DAD                                       No, that’s not banter,

MILLIE                                    But it makes other people laugh and you said that’s what banter is.


©“Beyond the Surface – BULLIED BRITAIN”

Tip of the Iceberg Theatre Company

With such a complicated and vast topic how can schools find exciting, relevant and practical sessions that explore the different types of bullying, yet also combat behaviour and help pupils to consider the root causes?

According to OFSTED “In 80% of primary and secondary schools, outside speakers made a valuable contribution by bringing a wide range of expertise and life experiences to the PSHE education programme.”

Often the difficulty with outside speakers or projects is finding one that is relevant to a majority of the pupils and that can have a lasting and memorable impact.  In the last 15 years Tip of the Iceberg Theatre Company have been designing and delivering performances and workshops with this ethos at its core.  Completely funded by educational establishments their work looks to meet the needs of schools and their pupils, adapting the content to make sure that all their projects are involving, informing and inspiring.

It’s taken 4 years of research and development across the country and with over 200,000 pupils to create “Beyond the Surface” – a series of shows, based on a “fly on the wall” TV show format followed by an interactive workshop that entertains and educates to the highest standard.

Beyond the Surface –  “Bullied Britain” is a performance aimed specifically at Year 5/6 students to deal with the complex issue of bullying and the many forms it can take including; social and emotional, physical, and verbal. The 20 minute fast paced documentary format live performance serves as an entertaining icebreaker to highlight a range of issues while the follow-up workshop with trained facilitators then gives students the opportunity to relate their own lives, personalities and experiences to the events in the play, with the ultimate aim to arm students with the necessary tools and information to combat bullying in their future school life.

The show examines lots of different people and how bullying and banter affect them and their relationships, from TV show “Mates” to a serious case of cyber bullying and everything in between.

Based on the PSHE Association notes and guidance for the Core Theme of Relationships the ‘Bullied Britain’ project gives students the chance:

  • To recognise how behaviour effects other people and to respond appropriately to a wider range of feelings in others.
  • To recognise what is fair and unfair, kind and unkind, what is right and wrong.
  • To recognise what is part of positive and healthy relationships.
  • To listen to other people and play and work cooperatively (including strategies to resolve simple arguments through negotiation).
  • To identify and respect the differences and similarities between people.
  • To recognise when people are being unkind – either to them or others, how to respond, who to tell and what to say.
  • To see that there are different types of teasing and bullying, that these are wrong and unacceptable.

We also have our Interactive Friendship and Bullying workshops

A hands-on workshop with short integrated scenes to help students understand what constitutes a positive and healthy friendship and gives ways to form and maintain these friendships.

Suitable for Yrs 2-4, approx. 1hr running time for up to 50 pupils.

‘Bullied Britain’ is touring schools across the country throughout the Autumn Term. Call us for availability and a direct quote.

Prices Guide:

½ day projects start at £575 + vat
Full day projects start at £775 + vat

Email: admin@tipoftheiceberg.biz
Web: www.tipoftheiceberg.biz
Phone: 07519 593 711