Memories came flooding back last week as I saw kids waving goodbye to their mums and dads as they entered ‘big school’.

I remembered when I was an anxious 11-year-old making a giant leap from the cosy little primary that had nurtured and cared for me into the Great Unknown.

I remembered how nervous I felt as I stood at the school gate buried inside a uniform large enough to use as a tent (it would be a perfect fit now).

My grandfather was a saddle maker and had hand-stitched a real leather briefcase for me.

I must have stood out like a toff in a chain gang when a much older boy approached me in the playground.

“Nice bag you’ve got there, Big Ears,” he said.

An Enid Blyton fan...clearly we were kindred spirits.

“Thanks, my granddad hand made it for me.”

“Your granddad hand made it?”

“Yes he’s very clever.”

“And tell me, Noddy...”

(Another EB reference – this conversation was going rather well) “Have you ever had your hand made bag slashed?”

"No never.”

Whereupon he produced a large jackknife and sliced it across my briefcase.

“Well you have now...welcome to Ardwick.”

I made a mental note never to allow this ruffian to join my Secret Seven.

I’m guessing that type of harassment has now been replaced by cyber bullying which is far more damaging than a slashed school bag.

Exclusion and personal insults are hard to take at any time but to a sensitive child entering a new school they can be devastating. Big Ears and Noddy would be horrified.

By Guardian columnist Vic Barlow