My 1980's primary school was home to tepid bottles of milk, ramshackle terrapins and identically-clad kids in hand-me-down C&A coats and ice cream tub lunch boxes. Every child in the neighbourhood went there, regardless of family income, house price, religious or political persuasion. It was a proper microcosm, a dog poo-encircled centre of the community. It was fab.
My kids' state school is not like this. Somewhere down the line Ofsted, league tables and catchment areas conspired to change the landscape of state education and we've found ourselves in a bit of a bourgeois bubble.
If you can tick anything off the following list, your kids' school is probably ridiculously middle class too...
(1) Hipster Kids
Children with names straight out of the scullery at Downtown Abbey (I'm guilty of this) spill out of school at 3.15 dressed in vintage style pinafores and T-bar shoes sourced from obscure French websites. There's always one sheepish-looking parent who in a moment of exhausted weakness, caved and allowed little Ernest a Power Rangers rucksack.
(2) School Run Yoga Gear
While the children's wardrobes keep Johnnie Boden in country houses, the mums' uniform comprises lycra and artfully messy updos. Rather than engaging in downward facing dog post drop-off though, they can usually be observed doing the 'coffee shop-facing dash', seeking soy lattes and hot gossip.
(3) PTA Extravaganzas
While the summer fete, with its bunting, craft ale and Pimms bar is the fundraising highlight of the PTA calendar, the grown-ups' only events are noteworthy for their 'middle England-ness'. From the black tie balls to the country walks. The battle for victory at the parents' quiz night is more aggressively fought out than the Oxbridge boat race. Will the coveted winners' title go to the team of vicars and hedge fund managers or the local councillors and geologists?
(4) Professional Standard Costumes and Cake Bakes
Never is a calendar date less keenly anticipated by parents at a middle class school, than that of World Book Day. Woe betide the parent who at the last minute tries to pass off a nylon Asda Elsa costume as a literary figure when the playground's full of Swallows and Amazons and Railway Children.
The same goes for cake bake days, a pack of Mr Kipling fondant fancies won't cut the mustard when Tabitha's mum treats the whole thing like her own personal bake off. The irony is that the lurid Tesco value ones sell first, while lovingly home-baked offerings often linger at the end and have to be slashed to BOGOF before being sent home with Tabitha in a Tupperware.
(5) Term Time Ski Holidays
It's all very well putting a ban on term time holidays but what exactly are families supposed to do when Val d'Isère's best snow falls outside of school holidays? Write a persuasive / begging letter to the Head, that's what. The playground's always a little emptier from January to April and Facebook's always a little fuller of pics of ruddy-faced kids in salopettes.
(6) Freakishly High Church Attendance
Ours is a Church of England school and the local congregation is disproportionately chock-full of young families with 3 or 4 year olds. It's a constantly shifting congregation though. Families often find themselves suddenly indisposed on Sundays from mid January, which coincidentally follows the deadline for primary school applications. This also ties in nicely with the aforementioned ski season.
(7) School Run Ponies
Accompanying yoga pant-wearing mums on the school run or 'working from home', chino-clad dads, is often a small dog and the occasional pony. I kid you not. While a battered Raleigh Denim was my transport of choice home from school (or a Morris Marina on a good day) a welsh pony is a genuine option for some fortunate 21st century kids.
Recognise any of these? I wish you the very best of luck. Most of all I wish you minimal weekends spent inventing diaries for that bloody class teddy...remember, there's always Photoshop.