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The Independent Culture

Middle-class problems

By Simmy Richman

"If people knew what childbirth involved," someone told me and Mrs Me a week or two before our boy was born, "no one would ever have a baby." OK. Thanks for that.

Turns out they were right, though. And that was before we'd even sat down to think about where we were going to send the little angel to school.

I mean, darling, we can't possibly just buy a ticket to the postcode lottery that is school admissions, surely? Private schools cost how much? And why, in a society that is predominantly secular, do so many schools still adhere to the idea that we all have nothing better to do with our weekends than pray?

So what to do? Free schools? A work in progress even Michael Gove can't fully understand. Move home? Doesn't add up. Any house in the catchment of a school rated "Outstanding" by Ofsted will have seen its value rise by more than the cost of sending your child to Eton. Buy a small flat in a key area? Again, if you have the money to do that…

And then there is the fact that many kids in "Outstanding" schools will be receiving extra tuition, which means the Ofsted ratings are skewed anyway.

It is not in this column's remit – broadly to expose and gently mock the things that upset us – to proffer solutions to middle-class problems. But there must be a better way to ensure that our little Tobys and Olivias learn to read, write and share their toys nicely.

And in the end it comes down to this: don't all of our children regardless of background deserve a decent or, if you really must, "Outstanding" education?