THERE is no more smug sound than the words “good school” uttered by a middle class mouth.

You can imagine the parents of rosy-cheeked teenagers poring over this week’s school league tables and giving a wee mental pat on the back as they reassure themselves of how well they’re setting up young Delphinia and little Alphonso for a comfortable future.

I wonder if the parents who are delighted to have their children in a “good school” allowed their eyes to linger on that third numerical column, Deprivation.

I wonder if they noticed a correlation between how well a school performed and how deprived that school’s children are.

The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) is now used instead of Free School Meals to judge the affluence or otherwise of any given school. Scores are split into five quintiles, one being most deprived and five being least deprived.

At Williamwood, in East Renfrewshire, in the most recent data of school leavers, 88 per cent of pupils are in the two most affluent quintiles, 70 per cent of those in quintile five.

Not too far over the border in Glasgow is Castlemilk High School where 82 per cent of school leavers are in quintile one. Last year it was 90 per cent. There were none in quintile five.

Every year to accompany these league tables there is a pleased looking headteacher surrounded by blazer-clad teenagers looking equally pleased because their school is top.

I always feel a little embarrassed for these head teachers. There is no doubt these youngsters with piping round their lapels work hard. But how many of them are supported by private tutors? How many of them are coming to school hungry? Or truanting because by the time they check their mum hasn’t died of an overdose in the night then drop their younger siblings to primary school, they’re shattered?

Much success is the work of the school but much is the work of circumstance.

The Scottish Government's Commission On Widening Access last week suggested allowing pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to gain entrance to university with fewer secondary qualifications than those from affluent backgrounds. Middle-class parents cried foul, complaining university entrance would become a two-tiered system.

If a two-tiered system is unacceptable at higher education level then why is it acceptable at secondary education level? While league tables say very little about a school, they certainly speak plenty about how children in certain schools are segregated by social class.

Parents have strong opinions about private schools. But no one really discusses the parents who move for the schools.

These parents pay tens of thousands of pounds over the odds for properties in exclusively middle-class catchment areas and then say, with pride, they stuck to their principles and sent their child to the local school.

Moving for the schools is worse than going private. Going private at least nails your colours to the mast. Moving to East Renfrewshire, say, is for those who want to pretend they're morally better than the private school route while not taking any chances.

I spoke to a chap who mentors a child from a Glasgow school. His kid goes to one of your typical “leafy suburb” secondaries. “Literally like Beirut,” was how he described the Glasgow school. I’d wager it was not literally like Beirut and perhaps his own schooling wasn’t up to much if he’s made it thus far without grasping the correct meaning of “literally”.

It's fearmongering and misunderstanding and, frankly, nonsense like this that convince middle class parents to form fortresses of prohibitive property prices around "good" schools and create a pseudo-private system.

None of this makes sense. The middle class child might go to a school where five per cent of pupils gain five Highers. They might go to a school where 70 per cent of pupils gain five Highers. But, being well supported, having books at home, having parents who promote the value of education and who can help with homework, it doesn't matter which school they attend - they'll still gain their five Highers.

Is it bullying middle class parents worry about? Do they think middle class children can't be cruel? Do they worry their child is uniquely unfit to cope? If it's a lack of extracurricular activities then that shows some ignorance of all the many and varied opportunities taking place in the "not good" schools.

It’s socially laudable to bray the words “I want the best for my child,” and, supposedly, unchallengeable. Of course. Mildly disadvantaging your child for the sake of the greater good is not the acceptable thing. But why is it a point of pride to care only about your own offspring and to hang with anyone else’s?

It's not a stretch to assume that people who want to have children would have an interest in children and their welfare generally.

But “I want the best for my child” is at odds with wanting the best for all children. Why, if you don’t care about children, are you bothering to make more of them?

Supporting your local school should be the thing, not creating middle class enclaves and stuff everyone else.

When it boils down to it, school segregation is about ensuring your children mingle with double-barrelled surnames and not hyphenated first names. There's nothing to be proud of about that.