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Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of “central belt bias” after new research revealed that the education gap between Scotland’s heavily populated urban centre and northern councils had doubled.

In Greater Glasgow 47 per cent of pupils achieved Sturgeon’s “gold standard” of five Highers, compared with 39 per cent in the Highlands, Islands and Grampian.

The gap has doubled from four percentage points in 2016 to eight percentage points last year. A nine-point gap has also opened up between Tayside and the west of Scotland.

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