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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 January 2006, 10:08 GMT
Integration highlighted in study
Pupils at gate
Schools in Scotland have received top marks for being egalitarian
State schools in Scotland are far less socially divided than those in England and many other rich countries, according to a report.

The study of 27 industrialised nations was compiled by experts from the Institute for Social and Economic Research.

Scotland shared top ranking with Norway and Finland for the broad social mix in the classroom.

Researchers found comprehensive schools in England were more divided.

They also discovered that segregation was not simply down to the number of private schools.

The most divided systems were in countries such as Austria, Belgium and Germany where there were both academic and vocational schools.

More than 400 years ago, Scotland became one of the first countries in the world to start educating children from poorer families alongside the better off.

The new findings emphasised that Scotland's egalitarian culture has continued.

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