MSPs are now five times more likely than the average Scot to be privately educated, according to research carried out by The Herald.

Fully 20 per cent of politicians elected to Holyrood last month went to independent schools, up from 17 per cent last in the last parliament.

That compares with an average of around four per cent for the general population in Scotland and challenges the long-standing view that MSPs should be "representative" of those they represent.

The rise is the proportion of MSPs whose parents paid for their education is mostly thanks to the resurgence of the Scottish Tories.

Thirteen of the 31 Conservative members of parliament are independently educated, half of all of those MSPs who went to private schools.

However, the latest batch of Tories by no means all live up to the stereotype of "posh schoolboys" that characterises, say, the cabinet of Eton-educated David Cameron in Westminster. The proportion of privately educated MSPs in Conservative ranks in Scotland is actually falling. One only MSP, Alexander Burnett, went to Eton, while another, Donald Cameron, attended Harrow. Coatbridge High has more old boys and girls than Eton, two, including Tory Margaret Mitchell.

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Professor Paul Cairney of Stirling University has been watching the backgrounds of MSPs for years. He stressed that Scottish Parliament was still more "democratic" than Westminster.

He said: "We tend to view these figures through the lens of 'new politics', with devolution sold partly as a way to broaden recruitment to create a 'political class' more representative of the population.

"A focus on education is a rough but useful proxy for class, with private schooling followed by an Oxbridge degree the usual indicator of an elite 'ruling class'.

"There are far fewer MSPs than MPs from fee paying schools, but a lot of this is to do with the balance of power between parties because the Conservatives are far more likely than Labour to have come from private schooling.

"You also have a far higher level of private schooling (and University education) among MSPs than the general Scottish population."

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The gap between Holyrood and Westminster, however, has narrowed. The proportion of privately educated MPs fell from 34 per cent in the 2010 intake to 32 per cent now.

Back in Scotland, Labour is far from a bastion of comprehensive education. Five of their 21 MSPs went to private schools, including fiery leftist Richard Leonard and the party's former deputy leader, Anas Sarwar.

The SNP was the party that came closest to representing the population, with under 10 per cent of its politicians, six of its 63 MSPs, coming through private schools. This included one, Mairi Evans, who won a scholarship to a private school and did not pay fees. Others groups in parliament are probably too small to be meaningful samples, but two of the six Greens were privately educated and none of the five Liberal Democrats.

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Careful education watchers, however, stress that comprehensive schools in affluent towns, suburbs and neighbourhoods are just as successful as private ones at getting their old boys and girls in to parliament. So comprehensives Hyndland Secondary in Glasgow and Ayr Academy each have three MSPs, just like George Watson's and Hutcheson's Grammar. Equally Madras College in St Andrews, Marr College in Troon, Bell Baxter High in Cupar and Inverness Royal Academy both boast two MSPs, just like the fee-paying Edinburgh Academy, Glasgow Academy and Stewart's Melville in Edinburgh.

Sixteen MSPs in total went to comprehensives currently ranked, by The Herald, as among the best performing state schools in the country. Given how many were educated at schools which no longer exist, that is a pretty high number. The divide in Scottish education - as recent controversies over the attainment gap shows - is not just between fee-paying and free schools.

The secondary school your MSPs attended