Large parts of the 20,000 pages of online advice for teachers on curriculum reforms were necessary, the boss of Scotland's national education body has said.

Bill Maxwell, chief executive of Education Scotland, said much of the guidance was an "appropriate response" at the time it was published.

The extent of the advice on the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) emerged last year amid concerns that teachers were overwhelmed with unnecessary and unclear guidance.

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Much of it is to be stripped back to the minimum.

Mr Maxwell defended its publication as MSPs quizzed representatives of the Curriculum for Excellence board on how such a high volume of advice had been allowed to build up.

He said: "I would argue much of it was appropriate response at that point in time when it was requested, and served a useful purpose for a period of time and then has a natural time-span.

"For example in the very early days we were modelling learner journeys before the new curriculum model existed, so there was some guidance about what new pathways through a senior phase curriculum that didn't at that point exist might look like."

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He said these models "can disappear" as "more practical" real life examples emerge.

"I won't pretend every piece of advice we've put out ever has absolutely hit the mark," he added.

Pressed by Labour MSP Johann Lamont on whether the 20,000 pages were necessary, he said: "Large parts of it were."