Parents are often being left behind and kept in the dark when it comes to the education system, MSPs have heard.

Holyrood's Education Committee was told many parents resort to "cajoling" information from their children on their schooling because they are not involved enough in the process.

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The committee was taking evidence from representatives of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) management board, which makes recommendations to the Scottish Government on the school curriculum.

Joanna Murphy, of the National Parent Forum of Scotland, said while the group is well represented on the board, parents are often left out of the wider education system.

"The whole process often passes us by," she told MSPs.

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She added it was "telling" that the committee had taken two hours to get on to parents.

"We were kind of mentioned in passing a couple of times," she said. "This is not a battle between parents and everyone else, but I think parents have a lot to give to this.

"We have been on the management board since it started, but in very many other parts of the education system we get brought in at the end just to rubber-stamp, or we are told what's happening, or even worse we're not really told what's happening."

Seamus Searson, general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, said teachers' voices must also be heard more.

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Although the union is also a member of the management board, he said: "We're one voice in a number of voices there. It doesn't really give the prominence of the profession in some of the decision-making.

"If you take, for example, the issues of workload and the changes to the national qualifications, the unions pursued those matters outside of the CfE management board to make those changes."

The unions had been a "voice in the wilderness asking for immediate change", while there are no teaching unions at all represented on the implementation group for CfE.