At least the council now deserves credit for issuing a political apology. But merely to "suspend" the guidelines under the threat of court action rather than withdraw them before a return to the drawing board is not the most gracious exit. We are left to digest a political fudge.
Child protection is, of course, notoriously difficult. Those who take sensitive decisions are damned if they do, damned if they don't. But what is surely necessary is clarity. Local authorities have got themselves into this kind of bother before by issuing guidelines which are then interpreted as a "ban." So one lesson from this very unseasonal episode is that councils have to decide what should sensibly be left to headteachers'
discretion and what should not, rather than trying to have it both ways.