Rules governing the restraint and seclusion of children in schools and other local authority settings are to be standardised and amended following the threat of a legal challenge, the Herald reports today.

Education Secretary John Swinney has promised new guidance after legal proceedings were brought by the Equality & Human Rights Commission and the Children and Young People's Commissioner, which alleged that current policies and practices were inconsistent across different authorities, and inadequate to protect young people from human rights violations.

The rules apply to physical restraint and to the confinement of a child, for example in a locked room. An investigation last year found that practices were mostly unmonitored, and varied widely between authorities.

Under a four point plan now agreed by Mr Swinney, new rules will be drafted with input from young people and their families. These will be advisory in the first instance, but made legally binding if necessary to secure compliance. Among other things they will ensure that all incidents are recorded in a standard way across the country.

The petitioners welcomed the decision and said they would now drop their case.