Re: Any lawyers present?
IANAL, but ...
There is a subtle distinction between a property owned by the public (so a public property) and a place where any member of the public can go/take photos freely (a public place). If the school was a public place, any member of the public would be able to enter it and wander up/down it's halls, which they are obviously not allowed to do. So yes, the council was _probably_ within their rights to ban the photography.
Secondly, you _do_ vote your local council in, so they are just as much the public's representative and are not subservient to M(S)Ps . Arguably they have a stronger mandate in local matters than your M(S)Ps (and definitely your MEPs) because when voting for your council you only care about local issues, but when voting for your M(S)P you normally are voting on national issues.
Still, can see the current lot of councillors not doing very well next election.