Tony Janio: Chaotic administration of Brighton and Hove

Cllr Tony Janio, leader of the Conservatives on Brighton and Hove City Council
Cllr Tony Janio, leader of the Conservatives on Brighton and Hove City Council

Without giving it much thought, a consistent thread runs through my life – ‘education’.

Starting with school, of course, college in London was followed by a Ph.D. at Brighton Polytechnic.

After the Royal Navy, as an officer instructing ‘stuff’, I spent 28 years teaching the maintenance of flight simulators.

Only now, as the leader of Brighton and Hove Conservatives, have I ‘dropped out’ of education.

I have previously described how the Conservative Government required schools to use phonics, against instinctive scaremongering from Labour, and that those schoolchildren in England, wholly educated under a Conservative Government, now have the best reading skills in a generation.

Enlightened Conservative policies always receive a torrent of abuse from Labour, until they actually start to work: at this point Labour move onto another topic, trying to scare us once again.

Political parties elected on scaremongering are eventually caught out. Locally, Labour is playing a similar game: but the real problem across Brighton and Hove is their chaotic administration of the city.

A few weeks ago I noticed that, as a new secondary school for the city would no longer be required, the Labour administration had £15m of government money wallowing in the bank, available to deliver ‘basic need’ school places.

I submitted an amendment to a meeting of the finance committee, requesting the children’s committee spend the £15m on our schools as soon as possible: to address any future spikes in pupil numbers, fund a special educational needs (SEN) re-organisation and, crucially, solve the immediate problem of the ‘Misplaced 38’.

Labour, caught napping, came late to the party by attempting a ‘spoiler’ amendment at the last minute. This would have caused chaos across the education sector.

Conservatives members agreed to a compromise with Greens, and eventually Labour (who in a rather bizarre twist brought along a political manifesto to the debate), and the problems of funding are now being addressed.

It appears that in my new role I have not lost touch with providing a good education for those that need it most.

Tony Janio is the leader of the Conservative Group on Brighton and Hove City Council.