COUNCIL bosses have been criticised for having a “limited ambition” to improve the achievement of the city’s school pupils.

Brighton and Hove City Council’s approach to education has been criticised by a visiting party of council bosses.

The Local Government Association peer review into the city council’s performance also questioned the slow response to the schools crisis which could see 750 pupils without a school by 2021 and leave students facing long trips to school within four years.

It said the council had poor relations with both major private employers in the city and its own trade unions and was “lagging behind” other councils in the way it operates.

But the council was praised for City Deal and a ‘supportive environment’ for its staff.

The review reported a “clearer sense of direction” in the last couple of years through “greater leadership”.

But the council was told it faces serious challenges in housing, educational and health inequalities and in the coming years “more radical solutions” will be needed to meet the funding shortfall.

Councillor Warren Morgan, Labour group leader, said the report raised questions about the failure of the Green-led council to tackle poverty, schools places and cash cuts.

He said: “The council needs to look hard at how it can ensure services continue to be delivered in the face of over £100 million in cuts by the Conservative government.”

Conservative group leader Councillor Geoffrey Theobald said the council “desperately needs modernising”.

He said: “The Green Administration, with backing from Labour, is being nowhere near radical enough in making savings by looking at the way it delivers services, such as through commissioning from the community, voluntary and independent sectors.”

Council chief executive Penny Thompson described the report as “helpful and fair” but said it “pulled no punches”.