CITY schools are set to receive £139m in government funding.

It's £3m more than last year - but education chiefs say it's not enough.

The cash for Southampton has been calculated with the new national funding formula, which ministers say doles out the money more evenly across the country.

But in the latest schools forum meeting head teachers said the cash is not enough, and that their budgets are already cut by five per cent.

Now the city's head of children's services Hilary Brooks has asked head teachers to help relieve "significant pressures" on cash for special schools by transferring 0.5 per cent of the £139m to special schools for the 2018/19 academic year.

Speaking to heads and school representatives from across the city Ms Brooks said education chiefs would have to do "something drastic" if teachers decided not to allow the transfer of £690,000.

She said: "That money is going to have to come out of the pot somehow. We have such a high pressure on the high needs block."

She has instructed finance managers to conduct an investigation of the council's spending on special needs, which this year is forecast to rise from £2.9m to £3.5m and which "realistically will not be met" by the end of this financial year.

City education planner Paul Atkins said "there are a very small number of pupils who are generating a significant pressure because there is no capacity in the city to meet their needs."

But Southampton's education chief and Labour councillor Darren Paffey denied the council have overspent and said the special needs deficit is due to an increase in numbers of pupils. He said: "Schools have never had so many pupils. We are being underfunded. What we need costs a certain amount.The Department for Education has acknowledged that they under-fund this city for High Needs, and that makes our job more difficult. Nevertheless we remain absolutely committed to working with schools to provide the best support and education possible for every child."

He added: "£139m is the total for Schools Block for 2018-19. It’s more money than 2017-18 but then it has to be as there are 535 more pupils across the city compared to last year, so once you take that into account it’s a below-inflation increase."

A Southampton City Council spokesperson added: "The increase is not simply extra money for schools to spend. It needs to cover the cost of additional pupils attending schools in Southampton."

Conservative MP for Southampton Itchen Royston Smith agreed there is a shortfall in funding and said: "Some of that is legitimate and they have a right to complain. But there are plenty of ways that the council could fill that deficit."

In the meeting at Regents Park Community College teachers voted to transfer the 0.5 percent.

As previously reported leader of Hampshire County Council said he was "delighted" that Hampshire schools would be getting an extra £34m - but head teachers said it was not enough.