A TEN-YEAR-OLD school pupil took on city education chiefs in a row over funding cuts.

Adam Pearce, a year six pupil at Valentine Primary School, was part of a 100 strong crowd marching up the Civic Centre steps to address council leaders.

Organised by the Southampton Fair Funding for Schools group, the deputation was a bid to stop cuts to school funding.

It comes just days after union leaders and teachers held a meeting with council leader Councillor Chris Hammond asking him to write off Valentine Primary School's £648,000 budget deficit.

The Hands Off Valentine campaign - lead by National Education Union - say teacher redundancies at the school are being caused by national funding cuts as well as the school's higher than average number of pupils with education and health care plans.

Now teachers have threatened to strike if staff jobs go.

But MPs and council leaders are at loggerheads over the cause of the deficit. Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith says the council can decide how much the school budget is reduced by.

Speaking to the Echo he said: "It's purely political. I have sympathies with Ms Filer about SEND funding.

"But that's a council issue. The deficit has to be sorted out with the council."

City education boss Cllr Darren Paffey says the deficit is due to government cuts.

He told campaigner at yesterday's meeting: “You’re taking aim at the wrong people.

“Blaming the council, I’m afraid, does nothing and lets the government off the hook.

“You’re right to be concerned about what is happening in your school and so am I. But I have to look at and support all school in the city, and not just this one.

“More money for Valentine will mean less for others. No one has come here today with suggestions as to which schools will need to miss out.

“This decision (by School’s Forum) will not be overturned.”

Leader of Southampton Fair Funding for Schools campaign Nick Chaffey said: "People were coming out of the meeting calling Darren Paffey a liar.

"Whose side are the council on here?

"The deficit represents 0.005 per cent of the council's budget of £192 million.

"If a family does a weekly shop and spends £192 that's the price of a Mars Bar.

"Is the council saying it hasn't got the means to fund the price of a Mars Bar?"

Sarah Richards, who has a son at the school, said: “I love this school and so do the children.

“However, I’m scared.

“The fact is our population is growing and funding for education is being cut.

“The children currently in school will be the adults of the future and a lack of direction now will only impact their futures.”

Adam Pearce, year six pupil and chair of Valentine school council said: “I keep hearing my parents talk about how my dad’s salary does not pay for enough.

“The things that council tax pays for does not seem to be getting any better and still services are being cut.

“If the council can ask for my parents for more money [from council tax] then why can it not ask the government for more money for schools?”

Head teacher Liz Filer added: "The fact that people gave up time in their holiday to come to a council meeting shows the depth of feeling that there is about this issue."