Parents are being urged to sign the children up for school meals on a particular day to help increase their funding.

Hertfordshire Catering Ltd (HCL) are encouraging parents of primary school children to take up the offer of school meals on January 18, the day of the primary school census.

The number of pupils eating a school meal on that day will affect how much funding and government grants the school will receive.

Lin O’Brien, chief executive of HCL, said: "We know the government grant can be worth tens of thousands of pounds to each primary school which is why we’re offering this special menu to encourage every pupil who is eligible for a school meal to take up the offer on the national primary census day.

"Every extra school meal we serve will be worth £437 to that school, so it really is worth parents leaving the lunchbox at home and having a freshly prepared, healthy and delicious school meal instead."

In order to entice children to eat a school meal that day, HCL will be offering a special menu of Kentucky backed chicken burger, spicy bean burger, both served with potato wedges, corn on the cob and salad, and Ice Cream Factory for dessert with a range of toppings.

The Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) grant is paid to primary schools to help them deliver the legal requirement of offering free school meals, meeting the school food standards, to all their reception, Year One and Year Two pupils.