A nationwide survey of school meals has seen an improvement in popularity this year of less than one per cent.
The School Food Trust found that take-up in primary schools went up by one percentage point. Four in ten children under 11 now eat school meals.
Just over a third of secondary school children dine at school, an increase of half a per cent, those looking for teaching jobs
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The trust warns against a direct comparison to last year's survey which had less rigorous methods. Prue Leith, the trust's chair, was 'heartened' by the latest results which show a more 'genuine picture' of take-up.
"We now have a genuine picture of take up across the country and we can see that real progress is being made the length and breadth of England," Ms Leith said.
The School Food Trust was established by the DCSF in 2005. They aim to improve the quality of school meals and help promote health in education.