STATE pupils have been encouraged to eat a school meal tomorrow to boost funding.

Schools across the country will take part in the January census tomorrow, collecting information about their pupils and workforce.

Census days take place during the autumn, spring and summer terms and require schools to feed data to the government, such as attendance figures and the number of pupils enrolled.

The amount of funding a school receives increases in line with the number of eligible pupils taking a free school meal on census day.

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Several Oxfordshire schools have said they will be serving popular dishes such as fish and chips tomorrow, in hope of tempting more children to take a meal.

A newsletter circulated by New Hinksey CE Primary School on Friday said: "Please help us secure as much funding as possible by having fish and chips on Thursday.

"There is a school census being taken and the numbers taking up the universal free school meal for reception and Years 1 and 2, plus the number of children who are entitled to have a free school meal in older classes and who actually take it up on Thursday, determines the size of some of our funding streams.

"Therefore we will be having our most popular fish and chip meal on Thursday and not Friday."

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Abbey Woods Academy in Berinsfield will also serve fish and chips tomorrow, stating in a newsletter on Friday: "Chip shop day will replace the current menu on 17th January only.

"We ask parents to help us by encouraging the children to take a school dinner on this day."

Bayards Hill Primary School in Barton has also opted for fish and chips tomorrow posting on its Facebook page: "The Government calculates part of our school funding based on the number of pupils having a school meal on census day.

"Please support the school by encouraging your child to have a school meal on this day."

Children in reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are automatically eligible for free school meals, while eligibility of older children depends on certain criteria such as being on benefits.

Information collected tomorrow, paired with information collected during the October census, will influence how much funding a school gets in the 2018-19 academic year.