Currently 57% either bring in packed lunches or buy something from outside school costing parents around £1bn a year.

The Government said these meals often contain too many sweets, fizzy drinks and fatty foods and the money would be better spent on healthy school lunches.

Announcing the plans, Education Secretary Michael Gove said: “What I’d like to see is a greater take up of school food.

“As a result of this; more children eating school lunches and fewer having packed lunches, more children being healthier and more energetic throughout the day, and the nation, as a result, benefiting from improved brain power.”