This year has seen the introduction of free school meals for all schoolchildren aged four to seven.
The £1billion flagship policy was launched by the Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and rolled out to all schools in September.
But it seems the East of England has one of the lowest take-ups in the country with almost two in ten children taking a packed lunch instead.
ITV News Anglia's Sarah Beecroft went to one school in Hitchin to find out how the free meals are going down there
Hundreds of fans marched through Hitchin in protest at plans to build a supermarket on their team's pitchRead the full story ›
A man has died following a car crash in Weston near Hitchin this morning.
A blue peugeot hit the wall of a property on Hitchin Road at about 3:15am, no other vehicles were involved.
A man in his 30s from Hertfordshire passed away at the scene.
This is a tragic incident where a man has sadly lost his life and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.
I am appealing for anyone who was in the area and saw the car during the night and leading up to when the collision took place to come forward.
Any information provided could help us to piece together the circumstance of this collision.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police via the non-emergency number 101.
Road closures are currently in place on Hitchin Road in Weston at the junction with Lannock Hill while investigations continue.
Detectives are investigating reports of a man being stabbed at a house party in Hitchin over the weekend.
Police say there was an altercation in the garden of the property in North Place at about 12:30am on Saturday. It is alleged an 18-year-old man was then stabbed.
He was taken to Lister Hospital where he is currently in a stable condition.
This young man appears to have been very lucky to survive the wounds he sustained.
We are aware that the party was very well attended and that it is possible there are a number of witnesses that have yet to speak with police.
We need to establish exactly what happened during this incident and so I would urge anyone who has any information about what happened to contact us or report what they know completely anonymously via Crimestoppers.
An 18-year-old man from Stevenage has been arrested on suspicion of assault and has been bailed until October 25.
Anyone with any information can contact the North Herts Local Crime Unit via Hertfordshire Constabulary’s non-emergency number 101, quoting crime reference G1/14/2349.
Alternatively call Crimestoppers, the independent charity, anonymously on 0800 555 111.
The RSPCA is appealing for information after a family pet was shot with an air rifle in Hertfordshire.
The six year old cat has been left with three broken bones after the attack.
The incident took place near the owner’s property in Cadwell Green, Hitchin, Hertfordshire on 25 July.
The RSPCA said it has received more than 250 calls about animals shot with air guns between June 1 – July 31. In Hertfordshire alone, there is a reported 150 per cent rise in calls to the RSPCA relating to air gun attacks.
“We need to find out urgently how this happened and who’s responsible for such a callous act. Luckily Archie is responding well to treatment but this was a horrible attack on a defenceless animal.”
Under the Animal Welfare Act, if someone is caught deliberately using an air gun to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal, they could face a £20,000 fine and/or up to six months in prison.
Anyone who witnessed this attack can report it by calling the RSPCA.
Police in Hertfordshire are investigating reports that a man spied on an 11-year-old boy while he was in a changing room cubicle in Hitchin.
Officers have released an e-fit image of someone they would like to speak to in connection with their inquiries.
The incident reportedly happened at about 6.05pm on Tuesday June 24 at a swimming pool in Fishponds Road.
The victim was getting changed when a man entered an adjacent cubicle and looked over to watch him.
He is described as being white, between 5ft 7ins and 5ft 9ins tall, and of slim build.
“This incident has understandably left the victim shaken as it is a total invasion of his privacy. We would like to identify this man as quickly as possible."
Police are appealing for help to trace a man from Hitchin who is wanted in connection with a serious assault.
Twenty-eight-year-old Ricardo Johnson, whose last known address was John Barker Place, is wanted in connection with the assault on a woman in her 20s in the town on Friday.
Anyone who has seen Ricardo or knows where he is should contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
The British Schools Museum in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, has been given a major grant of nearly £90,000.
The money from the Heritage Lottery Fund will be used to develop the museum's learning programmes.
The grant will fund the appointment of a Learning and Access Manager for the next 3 years.
"Whilst our fantastic volunteers will remain absolutely vital, we will now have an experienced and highly-qualified museum professional to lead and develop our provision of learning activities and engage with a wider range of audiences."
Spokesperson, British Schools Museum
The manager will also work to improve links between the museum and the local community.
The families of two 27 year old men who were killed in a car crash near Hitchin this weekend have paid tribute to them.
Sean James Doherty had recently lost his father Neil. He also leaves behind two year old twins Logan and Ruby Mai. In a statement Sean Doherty's family said:
"No words can describe the pain we feel,
We know you’re safe and re-united with Neil.
You will always live on through Logan and Ruby (Mai),
We miss you so much and love you truly."
Friends say the two men grew up together in nearby Westmill and had been close since childhood. John-James Mcerlean's family said in a statement:
"We are devastated by the sudden loss of our son, brother and friend, John-James McErlean. We thank everybody for their support and thoughts at this dreadful time. Our hearts go out to the family of Sean Doherty. Friends in life, together in death. They will both be missed."
Hertfordshire Police are investigating the cause of Sunday's crash, when the BMW the two men were travelling in came off Arlesey Road in Ickleford at around 2.45am and hit a tree. It's not believed any other vehicle was involved.
Police are appealing for anyone with information to get in touch.
Friends of two men, who were killed in a car accident over the weekend, have been paying tribute to them today, saying they will be missed by the entire community.
The men were named locally as John-James Mcerlean and Sean James Doherty, both aged 27.
The pair were killed in the early hours of Sunday morning when their BMW came off Arlesey Road in Ickleford near Hitchin and hit a tree. It's not believed any other vehicle was involved.
Mourners came to the scene of the crash to lay flowers and candles in memory of the two men. A friend of John-James Mcerlean told ITV News Anglia:
"He was just a lovely guy, massive heart, loved everybody, was always the life and soul of the party, and it's just such a sad loss. He was loved a lot by everybody, slightly crazy sometimes, but that's what we loved about John. He was just a lovely guy and will be sadly missed."
Police are investigating the accident which took place at approximately 2.45 on Sunday morning.
They are appealing for anyone with information on the men's movements just prior to the crash, or their plans later that morning, to get in touch.