Our school canteen uses a cashless system at the tills. This allows for multiple payment options and speeds the flow of students through the dining hall. It also allows free school meals to be claimed without other students being aware of this – FSM eligible students use the system in an identical manner to other students.
This cashless system is the only way to pay for items from the canteen at break and lunch.
Every student has an account with a balance of money in it. This account can be topped up with a debit or credit card online through our WisePay system. When a student arrives at the till with their food, they will identify themselves with a thumbprint or an ID number. The cost of the meal will be deducted from their account.
A thumbprint will be taken in school on your child’s first day with us. The system does not take an image of the thumbprint; instead it derives a pattern from a selection of unique points on the thumbprint and converts this pattern into an alphanumeric string. This string is then stored in a secure, encrypted database running on school equipment.
When your child presents their thumbprint at the till to purchase food, this alphanumeric string is generated by the reader and compared to the stored data. At no time is any image of a fingerprint ever stored for retrieval.
If you opted out of biometric registration, your child will be issued a 4 digit ID number instead. When purchasing food they can type this number into the till to identify themselves. A photograph is displayed on screen to make sure ID numbers are not used by other students. Unfortunately, numbers allocated cannot be changed in order to prevent clashes on the system.
The cashless catering system is closely integrated with our online payments system, WisePay . This system not only allows you to top up an account 24 hours a day but also to review any top ups made in school with cash. Details of your child’s last ten purchases are listed in “myWiseAccount” so you can see what has been purchased each day. WisePay will automatically send out low balance reminders by email and text, giving you sufficient notice to top up your child’s account. Balances can be checked online at WisePay 24 hours a day.
One of the major benefits of the cashless system is that it allows Free School Meals to be claimed completely discreetly. Any student claiming Free School Meals will use the system in exactly the same way as other students – even the till operator will not be aware that the money has come from a Free School Meal allowance.
Free School Meal accounts will have a daily allowance of £2.75. The first £2.75 spent in a day will be deducted from this allowance. It can be spent at any time during the day – break or lunch – but does not roll over to the next day.
Students claiming Free School Meals can ‘top up’ their account the same as anyone else; this balance is used if your child spends over the £2.75 daily allowance.
With this system we are hopeful that all students eligible for Free School Meals will apply for them. We are keen for your child to have a good meal every day and for you to take full advantage of the support available to you. Additionally, a lot of government funding (such as the Pupil Premium) is now tied to Free School Meal claims; a student who claims Free School Meals for only a single term allows us to claim additional funding for the remaining time that the student is with us.
Accounts have a daily spend limit on them – currently £4.00 a day. Students will not be able to spend over this amount in a day. £4.00 comfortably allows a student to eat at break and lunch with drinks, and we believe it is a sensible amount. However, if you would like this limit changed for your child, please contact the school with details and we can adjust on an individual basis.