Parent Mail - School Meals
The school uses a cashless system for the catering service to improve on the existing high quality of the school meal and dining experience for the students. We are sure you will appreciate the advantages the system offers parents and pupils of the school.
The system has enabled us to deliver a more efficient, faster service and to continue to provide wholesome, healthy, and enjoyable meals at the lowest cost.
For your convenience and to assist us in administration of the service, the meals can be paid online using Parent Mail.
Online payments can be made using Parent Mail once registration has been completed.
Any amount of money can be paid into the student’s account held within the system, money spent on food will be deducted.
Pupils entitled to free school meals will, each day, be automatically allocated the free meal value of £2.40 onto their account. You may choose to “top-up” this value if they wish.
The school is also able to provide you with a report detailing each item of food purchased, each payment made to the system and the current balance.
There is a daily ‘spend limit’ programmed into the system of £5.00, this can be increased or decreased for an individual pupil by making a written request to the school.
What is a School Cashless Catering System?
At the heart of the cashless system there is a computer controlled by I.M.P.A.C.T. - Software. This allows the system to recognise each individual pupil, hold individual cash balances, record cash spent and cash received, record where money is spent, on what food, on any specific date and time of day.
How are pupils recognised by the system?
Each pupil will have their school ID pass which is issued to them on their first day in school - this links to your ParentMail account.
How is this then used to obtain a school meal?
The pupil simply places their school ID pass on a scanner at the point of sale; a display shows the server the pupil’s name, class and current cash balance held within the system. The selected food items are entered into the system from an itemised keyboard while the amount spent and the new cash balance shows on the display.
How is money entered into the system?
By Online Payment using ParentMail.
How will the pupil be able to check the current cash balance held in the system?
(a) ParentMail has a mobile app which is able to show your cash balance.
(b) Also a Remote Display at the point of sale shows the new cash balance when the student places their school ID pass on the reader.
How much can be spent in one day?
A daily spend limit of £ 5.00 is set for all pupils and no food above that limit can be bought. This includes both school lunch and break time snacks. On request, an individual pupil limit of your choice could also be set.
What if the pupil does not hold a sufficient cash balance one day to pay for a school dinner?
No pupil is refused a school dinner because they have not brought their dinner money to school with them. The school allows the pupil to loan money for one day. However, the pupil would be expected to bring some money with them the next day to repay the loan.
What about pupils entitled to a ‘free school meal’?
The system works exactly the same for all pupils whether they pay or have a free school meal. All pupils have their own account to use in exactly the same way.
The amount allocated for the free school meal is entered into the system by the software daily and is only accessible at dinner break.
Any under spend or missed dinner will not be added to the next day’s balance - it is only available on a daily basis.
The pupil can also add extra cash on to his or her balance in the system by topping up their ParentMail account, to be used for break time snacks and to enable a greater daily spend on the school dinner than allocated by their free meal allowance.
What is meant by ‘dietary control’?
Should the pupil have a specific food allergy, or be a diagnosed diabetic, this medical information can be coded into the system, preventing foods with allergy ingredients from being served to a particular pupil, by automatically locking out relevant buttons on the keyboard.
Do pupils have problems in using this system?
When we introduced the system we anticipated some pupils may have found it difficult to control their accounts for the first couple of weeks. But our experience has been very positive and because of a daily spend limit, most pupils have learnt this important life skill very quickly and enjoy being in control of their account.
Will we be able to have any information on how the system is being used?
Reports can be obtained from the system giving comprehensive information on all aspects of use for each individual pupil as well as each day’s service. These reports can be for a specific day or between any dates you wish, they will be dated and timed to the minute, and can be obtained from the main office.
(a) To show every item of food served and the total cost of each serving.
(b) A total overview to show the date, time and location with cost of each purchase value of all cash payments.
Certain data is held on the system to enable accurate operation. This includes your child’s name, class, photo, account balance and meal entitlement. This data will be handled under the guidelines of the data protection act and only used by parties directly involved with the implementation of the system. If you have any concerns or do not wish your child to be registered on the system please contact Mrs N Samuel, Director of Finance and Resources.
Main Benefits of Cashless Catering
- Convenient way of paying for school meals. No more looking for change every morning.
- Automatic free meal allocation with the pupil remaining anonymous.
- Queueing times are reduced through increased speed of service.
- Discourages the misuse of school dinner money through spending in shops outside of the school grounds.
- Alleviates many of the associated problems with the use of cash in schools. i.e.: Loss, theft and bullying.
- Specific food allergy ingredients can be barred automatically.
- Healthy eating is encouraged.
- Detailed reports to analyse all aspects of the use of the system.
- Having control of pupil accounts by pupils using the system teaches important life skills.
- A more efficient delivery of service helps the caterers to provide wholesome, healthy and enjoyable school meals at a low cost.