Cashless Catering

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 and shop at breakfast, recess and lunch.

How is food paid for?

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 WisePay or with cash in school.

How does the fingerprint system work?

A fingerprint will be taken in school on your child's first day with us. The system does not take an image of the fingerprint; instead it derives a pattern from a selection of unique points on the fingerprint 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 fingerprint 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.

What if I opted out of the fingerprint system?

If you opted out of biometric registration, your child will be issued a 4 digit ID number instead. When purchasing food they use this number 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.

If your child has not been fingerprinted, they will not be able to use the cash loader to check their balance or add cash to their account.  Therefore, WisePay must be used to top up their account and to check balances.

What's the best way to top up an account?

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 purchases are also listed for your information.

WisePay is the school's preferred top up method.

However cash can be brought into school and added to an account using the cash loader situated in Roberts Hall. This is an automatic machine accessible throughout the school day and accepts coins (5p-£2 denominations) and notes (£5, £10 and £20). Any money added on this cash loader is immediately added to your daughter's account. As noted above, details of cash top ups are listed on your Wisepay account for your child's records.

How can an account's balance be checked?

Balances can be checked online through WisePay 24 hours a day. Your child can check their balance in school at the cash loader - even if they are not topping up with any money, they can identify themselves with their fingerprint code and it will display the account balance.

Overdrawn account balances

You must ensure there are sufficient funds in your child's catering account to enable them to purchase any food and drink they may want each day.

For Years 7 to 11, a small overdraft is allowed, but this should be repaid and topped up immediately. If a student's catering account is not topped up, and the debt increases we will suspend the student's catering account and this will mean that your child will be refused purchases at both the school shop and the dining hall. Once the catering account has been topped up, the suspension will be lifted automatically and they will be able to buy food and drinks as normal (subject to not exceeding the daily £8.00 limit and having money on their account). Please ensure that you check the balance of your child's account and top up when needed, to avoid any potential embarrassment to your child.

For 6th Form students we do not allow catering accounts to become overdrawn. Students must ensure they have sufficient funds in their catering account, before attempting to make any purchases of food or drink.

How do Free School Meals work?

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 £3.30. The first £3.30 spent in a day will be deducted from this allowance. It can be spent at any time during the day - breakfast, recess 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 £3.30 daily allowance. 

With this new 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. 

Could my child spend all her allowance at once?

Accounts have a daily spend limit on them - currently £8.00 a day. Students will not be able to spend over this amount in a day. £8.00 comfortably allows a student to eat at breakfast, recess 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.

My daughter has a specific dietary requirement. Can the cashless system monitor this?

Where we are aware of an allergy or religious belief, your daughter will be automatically prevented from purchasing items containing problematic ingredients. If you wish to make us aware of any such considerations, please contact the school in the usual manner.