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Cashless Catering

At Bullers Wood School we use a cashless system for purchasing snacks and lunch – cash is not accepted at the food counter.  Cashless catering enables us to deliver a more efficient, faster service and to continue to provide wholesome, healthy, and enjoyable meals at the lowest cost.

Money can be paid into your online account held within the system; money spent on food will be taken out of the system and you can always check the balance on-line.  Once the selected food items have been entered into the system from an itemised keyboard in the canteen, the amount spent and the new cash balance will show on the display.

You will be able to get detailed information on each item of food served, each credit made to the system and a current balance via your account.

What is a Cashless System?

At the heart of the cashless system there is a computer controlled by IMPACT software.  This allows the system to recognise each individual student, 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.

Main Benefits of the Cashless Catering System

  • Convenient way of paying for school meals.  No more looking for change every morning
  • 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 ie. loss, theft or bullying
  • Specific food allergy ingredients can be barred automatically
  • Healthy eating is encouraged
  • Queuing times are reduced through increased speed of service
  • Automatic Free School Meal allocation with the student remaining anonymous
  • Detailed reports to analyse all aspects of the use of the system
  • Students using the IMPACT system teaches important life skills
  • A more efficient delivery of service will help the catering team to provide wholesome, healthy and enjoyable school meals at a low cost

How are students recognised by the system?

Each student will have their finger registered, which will then be translated into an alpha numeric number, the image is then discarded.  The student simply places their finger on a scanner at the point of sale; a display will show the server the student’s name, class and current cash balance held within the system. The selected food items will be entered into the system from an itemised keyboard while the amount spent and the new cash balance will appear on the display.

How is money entered into the system?

By a payment made on the Internet through an account set up in School Gateway. We advise parents to check their daughter’s accounts on a regular basis to ensure sufficient funds are available.  Full details as to how to set up your School Gateway account will be given to you shortly.

How will the student be able to check what the current cash balance is held in the system at any one time?

  1. The balance will be shown online
  2. A display at the point of sale will show the new cash balance every time food is purchased.

What if the student does not hold a sufficient cash balance one day to pay for a school dinner?

In addition to parents checking their daughter’s balance regularly, your daughter will be able to see her balance each time she purchases food from the School Canteen.  To further ensure students have sufficient funds on the Dinner Money account, parents who have downloaded the School Gateway App  will receive an automatic App notification alerting them when the balance on their daughter’s Dinner Money account has reached below £10 and needs to be topped up.  To receive the App notifications, parents must be signed in to School Gateway.

Our school records will show how much each parent has paid and the appropriate account will be credited with the amount on the same day.  For example, if a parent tops up their daughter’s Dinner Money account, the funds will be available within 10 minutes of the payment for your child to purchase food in the School Canteen.

Students with insufficient funds to purchase food from the School Canteen will be able to contact you (using the phone at Student Services) to either top up the Dinner Money account or to bring in a packed lunch.

If your child does not purchase food from the School Canteen, i.e. brings in a packed lunch, or if your child qualifies for free school meals, please ignore the automatic notifications.  It may, however, be worth considering topping up her/his Dinner Money account with a small amount just in case she forgets her packed lunch one day.

What about students entitled to a ‘free school meal’?

The system works exactly the same for all students whether they pay or have a free school meal.  All students have their own account to use in exactly the same way.  The amount allocated for the free school meal will be entered into the system by the software each day and will be accessible at break and lunch time.

The system will then allow (on a daily basis) the required cash amount for each individual student to be allotted to their current cash balance. However, any under spend or missed meals will be identified by the system and will not be added to the next day’s balance.

The student can also add extra cash on to her balance in the system, in the same way as other students to enable a greater daily spend on the school lunch or at break times than allocated by their free meal allowance.  Students will not need a school pass for free school meals as all information will have been loaded electronically.

Will students have problems in using this system?

Some students may find it difficult to control their accounts for the first couple of weeks, most learn this important life skill very quickly and will enjoy being in control of their account.

Data Handling

Certain data will be held on the system to enable accurate operation. This will include your child’s name, class, photograph, account balance and meal entitlement. This data will be handled under the guidelines of the Data Protection Act and the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and will only used by parties directly involved with the implementation of the system.