Paying for School Meals
At Carshalton High School for Girls we operate a cashless catering facility.
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 and on what food on any specific date and time of day.
How are students recognised by the system?
Each student will be registered by a biometric image and photograph with the system, which will set up an individual account. Students and parents can rest assured that the biometric image cannot be used by any other source for identification purposes. The system uses an image of a finger to create a mathematical algorithm and then discards the print, only the numbers remain and these cannot be re-interpreted back into a fingerprint image. Whilst it is preferred that parents opt for the biometric option to access the cashless catering there is also a card facility should you prefer. There is a £3 admin charge for this option and £3 charge for any further replacement cards.
A scanner is used at the till whereby a student places their finger on the scanner to activate their Account. A display shows the Server the student’s name, class and current 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 show on the display.
Online Cashless Payment System
A cashless payment system is operated reducing the problems of cash in the school, reduce queueing times and encourage healthy eating. Payment is made on-line via ParentPay and more information can be found on the ParentPay website.
A ParentPay activation letter with User Name and password has been issued to enable you to register and create an online account. Once your account is set up you will be able to manage your meal account on line, as well as payments for other services such as trips & visits.
The credit balance on the ParentPay account is debited each time a student purchases food items from the catering service at breakfast, mid-morning break and lunch. A maximum daily spend limit of £5.00 is set (please email the catering team via firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to have a different daily limit); however an average daily spend is estimated at £3.00 per day. Main Meal and Dessert is currently £2.30.
How will a student be able to check their current credit balance?
Every time the student spends money in the canteen, the till shows the available credit left on the account.
Please note: Online payments are not credited to the student's account between 12.00 noon and 2.00pm; however at all other times the system updates every 15 minutes.
How can parents help to manage their accounts?
Accounts should be kept regularly topped up and this can be done either by parents on line using their ParentPay account.
As a safeguard one-off measure, should an account have insufficient funds, a student will be allowed one meal on credit, but this should be settled the next school day. To help prevent this happening you can set up an alert system on ParentPay so that you can receive a text or email to alert you if your account reaches a trigger balance. This can be found under your ParentPay profile in alert settings.
The ParentPay website also provides a section on FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) which can be helpful when trying to resolve any user issues you may have.
As an alternative to ParentPay, if you would like to pay for your child’s school meals via PayPoint (a network of PayPoint machines located in local shops taking cash ‘top ups’), please contact the finance team at email@example.com. They will order you a PayPoint card and while you wait for this card to arrive, provide you with a barcoded letter to enable you to make meal payments. If you have more than one child at the school you will need a PayPoint card for each child.