Cashless Catering

Cashless catering using biometrics

The new ICT infrastructure and catering facilities in the new building has afforded us the opportunity to move across to cashless catering.

What is cashless catering and how will it work?

Students and staff do not pay for food from the refectory using cash. Instead each person has an account on our computer system. There will be two ways to put money on this account:

  • Parents/carers can log online securely and put money on their child’s account.

  • Students can bring cash in and put it into one of our cash loader machines and load their account with money.

Students in receipt of free school meals will have their account loaded by the Academy.

Put simply when a student/member of staff wants to buy something from the refectory he/she chooses the items they want and takes them to the checkout where they will place one finger on a finger scanner. The scanned finger will then register in the computer and the computer will check to see if they have any money in their account. If they do have money then the chosen items can be purchased and the cost of them will be taken off the child’s account and the balance given.

Does that mean all students have to have their finger prints stored?

No. The computer does not scan or keep a finger print. Initially students will have one finger scanned – the scan registers 150 points on your finger and makes a pattern out of them, like a dot to dot line drawing. This drawing is then turned into a bar code – this bar code is kept on the computer system. When the child’s finger is placed on the check out scanner it just looks for the dot to dot pattern and marries it up to the bar code not the finger print. This system is not unique and at least five other secondary schools are using cashless catering in Medway already.

More information

The company we are using to develop the system is called Cunninghams and they work with our catering provider. Parents are required to fill in the biometrics permission form for cashless catering (this is available on request from the Academy). Please note students will not be able to use the cashless catering system until this form is returned. Please note students will not be able to buy food at all with cash from the refectory.

We will also be using the finger produced barcode for students and staff to take books out of the new library and for accessing the printers across the Academy.