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Special Dietary Information for Secondary Schools inc Cashless ST

Cashless Catering At Ridgeway

In November 2014, Ridgeway Secondary School went live with its Cashless Catering system from Nationwide Retail Systems. The system allows us to continue with the development of the school meal service, and provides us with a more efficient, faster and ultimately better quality of service. 

This system incorporates the latest technology and eliminates the need for students to carry cash throughout the day thus reducing the risk of bullying.  It is also biometric so there is no need for students to carry a card as the system will recognise the thumb of your child at the revaluation pay points and at the tills. 

A daily ‘spend limit’ of £5 is programmed into the system.  This can be increased or decreased for an individual student by making a written request to the school office. 

As per current legislation we will be operating an ‘Opt In’ policy and therefore require you to complete the appropriate permission form. This should be returned to the school office as soon as possible. If you choose not to have your child registered on the Biometric System  a 4 digit PIN code* will be allocated. 

*Please note that PIN codes do not have the same level of security and it will be your child’s responsibility to remember the code and keep it secure at all times. 

Should you have any further queries around Cashless Catering and Biometrics then please do not hesitate to contact the school. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q : What is a Cashless System? 

A : A Cashless Catering System is a solution, which is purpose designed to meet the ever evolving needs and demands of the Catering Provision that is required by today’s Schools and Academies. 

The Trust-e Cashless Solution allows schools to be better able to provide their students with a faster, more efficient and more appealing meal service. 

Q: What is Biometric? 

A: Biometric is simply a method of identifying an individual person.  We use an algorithm based scan, which reads between 50 & 130 points on the finger/thumb.  It is not a fingerprint in any way, shape or form and is of use only in the cashless system. 

Q: How does a Biometric System work?

A: The information of a student, who has been biometrically registered, is stored on a secure Biometric Controller within the school, which only our provider, Nationwide Retail Systems Ltd, can access.  Once an account is credited the student places their finger/thumb on the EPOS Terminal, which looks up their account details and allows them to purchase items using only this method of identification. 

Q: How does my child register on the Biometric System? 

A: Registration days will take place once your child is on roll at Ridgeway Secondary School.  Your child will attend at a requested time and they will be required to place their finger/thumb on a Biometric sensor twice to obtain a matching template, which only takes a few seconds.  If you have chosen to ‘Opt Out’ of this procedure, your child will be presented with a 4 digit PIN Code.

Q: What methods of payment can be used to credit an account?

A: Any amount can be credited to an account by way of any of the following methods.  Once an account has been credited the monies cannot be withdrawn and must be spent on the school meal/break services. 

Online Payments 

We have introduced online payments in partnership with the cashless catering system.  To make a payment online please go to your ParentPay (link to parent pay page when completed) account. 

Q: How can I check the credit on an account? 

A: This can be done by the account holder placing their finger/thumb on to the revaluation machine or by entering a 4 digit PIN Code.  The current balance will then be displayed.   Alternatively, this can be accessed via ParentPay. 

Q: Can I change the daily ‘Spend Limit’?

A: Yes – The daily ‘Spend Limit’ has a default of £5 but this may be changed by written request to AIP or to the school office.

Q: What happens if my child’s account is not in credit? 

A: A ‘Lend’ can be processed at the EPOS Terminal, which will then allow a meal to be taken. (This is at the discretion of each individual school). Our cashless catering system has a debt tracking facility and the ability to send debt letters to overdue account holders.

Q: How do ‘free meal’ entitlements work? 

A:  All free meal entitlements will be entered on to the system prior to the ‘Live’ day.  The Cashless Catering System will, on a daily basis, automatically allocate the appropriate account s with the free meal amounts.  students with Free Meal Entitlements remain anonymous at all times as all account types are accessed in the exact same manner regardless as to whether paid for or not.  NB.  Any monies not spent from the daily free meal allocation will not be carried over to the next day. 

Q: Can anyone else use my child’s account? 

A: No – Due to the extensive security on Biometric templates no-one will be able to access your child’s account.  As a secondary precaution a photo image is allocated to each student.  If your child is using a 4 digit PIN Code, which someone obtains and attempts to use, the photograph shown on the EPOS Terminal will alert the operator and a fraudulent sale taking place. 

Cashless Catering With Special Dietary Requirements

Q: My child has an allergy, how will this be monitored 

A: All allergy records registered with the school will be entered on to the Cashless System.  When students attempt to purchase an item, which has ingredients that they are allergic to, the system will alert the operator and prevent them from selling the chosen item. 

Q: Can I dictate my child’s dietary requirements?

A:The system will allow you to register any items that your child is not allowed due to dietary needs or religious beliefs.  Any such items must be confirmed in writing by the parent/guardian to the AIP Catering Team.

Q: Can I request a printed report of my child’s meal intake?

A: Yes – The Cashless Catering System allows numerous reporting facilities, which includes Dietary Habits.  These may be requested by contacting the AIP Catering Team. Alternatively, you can see your child’s meals via ParentPay. 

Cashless Biometric Permission Slip