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Cashless Catering

September 2020 Cashless Catering Notice

The Academy normally operates a biometric (finger print) catering system. Due to the current pandemic, for September 2020 this system has temporarily been disabled, and replaced by a contactless card system. All staff and pupils should have an account on the system. Contactless cards will be distributed at the start of the new academic year. Payments can be made online via School Comms (debit/credit card and bank transfer). If this is not possible, it is possible for cash to be used on the reval machine next to the Main Office (note the reval machine in the Agnew building will not be operational).

Pupils paying with cash should do so during their particular Year Group break and lunch time only.


Cashless Catering

King James I Academy operates a cashless biometric catering system. All students have an unique account which is accessed through biometrics (fingerscan). There are two methods to add money onto these accounts:

  • The Online payment system (the School Gateway) which is the recommended method
  • Via cash at the two 'Revaluation Units' located within the school

Parents are required to sign a form to opt into the system. The Form can be downloaded on the following link:  Biometrics Opt-In Form

The following benefits are derived from the 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. i.e.: Loss.

  • Specific food allergy ingredients can be barred automatically.

  • Healthy eating is encouraged.

  • Queuing times are reduced through increased speed of service.

  • Automatic free meal allocation with the pupil remaining anonymous.

  • Parent can view what their children have been eating (via the School Gateway).

A list of Frequently Asked Questions about the system can be found here

Cashless Biometric Catering System - Frequently Asked Questions

What is a biometric cashless system?

At the heart of the biometric cashless system is a software program which recognises each individual customer, holds individual cash balances and records expenditure and cash received. It also records where and when money is spent and on what food.

How are students and staff recognised by the system?

All students and staff will be registered by biometric measurement and photograph. The biometric measurement takes a part image of some of the coordinates of the fingerprint. This information is then converted, encrypted and stored as a unique number. This data cannot be converted back into any image of a fingerprint, nor can it be used by any other source for identification purposes.

What data will be held on the system?

Certain data will be held on the system to enable accurate operation. This will include the student’s name, tutor group, photo, account balance, meal entitlement and the biometric number. Other than the biometric number, this data is already held on the Academy’s administrative systems. All the data will be handled under the guidelines of the Data Protection Act. The data will only be utilised for the purposes of the cashless catering system and will be destroyed when the data is no longer relevant (such as when a student leaves the Academy).

How is money entered into the system?

There are be two methods:

a) By putting cash, notes (£20, £10, £5) and coins (£2, £1, 50p, 20p, 10p), into an automatic cash ‘revaluation’ terminals located in the academy. After activation via a biometric scanner, the terminal will show the current account balance. Cash is then entered and, finally, a button pressed to mark the end of the transaction.

Payment can also be made via the School Gateway, our secure internet payment site, accessible by password, enabling payment by debit, credit cards and bank transfers.

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 automatically.

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 dinner 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 his or her balance in the system by using the revaluation station, to enable a greater daily spend on the school dinner than allocated by their free meal allowance. As this allowance can only be spent on a school dinner, extra cash added into the system can also be used for break time snacks.

How will the pupil be able to check what the current cash balance is?

(a)         Students can check their balance at any time via the Revaluation units.

(b)          There is also a Remote Display at the till which will show the cash balance.

How can we be sure that a regular amount of money is used daily?

There is a daily spending limit for each student. No food above this limit can be bought. On request, an individual student limit of your choice can be set, to include a school dinner and break time snacks.

What happens if a student or member of staff does not hold a sufficient cash balance to pay for food?

If a student forgets their dinner money the academy will ensure that they are fed.

Will parents be able to have any information on how the system is being used?

Reports can be obtained from the system giving comprehensive information on all aspects of use for each individual pupil as well as each day’s service. These reports can be for a specific day or between any dates you wish, they will be dated and timed to the minute, and can be obtained from the academy.