Cashless Catering

King James I Academy operates a cashless catering system. All students have a unique account which is accessed through scanning their fingerprint or card in school. There are two methods to add money onto these accounts: 

  • The Online payment system (Arbor Parent Portal) which is the recommended method 
  • Via cash at the Revaluation Unit located in the school Dining Hall.

Parents are required to sign a form to opt into the biometric system.  

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.  

Cashless Catering System - Frequently Asked Questions 

What is a cashless system? 

At the heart of the 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 via their unique card and fingerprint.

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 card number. Other than the card 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 terminal located in the Dining Hall. After activation via scanning their card or using their fingerprint, the terminal will show the current account balance. Cash is then entered and, finally, a button pressed to mark the end of the transaction. 

(b) Payment can also be made via the Arbor Parent Portal, accessible by password, enabling payment by debit and credit cards.

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 which is automatically set at £5 per 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.