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What is Cashless Catering

At Cardinal Pole Catholic School we operate a cashless catering system. Below are some frequently asked questions and answers on how the system operates. It also offers spending advice.

The price list of individual items is available at the bottom of this page.

Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact the main school office.

Q&A - The use of Biometric Information to access School Services

Q. What does ‘Biometric Information’ mean? 

A. The information from your child that we wish to use is referred to as ‘biometric information’ under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (sections 26 to 28). By definition, biometric information is information about a person’s physical or behavioural characteristics that can be used to identify them.

Q. How is this Biometric Information used? 

A. The information will be used as part of an automated biometric recognition system. The system will take measurements of your child’s fingerprint and convert these measurements into a unique numeric code to be stored on the system. An image of your child’s fingerprint is not stored. The unique numeric code that is generated from the measurements of the students fingerprint is what will be used to permit your child to access the self-managed services.

Q. What does the law say about the use of Biometric Information? 

A. You should note that the law places specific requirements on schools when using personal information, such as biometric information, about pupils for the purposes of an automated biometric recognition system.

For example:

  • (a) the school cannot use the information for any purpose other than those for which it was originally obtained and made known to the parent(s) (i.e. as stated above);
  • (b) the school must ensure that the information is stored securely;
  • (c) the school must tell you what it intends to do with the information;
  • (d) unless the law allows it, the school cannot disclose personal information to another person/body

Q. Where can I find further information and guidance? 

A. Further information can be obtained from the following websites:

Q. What services will my child be able to access? 

A. At present, your child will be able to access the cashless catering system. Moving forward, we hope to implement similar systems for other school services. For example, with the development of the school library, we plan to introduce a biometric system for the loan of library books.

Q. What does cashless catering mean? 

A. Cashless catering system was set-up as a way for students to ‘pay’ for their lunch. This self-managed system allows the student to add credit to their account via a top-up machine and significantly reduces the risks associated with carrying cash.

Q. How will cashless catering work? 

A. Each pupil will be provided with an account using biometric identity taken from their finger. Once issued with an account the pupil can add money to their account via Parent Pay only.

Q. How is the fingerprint used and stored? 

A. The scan is not stored as a fingerprint image but is instead converted to a unique numeric code identifiable to your child. It is this code that is then stored and recognised by the readers. It cannot be converted back into a fingerprint image. The unique code will be stored under the same protection as any data we have relating to you child (as per the legislation set out in the Data Protection Act) and cannot be shared with any other third party organisations unless clearly set-out at the time of requesting consent.

Q. Can students still use cash when paying at the till? 

A. Cash will not be accepted by catering staff under any circumstances. Each student must ensure their account has enough credit available before purchasing any food or drink.

Q. My child is on free school meals – what do I do? 

A. Nothing. Any account relating to a student in receipt of free school meals will automatically be credited with the cost of their free school meal allowance every day (i.e. £2.20 – the cost of a main meal).

Q. Can I credit the account with several weeks’ worth of meal money at one time? 

A. Contact if you wish to put a daily limit on your child’s account

Q. What happens if I do not consent to my child providing the required biometrics information? 

A. If you do not wish your child’s biometric information to be processed by the school, or your child objects to such processing, the law states that we must provide reasonable alternative arrangements for children who are not going to use the automated system.

Q. What happens if I provide consent now but change my mind at a later date? 

A. You can object to the proposed processing of your child’s biometric information at a later stage or withdraw any consent you have previously given. Please note that any consent, withdrawal of consent or objection from a parent must be in writing.

Even if you have consented, your child can object or refuse at any time to their biometric information being taken or used. We would therefore appreciate it if you could discuss this implementation process with your child and ensure they are happy to give their consent.

Q. What happens if only one parent provides consent? 

A. Consent is only required by one parent. However, this consent will be overridden if the other parent objects in writing to the use of their child’s biometric information. Similarly, if your child objects to their biometric information being used, the school cannot collect or use his/her biometric information for inclusion on the automated recognition system.

Q. What happens if/when my child leaves Cardinal Pole? 

A. Please note that when your child leaves the school, or if for some other reason he/she ceases to use the biometric system, his/her biometric data will be securely deleted.