• Ayrshire Daily News

East Ayrshire lead the way with modern online school dinner payments

A faster, simpler and better way for parents, carers and pupils to pay for meals and trips is rolling out across East Ayrshire, as the Council introduces online school payments and cashless catering in schools.

Parents will now be able to go online at any time and pay for a range of school services and goods – and the new cashless school system will also offer a more secure and quicker way for pupils to get a school meal.

The new online payment service means that cash and cheques will no longer need processed in schools. The new service is being provided by ParentPay, experts in providing secure web-based payment systems, with the cashless catering systems being provided by National Retail Systems Ltd.

The new systems offer a range of benefits that include: making payments online whenever you like, with no transaction fees; reviewing your child’s meal purchases and see what they have had to eat; viewing your full payment history and not worrying about your child carrying cash to school

It’s been warmly received by pupils, parents and staff, leading to a cash-free environment in schools, with meals bought by simply placing a thumb on a biometric scanner.

Explaining the changes, Andrew Kennedy, Head of Facilities and Property Management said “It makes for a faster, more flexible way to make payments and I’m pleased that so many parents and pupils have adopted the new arrangements quickly and easily.”

Mr Kennedy continued: “Parents who prefer to make payments by cash can still do so, using the PayPoint network at local convenience stores. However, the aim is to get as many parents to register an online account, to pay for school meals or school trips."

The biometric system has already been installed at Annanhill Primary, Grange Academy, Park School, St Joseph’s Academy and St Andrew’s Primary School, with other schools coming online over the next 18 months.

Callum Carrie (9) a pupil at Annanhill Primary School said: “It’s great that you can use your thumb to get your lunch. Some days my mum used to forget to give me my money, so this way I can now get lunch with no bother.

“Loads of us are using it, and it’s cool.”

His mum Jackie added: “The new system totally takes away the threat of your children losing their money and it’s a big reassurance.

I also have children at other schools and you can access all your children’s accounts through one ParentPay account.

“It does take a bit of setting up, but once it’s done everything is neatly in one place and you can even see exactly what your children have been eating.”

The new cashless system will rolled out to other schools in the area in the coming months.