Cashless Catering

Penrice Academy has a cashless catering system, which provides us with a more efficient, faster and ultimately better quality service.

This system uses the latest technology and eliminates the need for you to carry cash throughout the day, thus reducing the risk of bullying. It is also biometric (see FAQs) so there is no need for you to carry a card as the system will recognise your thumb at the pay point and at the tills.

Please note that no cash is accepted at the till points in the Canteen.

Any amount of money can be paid into your account, and any money spent on food and drink will be deducted on a daily basis.

We have two payment options available to parents – online payments and emergency coin and note payments at the cash machine located in the Canteen.

A ‘spend limit’ can be put in place for an individual student by making a written request to the Finance Office.

In accordance with current legislation, we operate an ‘Opt In’ policy and parents/ carers need to complete the Cashless Catering Form to consent to the use of biometrics. If you choose not to have be 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 responsibility to remember the code and keep it secure at all times.

If parents/carers prefer to Opt-Out of Cashless Catering, please notify Reception via email, at

Cashless Catering: Frequently Asked Questions

What is Biometric?
Biometric is simply a method of identifying an individual person. We will be using 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.

How does a Biometric System work?
The information of a student or staff member, who has been biometrically registered, is stored on a secure Biometric Controller within the school, which only our provider, Civica, can access. Once an account is credited the student or staff member places their finger/thumb on the EPOS Terminal, which looks up account details and allows items to be purchased using only this method of identification. Further information on how Civica use your information can be found here.

How does each child register on the Biometric System?
Students will attend at a requested time when they start at Penrice 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 parents/ carers have chosen to ‘Opt Out’ of this procedure, the student will be presented with a 4digit PIN Code.

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

  • Cash at the Revaluation Machine – A Revaluation Machine is situated in the canteen area within the Academy. This can be used to top up accounts by the student/member of staff placing their finger/thumb on the sensor or by entering the 4 digit PIN Code followed by inserting the accepted tender below: £20, £10, £5 notes, £2, £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p coins (Please note – copper coins are not accepted)
  • Online Payments – We have introduced Online Payments in partnership with the Cashless Catering System. To make a payment online parents/ carers should go to and follow the link to ParentPay to make an electronic payment.

How can I check the credit on an account?
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.

Can Parents/ carers change the daily ‘Spend Limit’?
Yes – The daily ‘Spend Limit’ may be changed by written request to the Finance Office at the Academy.

How do ‘free meal’ entitlements work?
The Cashless Catering System will, on a daily basis, automatically allocate the appropriate accounts 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. Any monies not spent from the daily free meal allocation will not be carried over to the next day.

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

If a student has an allergy, how will this be monitored?
Students are responsible for managing their dietary and allergy needs when making their selections in the canteen. Full ingredient and allergen information for each dish is available to be viewed in the canteen and students should ask to speak with the canteen manager if they would like more information. All allergy records registered with the Academy will be entered on to the Cashless System which means that they will flash up at the till point as an information notice for the till operative to see. The till operative will use this as a prompt to remind the student to be mindful of what they are selecting but the till system does not have all the ingredient information to be able to flag specifically if the item being purchased contains relevant allergens. 

Can a parent/ carer dictate a student’s dietary requirements?
The system will allow a parent / carer to register any items that their child is not allowed due to dietary needs or religious beliefs. Any such items must be confirmed in writing by the parent/carer to the Finance Office.

Can a parent / carer request a printed report of my child’s meal intake?
Yes – the Cashless Catering System allows numerous reporting facilities, which includes Dietary Habits. These may be requested by contacting the pastoral team who will arrange for a report to be issued. It is also possible for parents to view details of transactions on the online payment system.