At Stokesley School students no longer need to carry cash to school to buy food. Instead students identify themselves at the till using either thumbprint scanners or PIN codes.
This system will allow us to improve our school meal provision, and will provide a more efficient and improved quality of service, as well as a number of clear benefits for students and parents. This system incorporates the latest technology and provides anonymity for those entitled to free school meals.
ParentPay online payments system
In order to allow you easily to pay money into a student’s cashless catering account, and also to facilitate payments for educational visits and other items, we use ParentPay. This is an online payment system that allows you to put credit into students’ accounts to pay for their school meals and educational visits in much the same way as you might top-up a mobile phone or buy a book on Amazon. Many parents will already be used to using this system, or a similar one, for Primary School payments.
You will have a secure online account, activated using a unique username and password; you will be prompted to change these, and to keep them safe and secure. If you have more than one child at our school you can merge their accounts to create one login for all your children.
Key advantages of ParentPay are that it allows you easily to check how much credit students have in their account and then top it up from home, without having to send a cheque or cash into school. You will also be able to see information about how your child is spending the money you have credited to their account. More information is available at www.parentpay.com.
Frequently Asked Questions:
My child will be having packed lunches: do I need to do anything with this information?
It is still a good idea to set up a ParentPay account when you get the letter with your information in, even if you do not credit any money. This helps us by ensuring we have a working email address for you, and means that if you need to give your child credit at short notice (e.g. because they have forgotten their lunch) it is easy for you to do. You may well consider it worth crediting a few pounds to their account now for emergencies like this.
What does “biometric” mean?
Biometric recognition is simply a method of identifying an individual person by taking some measurements. We use an algorithm-based scan, which reads between 50 & 130 points on the finger/thumb. It is not a thumbprint and is of use only in the cashless system. The scanned points are transformed into a number using a hardware‐based algorithm. The hardware also applies 256 bit AES encryption to the data, so it is not possible to reconstruct biometric information from the code stored in the computer.
How does a Biometric System work?
The information of a student or staff member, who has been biometrically registered, is stored on a secure computer server within the school, which only we and our provider, Nationwide Retail Systems Ltd, can access. Once an account is credited the student or staff member places their finger/thumb on the EPOS Terminal, which looks up their account details and allows them to purchase items.
How does my child register on the Biometric System?
Students are normally registered within their Year 6 induction week and new arrivals are registered on their first day at school. If you have chosen to ‘opt out’ of the Biometric system, your child will be presented with a 4 digit PIN Code at this time instead.
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:
On‐Line Payments: We have introduced On‐Line Payments in partnership with the Cashless Catering System. To make a payment on line please go to http://www.parentpay.com to make an electronic payment. You will receive your ParentPay details in the post before the Year 6 parents’ meeting with tutors in July.
Cash at the revaluation machine – A “revaluation” or cash-loading machine is sited outside the canteen. This can be used to top up accounts by the student placing their finger/thumb on the sensor or by entering their 4 digit PIN Code followed by inserting the accepted tender: anything from £20 notes to 5p coins. We discourage students from using this machine because we would rather they did not carry cash to school. By using the online payment method you can monitor their balance, see how much they spend and what they buy, and know that they are not spending their dinner money on sweets or other items on the way to school.
How can I check the credit on an account?
This can be done by students at the cash-loading machine, but queues tend to build up at lunchtime. The best way to check balances is at www.parentpay.com, where you can also set up a low balance reminder so that your child never runs out of dinner money.
I don’t know how much money I’ve spent or how much I have got left
Students use the “revaluation machine” to check their account balance, but the best way is to go online and check on your Parentpay account. If parents don’t have the details for this, they can email school reception on: firstname.lastname@example.org
My child’s thumb scan doesn’t work on the revaluation machine, or the tills
We can try re-scanning students’ thumbs and if this doesn’t work we can give them a pin code instead. Students should talk to Mrs Wiseman or ask at Student Services.
How can I get an alert message to avoid running out of money in my account?
In the ParentPay website go to “View Communications” on the left and then click on “Change alert settings” (blue button, top right) and set up an e-mail or SMS text alert for when your account balance falls below a certain amount.
How do ‘free meal’ entitlements work?
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 money not spent from the daily free meal allocation will not be carried over to the next day.
Can anyone else use my child’s account?
Due to the extensive security on biometric templates no-one will be able to access your child’s account if thumbprint scanning is used. Occasionally we get a query from a parent to ask why two lunches have been taken on the same day and this is almost always because students have helped out a friend by buying their lunch for them: this is not something we encourage as we would rather lend students money ourselves.
Data protection information relating to the new till system:
Nationwide Retail Systems Ltd (NRS) is accredited with ISO27001 – Information Security Management System and is committed to ensuring that privacy is protected. Data will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement. NRS is registered as a data processor under the Data Protection Act (DPA) and operate at all times under the DPA Guidelines. Schools’ data will remain their responsibility and they remain fully in control of accessing, managing and updating all student data within the system. Schools and the local authority are operating as Data Controllers under the DPA. All NRS Staff that may have administrator access to schools data for support purposes are Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checked. Information collected to implement a Cashless Catering system is listed here:• Admissions Number (“G number”) • Student’s name • Tutor group • Whether they are entitled to free school meals • Gender • Date of Birth • School Year • UPN* • *Unique Pupil Number: a UPN is a number that identifies each learner in England uniquely *
Which cards can I use on ParentPay?
ParentPay accepts MasterCard and Visa credit cards, and Maestro, Switch, Delta, Electron, Solo and Visa debit cards.
Is it safe to make payments on the internet?
Yes. ParentPay uses leading technology to process your card transactions securely. All communication with the bank is encrypted and neither ParentPay nor the school have access to your card details. The process is similar to a purchase on Amazon or a groceries order from Tesco.com
How can I check that it is secure?
Standard website addresses begin with http; the address for a secure site will always begin with https. You will also see a padlock at the bottom/top right of the screen on our login page and after you have logged into your account; never enter your card details or personal data on any web page whose address does not start https.
What personal information does ParentPay hold?
ParentPay holds a very limited amount of information about you and your child solely for the purpose of administering your account; however ParentPay does not use your personal information other than for supporting the school. We do not share or give information to any other organisations. We operate under strict guidelines set out by the Data Protection Act 1998. ParentPay will NEVER contact you by phone, email or mail and ask you to divulge confidential information like passwords or card numbers. If you are ever contacted by someone claiming to be from ParentPay, please contact Parent Pay immediately on 0845 257 5540.
I don’t have a home PC so how can I use ParentPay?
The ParentPay website will work on smartphones, though it is not currently optimised for small screens. Computers are available in the local library and we can provide access to a computer at school on request. If this is presenting a problem for you, please get in touch with Mrs Wiseman at school who will investigate.