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Secondary Schools Cashless Dining Service

All Secondary schools operate 'Cashless Dining Systems' using biometric technology. This system uses biometric fingerprints to identify each pupil and therefore it is necessary for a non-evasive scan to be taken of each child's thumb prints during the common transfer day or week in July.

How are students and staff recognised by the system?

Once the finger scan has been taken it is automatically converted to numeric form and stored on the system against that individual. No image of fingerprints is kept and it is impossible to reconstitute a fingerprint from the numeric reference. (See the section Biometric Registration for further details)

Non Biometric Students

Should individuals not wish to use the biometric aspect of the system a PIN number can be allocated on request.

How is the Biometric Recognition System used to obtain a meal?

At the till point is a dermal scanner, when the student wishes to pay for the meal they simply place their thumb / finger on the scanner; this will bring up that individuals account. A display will show the terminal operator the cardholder's photo, name, tutor group and current cash balance held within the system. The selected food items will be entered into the system from the touch screen terminal while the product values and the total balance will show on the display. For individuals using a PIN, simply give the terminal operator your number, and the account will be brought up.

How is money entered into the system?

How does the Revaluation Unit work?

Firstly the student places their thumb / finger on the scanner mounted on the Revaluation Unit, the system will identify the individual and display their name and current cash balance held within the system.

The second stage – coins/notes are inserted into the slot. Each incremental cash balance will show on the display, simply press the green lit button to complete the transaction.

How can you check your current balance held on the system?

By using the Revaluation Unit, simply access your account by placing your thumb / finger on the scanner or by entering your PIN; there is no need to deposit any money. Your details will show on screen and then press the green button when finished.

If we pay for a set number of school meals, can it be spent in one day?

No, a global period spend limit of £5.00 per day will be set up for all students and no purchases above that limit can be made.

However, on request the individual daily spending limit for pupils can be changed.

How does the system deal with students entitled to Free Meal Benefit?

The system works exactly the same for all students whether they pay or have a free school meal entitlement. The amount allocated for the free school meal will be entered into the system by the software daily and will only be accessible at dinner break.

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 Unit, 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 breakfast or break time snacks.

All students in receipt of this benefit will retain complete anonymity.

What is meant by dietary control?

The system has the ability to bar a specific product or group of products from being sold to an individual throughout the day or at specific periods. Where a student has a food allergy or is diabetic the sale of these products can be barred to that individual so it is impossible for that student to purchase these products through the system. This is accompanied by an on screen warning advising the till operator.

Will we 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 student as well as each day's service. These reports can be for a specific day or between any two dates you wish, they will be dated and timed to the minute and can be obtained from the kitchen, unfortunately we cannot offer a postal service.

Some of the reports available are:

Biometric Registration

Each individuals finger and thumb prints are unique. The Biometric cashless system will store only a section of the print as a unique number and not as an image.

Each child will have that unique number stored on a central server. This is done by scanning the finger or thumb with a non-evasive electronic scanner, which passes light over the finger or thumb. The same scanner will be installed in the Revaluation machines where the students deposit coins / notes and at the tills where they get their food.

A print will be stored numerically, as a set of between 20 and 50 reference points, unique to the individuals print. Each reference point comprises of three numbers which are the X and Y co-ordinates and an angle of curve. The system does not store the image of the finger scanned. The stored co-ordinates are only of use in matching part of the individuals print and cannot be used for the purpose of reconstructing a print.

This information is held on a secure database that is used exclusively for school meals and is accessed only by staff authorised to administer the system.

Data Handling

Certain data will be held on the system to enable accurate operation. This will include your child's name, class, account balance and meal entitlement. This data will be handled under the guidelines of the data protection act and only used by parties directly associated with the school. Access to this information is controlled strictly by the school kitchen only.

Should you have any queries regarding this upgrade please contact Vanessa Heritage-Smith 01978 315644 of the School Meals Service who will be happy to assist.