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Cashless Catering

Improving the lunch time experience for our students

At Hornsey School for Girls we have a cashless catering payment system to ensure that the money you allow your child to have for purchasing lunch or a snack is used for that purpose. The system involves the use of a government approved biometric recognition system and here you will find all the information on how the system will work.


What is the school biometric fingerprint recognition system?

The biometric cashless system is a software program which recognises each individual customer, holds individual cash balances and records payments and cash received. It also records where and when money is spent and on what food and drinks.


How are students recognised by the system?

Students are recognised by a simple part image taken of some of their fingerprint along with a photograph. This information is converted, encrypted and stored as their unique number. Please note, this data cannot be converted back into any image of a fingerprint and also cannot be used by the school or any other data source for identification purposes.


What data is held on the system?

Only certain information to enable accurate operation is held on the system. This includes the student's name, tutor group, photo, account balance, meal entitlement and their biometric number. All this information, without the biometric number, is already held on the school's administrative systems. All data collected by the biometric system is handled under the guidelines of the Data Protection Act (see link below) and is not passed to any third parties. The data is only used for the purpose of the cashless catering system and is destroyed when the data is no longer useful i.e. when a pupil leaves the school.


How is the biometric fingerprint recognition system used to buy food and drink?

All students using the system scan their index finger across the scanner at a till. This then activates their account which is displayed on a screen along with their name, photograph and account balance. The cashier then enters the food and drink selected into the system and the amount spent and balance left is displayed.


How is money entered into the system?

There are currently two systems:

  1. Cash loaders are available for students to use and credit can be loaded before school, at break or after school. There is always help on hand should any student need it.
  2. A secure online payment system for parents and carer is credited to the student's account by the school. 

How does the entitlement to a free school meal work?

The system works exactly the same for all students whether they pay themselves or have a free school meal. The amount allocated for a free school meal is entered into the system daily but any underspend is not added to the next day's balance. Students entitled to a free school meal can also add money to their account.


How does the biometric cashless system promote healthy eating?

We are exploring ways that we can use the information gathered to calculate nutrient intake and promote healthy eating. A reward initiative will be incorporated for healthy eaters and we will look at the possibilities of students being able to access their own eating habits, so they can begin to make choices about nutrient intake in the context of nutrient understanding.