The demand for free school meals hit a new high during the height of the pandemic, with government figures showing that more than 300,000 more children qualified for the scheme between March 2020 and March 2021. The Trussell Trust gave out more than 2.5 million emergency food parcels during this time, with almost half going to children across the UK.
With this in mind, the Welsh government have proposed that all children aged 4 to 11 years will receive free school meals across Wales. Backed by the two biggest parties, Labour and Plaid Cymru, the scheme will reach all Welsh primary school children, with the aim that ‘no child should go hungry’.
This scheme will now ensure that all young children, attending primary school in Wales, will eat at least one healthy, balanced meal each day, although there are no talks yet about whether this will be rolled out to high school pupils too.
The positive effect that this can have on a child’s school experience is second to none. A child that has eaten will have increased concentration, productivity, and in turn a better performance overall.
With the increased entitlement to free school meals and various bursary options, there is certain to be an influx of canteen users, which is why it’s important that your payment solutions are the best fit for what your setting needs. In these circumstances, a cashless till system is our recommendation.
How does Cashless Catering work?
Cashless catering allows authorised users, such as employees, students, parents, guardians and teachers to create an online account, which then creates a unique reference number that may be authenticated in a number of ways including biometric fingerprint technology or the use of NFC (Near Field Communications) such as MiFare cards. The cashless account can then be managed and topped up to allow for spending on-premises.
Parents can link their accounts to multiple student accounts to allow for sibling management in the same session, to avoid any hassle. Multiple ‘purses’ can also be set up so that food and drink allowances can be paid, as well as course fees and other expenses. Spending limits are available to individuals and a full transaction history can also be shown, alongside each individual item purchased, allowing parents to keep a track of their child’s purchase history.
Users can link their cashless portal accounts with existing Google and Facebook accounts as an additional method of authentication, and the portal only uses secure payment methods like Worldpay to ensure your details are always safe and secure.
The cashless portal is designed to run on any modern browser and is mobile optimised, allowing users to bookmark and save shortcuts for easy access. As with all of Haven System’s products, the cashless portal can be themed to match your business’ existing branding and logos ensuring your business needs are met.
Of course, not everyone is going to feel comfortable topping up solely online, which is why there are alternative methods of account topping up and management available, to be sure that everyone’s needs are met.
What are the benefits of cashless catering in the education sector?
Cashless till systems enable a smooth service to be delivered and a faster rate, keeping queuing times to a minimum for both staff and students as catering staff no longer have to handle change.
The online top-up feature means that students and parents can easily manage and top up their accounts online, without the need to carry cash. This can also give parents more control over how their child spends their money, with daily spending limits that can be put in place.
The unlimited database allows the education provider to add as many pupils or staff as required and add updates to accounts when needed.
Where a Print Management System is in use, for example at an FE college campus, the print and catering payment purses may be integrated so that the user has a single, simple method of authentication for both accounts.
With Haven Systems you will always be supported.
When purchasing your cashless till system, we will provide full training to employees, to ensure you’re always getting the most from your epos system. We will also be on hand to support you with any questions or queries should you need us, both in-person and remotely. With plenty of support options available, you are guaranteed to find an option to meet your needs.
If you’d like to get started, get in touch today.