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School Meals

The Cashless catering system has been repaired and is going to be back online from the start of the next academic year. Over the remainder of the term Biometric data shall be collected from students missing from the database. Any parents not wishing their students to be party to the collection please write to school stating so, but be aware no purchases can be made from the canteen without registration on the system.

Parent Pay information

ParentPay is the market leader in online payment for schools.  We provide online payments, income management and dinner money administration for schools, authorities and caterers. Our school online payment system helps more than 3,000 schools save time and money. ParentPay’s school ePayment system means over 1 million parents can pay school online quickly and easily, helping to keep children safer.


Parent Information

ParentPay is not controlled by Sandown Bay Academy and any account issues must be reported to ParentPay directly.

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What is a Cashless System?

At the heart of the cashless system there is a computer controlled by I.M.P.A.C.T - Software.  This allows the system to recognise each individual pupil, hold individual cash balances, record cash spent and cash received record where money is spent, on what food, on any specific date and time of day.

How are pupils recognised by the system?

Each pupil will be issued with their own personal Bio Metric fingerprint, which when used will enter them into the system program and identify them by a number encoded to each pupil.

How is the fingerprint used to obtain a school meal?

The pupil puts his/her finger on a reader. A display will show the server the pupil’s name, class and current cash balance held within the system. The selected food items will be entered into the system from an itemised keyboard while the amount spent and the new cash balance will show on the display.


How is money entered into the system?

(a) By ‘Cheque’ payment made to ‘Caterlink' via main school reception, to cover any period.  i.e.  Term - 1/2 Term - Month or Week - or a fixed monetary amount of your own choice.

(b) On the Parentpay website. [CS1] -

(c) At a local Paypoint.


NB:      All payments through main school reception must be in an envelope, marked with the full name a tutor group of the students, to allow the money to be credited to the correct account.

How will the pupil be able to check what the current cash balance is held in the system at any one time?

This can be checked on the Parentpay website and a remote display will show the new cash balance when the food service is finished

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

No; a daily spend limit of £5.00, or a pre-selected amount, will be set for all pupils and no food above that limit can be bought. On request, an individual pupil limit of your choice could also be set, to include a school dinner and break time snacks.

What if the pupil does not hold a sufficient cash balance one day to pay for a school dinner?

As before, no pupil is refused a school dinner because they have not brought their dinner money to school with them. The school will allow the pupil to loan money for one day.  However, just as before, the pupil would be expected to bring some money with them the next day to repay the loan and re-credit the system by using Parent pay, Paypoint  or by cheque or cash payment to  ‘Caterlink’ via main school reception.

What about the pupils entitled to a free school meal?

The system works exactly the same for all pupils whether they pay or have a free school meal.  The amount allocated for the free school meal will be entered into the system by the software daily and will only be accessible at lunchtime, not at breaktime. 

The system will then allow on a daily basis the cash amount allocated for free school meals. However, any under spend or missed dinner will be identified by the system and will not be added to the next day’s balance.

This means that students will not have to identify themselves as in receipt of free school meals and will use the system to pay for their meal.

How will ‘healthy eating’ be encouraged?

After the new system has been operating for a while, we hope to enhance the school’s ‘healthy eating policy’.  When the food is selected on the canteen server’s keypad, it will also register points for a balanced, healthy and nutritious school dinner. At the end of the term the top scoring pupils will be identified and the winner will receive an award.