Boldon School is installing a biometric cashless catering system in November 2015.  The new system will allow us to continue with the development of the school meal service, and will provide us with a more efficient, faster and ultimately better quality of service.

This system incorporates the latest technology and eliminates the need for students to carry cash throughout the day thus reducing the risk of bullying.  It is also biometric so there is no need for students to carry a card as the system will recognise the thumb of the student.

We will commence operating the system on Monday 2 November 2015 and no cash will be accepted at the till points after this date.

Any amount of money can be paid into a child’s account, and money spent on food and drink will be deducted at the till as they make their choices.  Coin and note payments will be accepted at the revaluation pay-points and monies can be added via cheque by arrangement with the catering staff.

No record is kept of the actual thumbprint – the technology converts the print into a series of unique numbers that will identify the student.  We have organised an Information Meeting at School on Monday 12th October 2015 at 6pm to discuss the system if anyone has any concerns. Staff from the Catering Company will be in attendance to answer any queries.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q            What is a Cashless System?

A             A Cashless Catering System is a solution, which is purpose designed to meet the ever evolving needs and demands of the Catering Provision that is required by today’s schools

The Trust-e Cashless Solution allows schools to be better able to provide their students with a faster, more efficient and more appealing meal service.

Q            What is Biometric?

A             Biometric is simply a method of identifying an individual person.  We will be using an algorithm based scan, which reads between 50 & 130 points on the finger/thumb.  It is not a fingerprint in any way, shape or form and is of use only in the cashless system.

Q            How does a Biometric System work?

A             The information from a student or staff member, who has been biometrically registered, is stored on a secure Biometric Controller within the school, which only 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. This looks up their account details and allows them to purchase items using only this method of identification.

Q            How does my child register on the Biometric System?

A             Registration days will take place leading up to the ‘Live’ day of the Cashless System.  At this time registration terminals will be placed in the school.  Your child will attend at a requested time and they will be required to place their finger / thumb on a Biometric sensor twice to obtain a matching template, which only takes a few seconds.

Q            What methods of payment can be used to credit an account?

A             Any amount can be credited to an account by way of the methods listed below.  Once an account has been credited the monies cannot be withdrawn and must be spent on the school meal / break services.

Cash at the Revaluation Units

Revaluation units will be sited at different locations within the school.  These can be used to top up accounts by the student / member of staff placing their finger / thumb on the sensor followed by inserting the accepted tender below:

£20, £10, £5 notes

£2, £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p coins

(Please note – copper coins are not accepted)


Cheque payments can be accepted for the Cashless Catering System.  Cheques should be made payable to the School’s catering partner, “Catering Academy” and the student’s name and form number should be written on the back of the cheque.  All cheques must be handed to the Catering Manager at the Bistro and must be received by 9.00 am prior to that day’s commencement of service.  Cheques received after this time will not be credited to the relevant account until the following day.

Q            How can I check the credit on an account?

A             This can be done by the account holder placing their finger / thumb on to the revaluation machine.  The current balance will then be displayed.

Q            What happens if my child’s account is not in credit or he / she has forgotten their money?

A             A ‘Lend’ can be processed at the Pay Terminal, which will then allow a meal to be taken.  An automatic overdraft will be set up, which will allow the student / staff member to go into debit up to the cost of 1 meal (currently £2.10).  The child must then ensure that payment is made at the earliest opportunity.

Q            How do ‘free meal’ entitlements work?

A             All free meal entitlements will be entered on to the system prior to the ‘Live’ day.  The Cashless Catering System will, on a daily basis, automatically allocate the appropriate account with the free meal amounts.  Children 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.  NB.  Any monies not spent from the daily free meal allocation will not be carried over to the next day.

Q            Can anyone else use my child’s account?

A             No – Due to the extensive security on Biometric templates no-one will be able to access your child’s account.  As a secondary precaution a photo image is allocated to each student.

Q            My child has an allergy, how will this be monitored?

A             All allergy records registered with the school will be entered on to the Cashless System.  When students attempt to purchase an item, which has ingredients that they are allergic to, the system will alert the operator and prevent them from selling the chosen item.

Q            Can I dictate my child’s dietary requirements?

A             The system will allow you to register any items that your child is not allowed due to dietary needs or religious beliefs.  Any such items must be confirmed in writing by the parent / guardian to the Director of Learning.

Q            Can I request a printed report of my child’s meal intake?

A             Yes – The Cashless Catering System allows numerous reporting facilities, which includes Dietary Habits.  These may be requested by contacting your child’s Director of Learning.