Pentrehafod is an 11–16 mixed comprehensive school close to Swansea, it has approximately 1,050 pupils, thirty one per cent of pupils are in receipt of free school meals.
The school was looking for all the usual benefits from a cashless catering system – speed of service, efficiency and improved reporting were important, as was the prospect of keeping cash out of the catering environment. With a high proportion of students on free school meals the successful system would need to deal with free school meals discreetly and present detailed analysis of uptake to the management team. There were some concerns about the acceptance, by parents, of the use of fingertip detection. The school has limited engineering resource to allocate to the new system so support would need to be very good.
Wall mounted Cash Loaders were installed to keep money out of the catering environment and has significantly speeded up the movement of students through the tills. The system was installed in two days over summer, along with the provision of network cabling to the new till and cash loader points. Fingertip enrolment and training were carried out onsite and all went smoothly, including integration with SIMS.
The system has performed well and we have found the Live Register support to be reliable and always available, even onsite, which was a concern due to our location in South Wales. The system deals with free school meals easily with minimum fuss and we are able to extract the information we need. With good
communication to parents the use of fingertip detection has been well received and presented few problems, the fact that the Live Register fingertip detection seems to be so fast and accurate has helped in gaining the confidence of students and staff. Very few students opted for the pin number but it is a valuable alternative.