Cashless Catering FAQs
1. What is Cashless Catering?
It means AGS will no longer accept cash at our dining hall tills. We will instead ask all parents to use a new ParentPay system to credit an online account with funds for meal times. Students will access their account and pay for items at the till by a biometric recognition system (students press their thumb against a digital reader at the till). This then directly debits their account.
2. How does a biometric recognition system work?
The system uses an algorithm based scan of a student’s thumb which reads between 50 & 130 points on the thumb. It is not a fingerprint in any way, shape or form and is of use only in the cashless system. The data cannot be reconverted into a fingerprint or misused in any way.
3. When will this change take place?
From July 2012. The system will be fully in place and all staff trained before the end of the summer term to ensure that we are ready for all students to use the systems in September.
4. What about paying for trips, visits, school events, library fines, stationery, department contributions, uniform, or making donations?
The school is converting all these areas into cashless transactions via ParentPay.
5. What is ParentPay?
ParentPay is an online payment system designed to allow parents, via an account to pay for all school related charges in one place, in one transaction.
6. How does it work?
The school will give every parent a letter in the coming weeks that will enable them to set up and register a ParentPay account. Once registered each parent can credit their account with funds by debit card for a variety of purposes. Parents can top up their account as they see fit for students to use or pay a bill that is raised to their account by the school.
7. What if I have a ParentPay account already with another school?
Your existing account will be used for paying Aylesbury Grammar School. There is no need to reregister.
8. What are the charges involved?
There is no cost to parents. Every account set up is free and allows parents to pay for all charges without any additional charge to them. AGS is bearing the cost of this new system to enable this improved method of receiving all income.
9. Will I be able to pay by debit, credit and PayPal?
No. To reduce the cost to us, we are making debit card the only method of payment.
10. What are the benefits to parents?
a. It saves you time - access the system via the internet in your home or via your phone to pay for all your costs without writing a cheque and waiting for the cheque to clear.
b. It gives you total certainty over what has been paid for and when without the need to query it with the school.
c. It gives you total security – no more lost cheques, lost coins or lost slips via students taking money into school
d. It helps you plan your school trip costs, allowing you flexibility as to when to pay.
e. It allows you to pay for many separate charges in one debit transaction, instead of separate cheques
11. What are the benefits for AGS?
a. It saves us a lot of administrative time handling, counting and banking the cash and cheques we receive. Money from ParentPay is paid directly into our bank accounts instead.
b. It means we will spend less time chasing for late or overdue payments, querying bounced cheques. The system emails parents where payments are becoming due or are overdue directly via automated email.
c. It saves us money. No more cash handling fees or paying fees for bounced cheques.
d. It speeds up payment at the till, reduces queues and increases our ability to serve more students. There will be 5 cashless tills in all, one of which will enable pre-ordering of food to help queue speeds
e. It helps us ensure that more students take a healthy hot meal at break or lunchtime, instead of spending money elsewhere on junk food, one of our main concerns about student health. This increase in turnover ensures the security of the dining hall provision in the long term.
12. How will cashless tills really benefit my son?
a. If Parents support the drive towards cashless by using the account to fund meals at AGS fewer boys will go out of school to buy junk food. If students are not given cash to spend their only option is to use the catering facility we provide and are proud of.
b. We will provide information to every parent via the ParentPay system on what has been bought every day by every student, what the nutritional value of that meal was as well as the menu details for the upcoming month. Parents have told us this information is important to them.
c. If parents allocate £12 per week to the ParentPay account this is sufficient for a hot meal and drink or desert every day for a week. Taking meals at school is cheaper than people think and healthier too. See our menu.
d. We know that Tesco receives an estimated £40k a week from our students alone. Parents do not know what is being bought with cash and we are committed toward reducing student’s ability to use supermarkets as a daily junk food source.
13. What if I cannot access a computer to use ParentPay?
a. We are committed towards a completely cashless dining hall and catering provision. If parents elect not to use the system then AGS suggests that students are given a packed lunch from home instead.
b. Equally if parents elect not to use ParentPay for paying other school related charges the school will continue to accept cheques in rare cases, but only where a parent completes an opt-out form stating they do not wish to use ParentPay for a valid reason. Where that situation exists AGS will continue to support those parents with manual payments.
14. What if I wish to not have fingerprint recognition for my son?
AGS will respect that wish and allocate your son a pin number to access the ParentPay account at the till instead. Parents wishing their son not be involved in the fingerprint registration must complete an opt out form and return it to the school before the registration takes place (Date TBC)