Cashless Catering

We operate a Cashless Catering system which means that students do not need to carry cash throughout the day. This system provides students with a more efficient, faster and ultimately better quality of service.

The Cashless Catering system incorporates the latest technology using Biometrics. Any amount of money can be paid into a student’s account and any money spent on food and drink will be deducted on a daily basis. A daily ‘spend limit’ of £5 will be programmed into the system. This can be increased or decreased for an individual student by making a written request to Mrs J Fell, Finance Administrator, in the Finance Office.

What is Biometric?

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.

How does the Biometric System work?

The information of 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, which looks up their account details and allows them to purchase items using only this method of identification.

How does my child register on the Biometric System?

Your child will be registered on the system as part of their induction process. At this time they will be required to place their finger/thumb on a Biometric Sensor twice to obtain a matching template, this only take a few seconds.. If you have chosen to ‘Opt Out’ of this procedure, your child will be presented with a 4 digit PIN Code.

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

Any amount can be credited to an account by way of any of the following:

Online Payments

You can make secure online payments via ParentPay®. For more details click here

Cash at the Revaluations Units

Revaluation units are 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 or by entering their 4 digit PIN Code 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 via the Cashless Catering System. Cheques should be made out to Dowdales School and have written on the back of the cheque Student Name & Form Number. All cheques must be handed to the school office 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.

How can I check the credit on an account?

This can be done by the account holder placing their finger/thumb on to the revaluation machine or by entering a 4 digit PIN Code. The current balance will then be displayed. Alternatively, this can be accessed via the Online payment engine.

Can I change the daily 'Spend Limit'?

Yes – The daily ‘Spend Limit’ has a default of £5 but this may be changed by written request to Mrs J Fell, Finance Administrator, Finance Office, Dowdales School, Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria LA15 8AH.

How do 'free meal' entitlements work?

The Cashless Catering System will, on a daily basis, automatically allocate the appropriate accounts with the free meal amounts. Students 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.

Can anyone else use my child's account?

No – Due to the extensive security on Biometric templates no-one will be able to access your child’s account. If your child is using a 4 digit pin code and they suspect this has been misused they must contact Mrs J Fell in the Finance Office immediately.

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

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.

Can I dictate my child's dietary requirements?

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 Mrs J Fell, Finance Administrator, Finance Office, Dowdales School, Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria LA15 8AH

Can I request a printed report?

Yes – The Cashless Catering System allows numerous reporting facilities, which includes Dietary Habits. These may be requested by contacting Mrs J Fell, Finance Administrator, Finance Office,  Dowdales School, Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria LA15 8AH.

If you require any further information please contact the school on 01229 469800.