top of page

Our Canteen  
The Boardwalk

Biometric Cashless Catering


We are pleased to be able to offer:


a cashless payment system for College meals

a secure online payment facility for College meals, trips, College uniform etc.

an on-line uniform shop


The cashless payment system for College meals speeds up service. To purchase food from our catering facilities, The Boardwalk, we use a "biometric" system based on fingerprint recognition technology.  


Please note: this is not a ‘fingerprint’ in the true sense of the word, and definitely cannot be used for any other purposes. The system works as follows:


a numerical value is taken from the student's fingerprint when the finger is first placed on the reading pad  

this string of numbers, similar to a barcode, is then stored

each time the student visits the till they place their finger on the pad and a numerical value is again generated

the number is compared with the stored barcode, uniquely identifying the student


Following many requests from parents/carers we have a convenient way to pay money into College using a secure online service called ParentPay. You can now make online payments for your child’s College meals, trips, music tuition, uniform and other activities.


We hope you will support us in achieving our goal to become a cashless College and reduce the risk to our students of carrying cash. Your support in using ParentPay will help the College enormously, thank you.

Free School Meals – Qualifying Benefits

Parents/Carers in receipt of the following support payments will be entitled to receive free school meals:

  • Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)

  • Income Support (IS)

  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (IBJSA)

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (IRESA)

  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit

  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, that does not exceed £16,190)

  • Working Tax Credit run-on (the payment someone receives for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

  • Children who receive a qualifying benefit in their own right are also allowed to receive free school meals.

Free School Meals Application Process

Plymouth City Council have a new process to apply for Free School Meals.  Their system is very fast, efficient and Parents/Carers will know the outcome of their application almost immediately.

Biometric Cashless Catering System FAQs

Why do you need to use my child’s fingerprint?

By using your child’s fingerprint we can produce a unique string of numbers, similar to a barcode. This unique number will then be used to purchase meals.

Can fingerprints be used by any other agency?

No, the image of your child’s finger print is not saved anywhere on the system. The information that is stored cannot be used to recreate an image of the child’s fingerprint.

How does it work?

When the child places his/her finger on the pad reader at the till, the computer matches their finger print with the unique string of numbers held in the database. 


 A display will show the Catering staff the student’s photo, name, Tutor Group and current cash balance. The selected food items will be entered onto the till and the amount spent will be deducted.

If my child doesn’t use The Boardwalk do they still need to register?

Yes. This will ensure that they are able to be allocated an allowance for a House reward e.g. a free BBQ.

How do I give ‘permission’ for my child to be registered?

There is a section in the Admission form you will need to complete agreeing to your child’s registration. 


 This will be given out at the meeting, in June, for parents, carers and students starting Year 7 in September, or at your meeting with senior staff.

When are the students registering?

We will be registering all new Year 7 students on their Induction Day. Other students register on their first day in College.

What if they are absent for Induction Day?

If your child is absent they can register in September on their first day in College. All they need to do is to go to The Boardwalk.

Is there a daily ‘spend limit’?

Yes, the current daily spend limit is £5.00. This can be increased or decreased for an individual student by making a written request to Mr Conradie, Catering Manager.

How does my child pay for food by cash?

There are two cash stations in College, one in the main Dining Hall and one in the Lower School entrance lobby. 


 Firstly, your child puts their finger on the reading pad. The display will show their name and current cash balance. Coins or notes are inserted into the slot. A button is pressed to complete the transaction.

How does my child know how much they have in their account?

Placing their finger on the reader at the cash station will display their current balance.

My child has Free School Meals so how will this system affect them?

The free meal allowance will be added onto your child’s account daily. They can top up with their own cash if they wish to. They will pay at the till in the same way as the other students. 


They cannot be identified by their friends as being in receipt of free meals.

What happens when my child leaves the College?

When a student leaves College the ‘biometric’ information is deleted.

bottom of page