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Westbourne Academy

Westbourne Academy is part of the family of Academy Transformation Trust academies.

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Westbourne Food Hall

Cashless Catering and Biometrics

The construction of the new Westbourne Food Hall and the entire new catering concept in 2013 finally gave us the opportunity to introduce cashless catering.

Westbourne Food Hall logo

Each student (and staff member) has a School Money account which they use to pay for their food/drinks, reducing queuing and speeding up service.  They are able to pay into this account either in cash at PayPoint outlets or online via a debit/credit card. At the till they simply enter their pin number, which they are given during their induction.

Benefits of a cashless and biometric system

  • Increases the privacy of free school meal entitled students (and parents can top up the account of FSM entitled students for the purchase of additional snacks or drinks)

  • Because money is loaded onto an electronic account, parents can be sure it is not being spent on sweets etc

  • Removes many of the associated issues found when using cash in schools (e.g. theft and bullying)

  • Numerous reports can be produced allowing parents to know exactly what their son/daughter has been eating and at what cost

  • The system has the added benefit of speeding up the lunch time queues which will mean students spend less time queuing

  • Parents have the option to limit their child's daily spend

  • There are no cards to be lost or forgotten

Data protection and consent for biometric data (fingerprint scanning)

We will only register and store students biometric data with the explicit consent of their parent/carer. Fingerprint scanning is only used for access to printing in school.

Biometric consent forms are issued to all students as part of the induction process - you can also download the consent form here

Parents, students and staff have the opportunity to ask any questions and this information is available both in written form and here online.

We would encourage all parents to provide consent, as we can see the benefits to students, parents and the academy. For any students who's parents who do not provide consent (or for students who refuse), we issue a PIN number as an alternative identification method.


The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 came into effect in September 2013 and this placed additional requirements on schools using automated biometric recognition systems, or planning to install them, to make arrangements to notify parents and obtain their consent.

We will follow the latest Department for Education Guidance (including that in relation to The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, The Data Protection Act 1998 and the General Data Protection Act 2018).

Therefore, we confirm that:

  1. We agree to treat the data collected with appropriate care and must comply with the data protection principles, as set out in the Data Protection Act 1998/GDPR 2018.

  2. We will comply with the additional requirements in sections 26 to 28 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (see Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 below).

  3. We will ensure that each parent of a student is notified of the school’s intention to use the student’s biometric data (see 1 below) as part of an automated biometric recognition system.

  4. We will ensure that written consent of at least one parent is obtained before the data is taken from the student and used (i.e. ‘processed’ – see 3 below).  In no circumstances will we process a student’s biometric data without written consent.

  5. We will not process the biometric data of a student where:

              a) the student (whether verbally or non-verbally) objects or refuses to participate in the processing of their biometric data;
              b) no parent has consented in writing to the processing; or
              c)  a parent has objected in writing to such processing, even if another parent has given written consent.

  6. We will provide reasonable alternative means of accessing services for those students who will not be using an automated biometric recognition system.     


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Q - What is a Cashless System?

A - Cashless simply means that at the service point (i.e. the till) customers don't use money, instead they prove their identity and the value of the purchase is taken from their 'account'. This means that service is faster, and also allows for quick and easy (and transparent) processing of Free School Meals.

Q - What does biometric mean?

A - Biometric is simply a method of identifying an individual person. The system  uses an algorithm based on a scan, which reads around 120 points on the finger and which are converted into a string of random numbers. It is not a fingerprint in any way, shape or form and cannot be used to create a fingerprint. 

Q - How does the system work?

A - Once the student or teacher has registered the date on the system, it is stored on our own secure server (and only we have access to it).

Q - How do they register?

A - We will only register a student on the system once we have obtained parental/carer consent.  Once we have this, the student simply places their finger against a reader device.  It takes just a few seconds.

Q - How do we add funds to the account?

A - You can pay online using School Money or via PayPoint at participating outlets such as the Coop.  To use PayPoint you need to ask for unique barcode for your child from our Data Team. There is a minimum online top up amount of £5. Payments made via PayPoint take up to 4 working days to reach your child's account.

Q - Can I stop my child spending it all in one day?

A - Yes, there is a default daily spend limit of £5 applied at the till. If you wish to change this you need to send a written request to Mrs Hanson in the Data Team office. Changes can take up to 48 hours to take effect.

Q - What happens to the balance in my child's account when the leave Westbourne?

A - We will refund any balances over £5 if requested.  Alternatively the balance may be transferred to a sibling. Balances under £5 cannot be transferred.

Q - How does my child register?

A - We will only register a student on the system once we have obtained parental/carer consent. Once we have this, the student simply places they finger against the finger reader at Student Services. It takes just a few seconds.  Students transferring to high school in Year 7 will have an opportunity to register for their cashless catering account on the first day they start at the academy.