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How do you pay for school dinners?

(62 Posts)
BubblyAll Sat 07-Jun-14 20:34:40

I work in a primary school and, to be honest, school dinners cause a huge amount of work and upset! Our school allows parents to book meals on the day and our cook is going hairless, not to mention the inevitable errors that occur which the school has to pay for.

How does your child's school deal with school dinners: can you pay daily, or does it have to be weekly, half-termly or termly? Do you have to choose meals in advance, or does your child choose on the day?

You have no idea how much any good ideas would be appreciated, so thank you in advance!

guitarosauras Sat 07-Jun-14 20:38:25

Mine usually have packed lunch but for youngest we pay on the day if he has them. For eldest we pay into an account and they use a 'credit card' style system.

BelleateSebastian Sat 07-Jun-14 20:40:03

Pay and order on the Monday for that week.

SecretSpy Sat 07-Jun-14 20:40:23

We pay for and book all dinners for that week on Mondays. Cash or cheque only, no online payment system at the school. Which is crap.

optimistmum Sat 07-Jun-14 20:42:24

For primary school I pay for each half term (in advance). Also have to give half terms notice to stop school lunches.
Pay by cheque or via school on line system.

Not very flexible system but it helps to manage costs.

frames Sat 07-Jun-14 20:43:00

Children are either school dinners or pack lunch. No swooping about. LA sets menu. Pay cash/cheque, office will send text with outstanding balance at end of term.

WeeClype Sat 07-Jun-14 20:43:05

Ours have a card system, the children top up themselves or parents send in cheques. I usually put a cheque in for £20 and when that gets used I get a text telling me.

The children choose daily what they are having off the menu.

splishsplosh Sat 07-Jun-14 20:43:29

I have no idea how our school system manages to work - payment is done via Parent Pay - so you top it up whenever you want, then you just have school dinners whenever you want, as long as your account is in credit - no need to say what days you will have them.

There is a 3 week rolling menu, with a meat & vegetarian choice each day, and again, the children select that when they turn up for the meal, though they keep a record of the children who need a vegetarian meal.

It's amazing that it works actually!

cece Sat 07-Jun-14 20:44:16

We have to say whether they are school dinners or packed lunch. They are then whatever they are. No changing between the two unless 2 weeks notice is given. No option of doing half the week as pl and half the week as sd.
We pay for the sd through an online payment system, which we also use for trips etc.

gamerchick Sat 07-Jun-14 20:46:05

I have to send the money in a little orange envelope at the beginning of the week.

NormHonal Sat 07-Jun-14 20:47:20

The dream: I simply click on a "pay school dinners" button on my smart phone screen as I waft along the sunny street whilst my beautiful daughter admires me for being magic.*

*or this might have been the imaginings of the NatWest ad man.

Reality: Nothing so high-tech. Cheque, once or twice a term. But only for a few more weeks! until DC1 hits year 3.

Imsosorryalan Sat 07-Jun-14 20:48:16

The catering company my dds school use allows you to pay online. It's fab!

mrz Sat 07-Jun-14 20:53:47

We pay by the week and parents commit to either school dinners or packed lunches for half a term.

addictedtosugar Sat 07-Jun-14 20:59:47

2 weeks notice to change, i think. Tho they said they would be more flexible right at the start of reception.

Menu with several choices on. Kids pick at lunch time (no ordering).

I pay cash every half term. Think most people pay weekly.

I think we can choose which days, but they are then fixed, iyswim - So DS could have sandwiches Mon, wed, Fri, and school lunch Tues, Thurs, but that would need to be a fixed pattern.

kimlo Sat 07-Jun-14 21:02:09

You either have pl or sd, and its a months notice to change.

They need to be paid for at the beginning of the week but I'm really awful at remembering to pay so I do it monthly. I wish you could do it online then I could do it when I remember without having to go and get the cash out.

The children choose what they want in the morning, then they are given a band to wear that is the colour for the meal they wanted. There used to be loads of issues with people ordering one thing then taking something else so that the people who went in last didn't get what they wanted only what was left.

SandStorm Sat 07-Jun-14 21:03:08

I can choose on a day by day basis but in reality DD has school lunch every day so I pay half termly online with parent pay.

FlipFlopWaddle Sat 07-Jun-14 21:06:37

Choose and pay on the day. They get asked at registration what they want to it from the 2 choices, which generally vary greatly from what's on the termly menus that get sent home hmm. We can pay cash or cheque, either daily or weekly. I love the flexibility of being able to give dd £2 when I'm too busy lazy to make her a packed lunch grin

Ludways Sat 07-Jun-14 21:06:46

I pay online on Parent Pay for both schools, I pay every half term for primary as that's a set amount, for secondary I usually pay monthly as what he spends varies daily.

Goldendandelion Sat 07-Jun-14 21:07:43

We can choose on the day here. I love the flexibility and would hate to lose it.

MrsBungle Sat 07-Jun-14 21:09:50

We pay by squid account. They e mail me when my balance drops below £5 with the link to top up - very easy and convenient.

The children show hands in the morning to say whether they are packed lunch or school dinner. We don't have to commit to anything and can pick and choose.

RhinestoneCowgirl Sat 07-Jun-14 21:10:45

Are you me FlipFlop? The flexibility of being able to say 'hey kids, school dinners today' when we're running late is great grin.

spanieleyes Sat 07-Jun-14 21:12:10

You need to select online for the following week, packed lunch or cooked meal for any combination of days you want. Payment is online. Parents who don't have online access can either come into school and the secretary will do it for you or you can ask for a printed menu for the 3 weeks in the cycle and mark off which your child wants, then the secretary inputs the details. Either way you can then pay by cheque

School Pay for us, I just keep the account topped up and the DCs are allowed to choose on the morning whether or not to have dinner and which option they will have, the list goes through to the office with the morning register. How the kitchen cope with that I have no idea, it's a primary school with about 250 pupils.

It's great but if it was any less flexible we probably have them less often. DS only has one once in every three week rotation anyway, DD has them about 4/5 days a week but there are a few days of the 3 weeks where she doesn't like either option.

FiveExclamations Sat 07-Jun-14 21:14:49

We have a pre-booking system, the menu goes home on the Thursday to be returned the Friday morning. The canteen staff order according to the booking form plus a few extra to allow for last minute extras.

The school accepts that plans can change but I have heard that someone who'd changed things a a lot over a few weeks was gently asked to be a bit more organised.

RueDeWakening Sat 07-Jun-14 21:15:30

We pay online via Parent Pay. Options are to have dinners every day, only Fridays (which is burgers & chips day) or Wednesdays and Fridays (Weds is roast dinner day). But you sign up for half a term at a time.

There's a veggie and meat option, children choose which they'd like when they're served. It's a 3 week rolling menu, which is changed at Easter and October half term.

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