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Dinner money system

(26 Posts)
Lifeisnotsimple Wed 20-Feb-19 15:46:38

Can anyone enlighten me on how the dinner money system works at their school. In ours there is old cash system whereby you give the teacher the weeks money and they send it to the office. No receipts given. I keep a detailed log because i know no cash will be given back. I pay 2weekly and have been told today im 21 quid in arrears and i know ive paid on time but now its my word against theirs. They told me they will look for it. But where do i stand if it is not found?

OP’s posts: |
Mudmonster Wed 20-Feb-19 15:50:10

My dc primary school is completely cashless, everything has to be paid for on parentpay even £1 for Non-uniform days.
The high school everything is paid via the local council website, which is a crappy website that’s not very easy to navigate.

Lifeisnotsimple Wed 20-Feb-19 15:55:29

@mudmonster thanks wish ours did that at least i would have evidence of payment.

OP’s posts: |
Bunnybigears Wed 20-Feb-19 16:01:34

I had a similar scenario as you where on the first day of the new school year the teacher told us dinner money was to be put in a labelled envelope and placed by the child in the box on her desk which would then be collected by the office. I had a call saying I was 2 weeks behind when I mentioned it had been placed in the box the response was "what box?". So I started to take the money direct to the office regardless of this being frowned upon by the receptionist.

Easterbuns1 Wed 20-Feb-19 16:05:42

Previous primary school was cash only, I sent mine in weekly on a Monday morning in a labelled envelope and if it wasn't right cash I got the envelope back cellotaped up with the change in it Monday afternoon. You could pay weekly, fortnightly, monthly or termly as long as it went in on a Monday.

We moved to different area and it's now done online, I can either top up in advance or I know some people pay in arrears. I'm also able to look and see which option the dc have chosen each day.

Lifeisnotsimple Wed 20-Feb-19 16:12:59

I cant believe we are in 2019 and our school doesnt have a system online it blows my mind. Plus not fair if the money goes missing cos i have no come back or evidence to prove otherwise. Fuming!

OP’s posts: |
ThreeAnkleBiters Wed 20-Feb-19 16:57:50

Wow what an old fashioned system - I'm very surprised the school still operate like that. Our school dinner is per day and we pay at the beginning of term. I wish we could be totally cashless at school but there are still the odd things which require cash (usually only a pound or two here or there - only an issue as I have to find the change).

TheTurnOfTheScrew Wed 20-Feb-19 17:00:10

I am the last person in the UK to have and make use of a cheque book, which is almost exclusively used to send money into two different schools, both of which doggedly refuse to go down the ParentPay route
<deep sigh>.

MarchingFrogs Wed 20-Feb-19 17:04:19

Just checked our old primary school's website and they now use ParentPay, but when our DC were there, it was cash later cash or cheque) only. (Apparently, not enough parents had bank accounts for a cashless system to be viable). I probably had a bit of a reputation at the HSBC near work, popping in every Friday lunchtime to withdraw a week's worth of the requisite number of DC's exact dinner money.

Things all went fairly well until the youngest was near the end of year 6, when we had a couple of instances of being accused of underpaying. Having initially spent way too much time trying to reconcile the amounts we apparently hadn't paid with DS2's school dinner consumption, in the end I just dug my heels in and said that I was completely certain that he had only eaten the school's food on the number of occasions that we had paid for it and left it up to the finance person to decide whether it was worth their while to argue the toss any further - over £6...

dementedpixie Wed 20-Feb-19 17:04:56

Ours have a dinner cards and cash can be added to it via machines in school or online.

admission Wed 20-Feb-19 17:42:17

Schools are supposed to abide by the internal financial regs that they operate against. The idea that a school is still using cash for dinner money and even more importantly not formally acknowledging the receipt fills me with concern.
As it stands they cannot prove you have not paid and you cannot prove you have paid, so it looks like a stand off until the school gives in and accepts they have lost £21. What is worrying is that this could be being replicated all across the school because of the lack of a clear and provable pathway to accept money.

Clutterbugsmum Wed 20-Feb-19 17:44:50

Ours is a cashless as well.

I would give the office a copy of your list with, dates and amounts and ask them to confirm which ones they are missing and can they investigate where the money has gone to and I will not be paying an arrears until they have confirmed any arrears.

I would also state that going forward you require a receipt at the end of Monday of payment they have received.

The school has a very floored system, and I doubt that they could confirm your payments.

lorisparkle Wed 20-Feb-19 17:49:08

I have had many run ins with issues regarding dinner money. On one occasion our school had to go to a cash system and at the end of term they owed me money (I had paid in advance and child was ill). It took me 6 months to get money back and that was after copying head and chair of governors into my request. I still had rude comments that I was taking school funds!

Currently we use 'parent pay ' online. I refuse to pay in advance because of the previous issues I have had.

In your situation I would ask them to prove I owed them the money.

JingsMahBucket Wed 20-Feb-19 17:55:41

@Lifeisnotsimple I would start photographing the (dated) envelopes before giving them to the teacher or even in the teacher’s hands. You’d then be able to have a record of envelopes.

And yes to asking them to prove you owe them vs. them having lost the money.

greathat Wed 20-Feb-19 18:43:19

I try to pay for everything online or by cheque after a similar scenario. All our school lunches are online though

Lifeisnotsimple Wed 20-Feb-19 18:54:04

Im not giving them another penny, if it is found then moving forward i will take it directly to the office and ask for receipt. If i photocopy envelopes it still wouldnt prove i have given the money. If it has not been found then he wont have dinners and will organised packed lunch. Im a little miffed as last yr they owed me £5 odd and i didnt get it, this yr they owe me £3. If they are doing that to everyone they are making a tidy profit. Its a good school and everyone helps out financially to support the school but i cant afford to write off 21 quid just because they say. I will speak to the school mane and if they say its lost then will speak to the council.

OP’s posts: |
Pud2 Wed 20-Feb-19 19:23:16

If the school are taking cash, they have to issue you with a receipt. Goodness Knows how they will pass an audit. It’s statutory for all cash exchanges so you can insist on it.

user789653241 Wed 20-Feb-19 19:26:59

It sound really unorganised. At our school, it's either paid online or at the office. Can the teacher confirm that you have paid?

Maybe if you or your dc give the money to the teacher, can you ask her/him to sign for it when they receive it in the future?

StressedToTheMaxx Wed 20-Feb-19 19:32:48

I have just had a disagreement with my dd's school over lunch money.
She only goes to the dinner school for Xmas lunch. The majority of the rest of the year she is packed lunch.
Xmas 2016 I gave her the cash and she came back from school with the change. The school then contacted me and said she had not paid. I said she must have as she can home with the correct change. But I didn't want to argue over £2, so I paid again.
Cue January 2019 a text to say I still hadn't paid 2016 and they wanted money for a third time.
Luckily the office lady remember me paying because I nagged so much as I paid a second time
But I stated I would be paying in person for everything from now on and expect a receipt and they said that would be fine.
Maybe your dcs school office could offer receipts if you pay in person?

motheroftwojedi Wed 20-Feb-19 20:36:57

I had exactly the same issue and ended up having to pay twice for an entire term of breakfast club because they lost my cash payment. After that I insisted on having a receipt for every payment made in cash to the school. I didn't like cheques because there was always a delay in them being paid in and we don't even have a cheque book anymore.

About a year ago we switched to parent pay for lunches and breakfast club and it's made life so much easier. I think the plan in time is for all payments including school trips to be paid in this way too.

Norestformrz Thu 21-Feb-19 05:40:47

Paying online can be convenient but there is a cost to schools

Clutterbugsmum Thu 21-Feb-19 09:27:22

Norestformrz Yes and just like any other business cost the school should pay for it.

elQuintoConyo Thu 21-Feb-19 09:34:53

At ours you hand in a form that says you'll be having school dinners and pass it to the secretary with your bank details. They take €116 out of your bank each month. That's it.

dementedpixie Thu 21-Feb-19 11:01:03

Ours uses ipayimpact. The kids can decide day to day whether to have a school dinner or packed lunch

BuggerOffAndGoodDayToYou Thu 21-Feb-19 12:10:39

Norestformrz Yes and just like any other business cost the school should pay for it.

The only way my school could afford would be to increase the school meal charge to cover the extra cost.

We are a small school, we have about 100 pupils who have to pay for school meals. The amount our parents pay for meals is the amount we are charged by the catering company. The school pays for all meals for years R, 1 and 2 as well as FSM children. We do get funding for these but, due to the way the funding is calculated it isn’t always enough. If a child is ill and has to go home before lunch the parent often expects a refund for the lunch but if it wasn’t cancelled before 10am the school will still have to pay for it.

I’ve worked in a school with the online system and it doesn’t actually reduce my associated workload AND we cancelled it after one year because we could not afford it.

Would you actually be happy to pay the extra 32p for each transaction? If not which of our very tightly stretched budgets shall we take it from?

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