Cashless catering system Top up your child's lunch account external link icon Price list download icon Frequently asked questions

Our negotiations with suppliers have, to date, helped to keep food costs below current inflation rates, but despite all efforts from these suppliers and HC3S, prices have now moved above budgeted levels, which means the current meal price is no longer viable. We have no room to further reduce food costs without reducing the nutritional content or size of meals. We therefore have no option but, regrettably, to increase the HC3S school meal price by 20p from £2.60 to £2.80 for all meal types with effect from Monday 31 October 2022.

Head of HC3S Catering Services

HC3S LogoHC3S is the catering partner chosen to provide nutritious and tasty meals in our college.  They cater for many tastes, serving a mix of British classics and foods from around the world. We know that a nutritious lunch full of fresh ingredients will help your child to succeed.  Our catering team are passionate about making healthy eating fun. 

School meals in secondary schools are very different to the primary lunch experience. Students expect to be treated more like adults as they enter this phase in their life. It's important that our school meals reflect what students would eat out and about with friends and family.  To find out more about them, menus and see the current tariff please visit their website: external link icon

Turning to the high street for inspiration, they provide a selection of grab-and-go options as well as sit-down meals.  They do this without losing sight of the School Food Standards external link icon. Menu changes and theme days ensure that there is an exciting selection of food all year round.  The school meal price is currently £2.80.

HC3S Menu for Henry Cort - UPDATED NOVEMBER 2022 download icon

HC3S Menu for Gluten Free and Coeliac - NOVEMBER 2022 download icon

* IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR GLUTEN FREE/COELIAC MENU: Students must let the Kitchen Manager know in the morning if they would like hot food that day so that it can be prepared in time for lunch break. Cold food will need to be pre-ordered on a Thursday for the following Monday/Tuesday/ Wednesday, or Monday for the following Thursday/Friday. Please ask your child to speak to the kitchen staff if they need any help or advice.

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Cashless catering system

We operate a cashless catering system using biometrics, the system has the following key benefits:

  • Increased speed of service, therefore reducing queueing times
  • Facility for parents/carers to pay on-line
  • No need to carry cash, preventing loss/theft
  • Students learn about important lifestyle control by monitoring their own accounts
  • On a daily basis, the system automatically allocates funds to the catering accounts of those students on free school meals; students with free meal entitlements remain anonymous.
  • Parents/carers can use our online payments system to see the food their child has consumed in school 

Cashless catering means that students and staff cannot use cash to purchase snacks, drinks, or meals from the school canteen.  No cash can be accepted at our catering terminals, and all food is paid for by account.  Every student is allocated an individual catering account and parent/carers can deposit funds into their child’s account through our online payments system.  Alternatively, for parents/carers who do not have online access, students can use one of the two 'top-up' machines located in canteen.

Purchases of food and drink are deducted from catering accounts in real time. The system automatically imposes a ‘spend limit’ of £4.00 for every student. This can be changed by written request to the finance team:

The system uses two methods of student identification: biometric finger scan and student photo.  Students can only be registered for the biometric system once we have received consent from parents, via admission forms.

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Frequently asked questions

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 and 130 points on the finger/thumb.  It is not a fingerprint and is of use only in the cashless system.

How does a Biometric System work?

The information of a student or staff member, who has been biometrical registered, is stored on a secure Biometric Controller within the school, which only our provider can access.  Once an account is credited the students or staff member places their finger/thumb on the 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?

Registration takes place at the start of the new academic year and throughout the year when required.  Students are required to place their finger/thumb on a biometric sensor twice to obtain a matching template, which only takes a few seconds. 

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

Funds can be credited to an account as follows:

  • Online Payments. To make a payment online please go to external link icon to make an electronic payment. NB: You will be given a unique student code to register for our online payments once your child has officially started at the school
  • Cash at the top-up units in canteen. These units can be used to top up accounts by students/staff placing their finger/thumb on the sensor followed by inserting the accepted tender below: £20, £10, £5 notes, £2, £1, 50p, 20p, 10p coins

Once an account has been credited the monies cannot be withdrawn and must be spent on the school meal/break services.

How can I check the credit on an account?

This can be done by the account holder placing their finger/thumb on to the ‘Top up’ machine, the current balance will then be displayed.   Alternatively, parents/carers can check balances by accessing the online payment system (see above).  

Can I change the daily ‘Spend Limit’?

Yes – The daily ‘Spend Limit’ has a default of £4.00, but this may be changed by written request to the finance team:

How do ‘free meal’ entitlements work?

All free meal entitlements will be entered on to the system electronically.  The cashless catering system will, on a daily basis, automatically allocate the appropriate accounts with the free meal amounts, £2.80 per day from 31st October 2022.   Students with Free Meal Entitlements remain anonymous at all times as all account types are accessed in the exact same manner regardless whether it is 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 I request a printed report of my child’s meal intake?

Yes – The Cashless Catering System allows numerous reporting facilities, which includes dietary habit.  In addition, parents/carers can view using the online payment system.

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UPDATED: 09/11/2022