Cashless School Systems – Getting the Most out of Free School Meals
April 18, 2018
Cashless school systems could be the answer for schools struggling to get the most out of Free School Meals (FSM). A new survey has shown the difficulty some schools have in getting all eligible students to sign up for the benefit.
Cashless school systems to encourage greater uptake
With cashless school systems, you can take away the perceived social stigma that might come with claiming FSM. The survey that saw 900 National Education Union members interviewed by the Child Poverty Action Group, found that 55 per cent of teachers believe parents don’t claim FSM because they are too embarrassed.
Parents shouldn’t feel embarrassed to claim FSM, that’s a shame. FasTrak can’t fix that socioeconomic problem – but with our cashless systems it can give parents and their children back confidentiality.
When catering is handled with a cashless system, a child receiving FSM and a child getting a meal their parents have paid for is exactly the same in practice. Children are not singled out in the catering process, which gives discretion back to the FSM process. When privacy is restored to the FSM system, more parents can be encouraged to sign-up.
Cashless school systems to improve school budgets
Cashless school systems help more than just parents and students when it comes to FSM. The study found that 21 per cent of those interviewed felt some eligible students were missing out on FSM, and 4 per cent believe a significant proportion were. When students who could be signed up for FSM aren’t, schools miss out too because FSM helps determine how school pupil premium funding is allocated.
The more pupils on FSM, the more money schools get, but there is no auto-enrolment, schools need to encourage sign-up themselves. Cashless systems for schools therefore not only make it easier to encourage more students to sign up for catering and FSM, but help increase the school’s catering intake and potential budget as well.