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Bringing flexibility and efficiency to lunchtimes

St Bede’s Catholic School and Sixth Form College based in Lanchester is a secondary school and sixth form with academy status, with nearly 1400 students. As a catholic school with a strong emphasis on the growth of each pupil, it was vital for the school to implement a lunchtime system that enabled flexibility and time management for the staff and pupils.

Before St Bede’s decided to move to a cashless catering system, they found that various administration tasks carried out by the office and catering manager were taking up too much time, which included counting money and frequent trips to the bank. In a digitally dominated world, the school’s Director of ICT Services, Andrew Freeman, knew it was time to move to a fully streamlined cashless catering system and payment method, making St Bede’s one of the first secondary schools to do so.

The flexibility of our software allowed St Bede’s to begin using iDStore and then upgrade to Fusion while including iDReaders to act as Balance Checkers and Password Management points. With the use of iDStore and a seamless SIMS integration, many of the previous admin tasks carried out by the office, catering and IT staff are now automated, with a user-friendly, responsive and secure interface for all of St Bede’s cashless needs.

Fusion combines cashless catering and an online payment system into one solution, offering complete flexibility to schools with customised menus, updates in real-time and smart reporting, allowing full control over pupil data while ensuring the highest level of security and compliance. Pupils can use the Fusion Online pre-order app to pre-order their lunch in advance and secure their food options, saving time queueing and allowing staff to monitor food trends and reduce food wastage.

As the Director of ICT Services, Andrew found that the Password Management integration with the Balance Checkers ensured that there are minimal teaching and learning disruptions in the event of students forgetting their passwords. Throughout the schools, pupils are in close vicinity to iDReaders, allowing them to change their password via Balance Checker devices, improving efficiency, freeing up time for IT staff and allowing them to pursue other tasks.

“As a long-standing customer of CRB Cunningham’s for over ten years, we have always found training, support and installation to be of a high standard.” Said Andrew Freeman. “All staff we work with including sales, project management and support both over the telephone and onsite are extremely knowledgeable about the products. Timescales have always been adhered to as agreed, while training provides a sound knowledge to those staff who require to use any element of the cashless catering system in their school role.”

Years after moving to a cashless catering system, lunchtime at St Bede’s is now simple, time-saving and straightforward. The benefits of implementing a cashless catering system have extended to pupils, staff and parents. These include the option for pupils to secure their favourite school meal in advance, the ability for parents to view their child’s balance and spending history and a streamlined process with fewer administration tasks for staff.