School meals booking goes online for pilot scheme

A pilot project which will allow parents to book their children’s school meals online will be launched in several primary schools.

The SIC is taking part in a Scottish government promoted scheme already used in other parts of the country. It will mean all meals have to be booked a week in advance and council officials believe it will help catering staff plan for how many pupils they need to feed.

School meals at several primary schools will be booked online from next month.
School meals at several primary schools will be booked online from next month.

ParentPay will start from 1st March at the Bell’s Brae, Hamnavoe, Ollaberry, Urafirth and North Roe primary schools. Letters are being sent home with pupils this week giving all the information required on how to sign up. The parents of anyone in receipt of free school meals – which now includes all P1-P3 pupils – will need to register and book, but won’t be charged for meals.

The council’s executive manager for schools, Shona Thompson, said

Shona Thompson is Executive Manager, Schools, for the Council: ““Parents or carers do need to book meals a week in advance, which is a slight change to the current system; however, as all our school meals are freshly cooked, ParentPay will give our canteen staff a much clearer idea of exactly how many pupils they need to cater for on a weekly basis.

“When all parents and carers are finally using the system, we will then be sure we’re producing the right number of hot meals for the right number of children.

“We’ll be monitoring the system with a view to rolling it out across the remaining primary schools later in the year, but we’re particularly interested in how well it runs in areas where broadband may be an issue. Of course, our staff will be available for anyone who needs help or advice.”


Add Your Comment
  • Michael Garriock

    • February 9th, 2016 18:31

    …..and how is this an “improvement” on the good old tried and tested system of the register teacher checking numbers first thing in the morning for that day, and passing them on to the cookhouse staff?

    Frankly it comes off sounding like extremely convoluted (and undoubtedly expensive) bureaucracy that will cause endless problems, where few if any exist.

    Booking a week ahead will end up in folk booking “just in case” its needed, then forgetting to cancel, leaving food being wasted, and folk forgetting to book in time, leaving bairns with no food, or a hastily cobbled together packed lunch if parents realise in time. Or have I missed something here?

    Is there any school in the country where demand for meals vary so dramatically from day to day anyway, that it necessitates the indroduction of a system such as this? Sounds more like its “change for change’s sake”.


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