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Education / Cashless payments could come to Anderson High School canteen next term

IT IS hoped that a cashless payment system could be in place in the Anderson High School canteen next term.

Shetland Islands Council catering team leader Neil Beattie said the hope is to have a new system in place at all schools.

The Anderson issue was brought up again at a meeting of Lerwick Community Council on Monday evening.

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Unlike some other schools, people receiving free school meals at the Anderson use a card while others pay by cash.

There are worries that this increases stigma and may put families off from applying for free school meals.

The Anderson High School. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

A host of community council members said they were disappointed nothing has been put in place at the Anderson High School yet.

Chairman Jim Anderson said it “beggars belief”, while Gary Robinson suggested raising the matter with Scottish children’s minister Clare Haughey.

In response, Beattie said the council has decided to look at the situation itself after it became clear a procurement exercise through public sector body Scotland Excel would not likely be completed before October.

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“We have been through several demonstrations and appraisals with different suppliers and have selected the system that we feel best suits the needs of all schools on Shetland,” he said.

Beattie added that the project is in the midst of the council’s business case methodology to secure funding, “and once this is agreed we will implement the system”.

“It may have been possible to still get the system installed before the schools come back but in order to communicate how the system will work effectively with children, parents and admin staff, we felt it best to wait until the school returns,” he said.

“When we do finally launch the system we want to roll it out effectively and efficiently and make sure that no child is left behind. I would hope that we can have the system up and running during the first term.”

He said the proposed new system – run through ParentPay – would allow parents of primary children to “pre-order” meals and give more flexibility.

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