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Catering & Free School Meals

The cashless catering system can be used for the purchase of all food and drink that is available from the canteen and The Pod, the schools ‘grab and go’ facility.

Benefits include:

  • Convenience – no need to look for change every morning
  • Confidence that dinner money is spent on food in school – not in the shops on the way to or from school
  • Healthy eating can be encouraged – parents can access details of what their child has purchased
  • Children on free school meals remain anonymous – their accounts are automatically topped up each day
  • Problems related to carrying cash are reduced – no loss or theft

Each student is set up with an account and funds can be added to the account via ParentPay, the school’s online payment system. Payments to ParentPay can be made using either debit card, credit card or via PayPoint. All students already have a ParentPay account, if you require your access code or for any other query regarding ParentPay, please contact Mrs Booth in the Finance Office.

Our expectation is that the vast majority of parents will pay online, however if parents are unable to pay in this way there will be a ‘cash loader’ on site that can also be used to credit your child’s account. You can pay in as much as you like to cover the cost of meals for a week or a month. Daily spending limits will be set at £5.00 per day for all students, this can be changed on the attached biometric permission slip or by emailing  link to school email

The cashless catering system incorporates the latest technology to scan your child’s thumb meaning there is no need for any student to carry cash or a card. We do not store your child’s thumbprint; the technology just stores a string of numbers that enables the system to recognise each student. The school does not keep an image of the thumbprint and the way the data is stored means it cannot be transferred to any other organisation. This information will be destroyed automatically when your child leaves the school.

Should you wish to opt out of the biometric system, we can allocate a PIN code. However, PIN codes do not have the same level of security as biometric (thumbprint) identification. If you opt for a PIN code, it will be your child’s responsibility to remember it and keep it secure. The school cannot be responsible for money spent via PIN code transactions that have been made fraudulently.

We require written consent from at least one parent/guardian before being able to use your child’s biometric information (thumbprint) in the system. Please complete the Biometric-Permission-slip 2019 PDF and return to the school.

Sixth form students do not require a signature from their parents, therefore, the attached biometric form needs to be completed

Any queries, please contact the Finance Office on 01225 711164/5 or email

Do I qualify for free school meals?

Free school meals are not provided automatically. They can be awarded if you receive any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Job Seeker's Allowance (income-based)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income-related)
  • Support under part six of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit - providing you are NOT entitled to Working Tax Credit and your family's annual income (as assessed by HMRC) is not more than £16,190 (as at 6 April 2012)
  • Working Tax Credit 'run-on' - the payment you may receive for a further four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

If you are receiving Working Tax Credit you are NOT entitled to free school meals, regardless of your income.  The exception is during the four-week 'run on' period when you may have stopped qualifying for but are still receiving payment of Working Tax Credit.

Children who receive Income Support or income-based Job Seeker's Allowance in their own right qualify as well. All pupils who do not qualify for free school meals must be charged the same amount for the same quantity of the same item.

How long will my child get free school meals?

Free school meals are awarded for the period of your qualifying benefit or support payment.

Why should I apply for free school meals if I do not wish my child/children to receive them?

We would like to ask you to consider registering your child/children as eligible for free school meals, whether you intend to take up the option of them actually having a free school meal. This is because a great deal of the funding that comes from the Government for schools in Wiltshire is based on the numbers of pupils eligible for free school meals. So by registering for free school meals you will be helping the funding of your child’s school.

How can I apply for free school meals?

Application for Free School Meals

Please download and complete the form (click the button above). We can help you to do this if you would like this help. The completed form can be returned to The John of Gaunt School. We can forward it to County Hall on your behalf. Or, if you prefer, you can send it direct to:

Free School Meals
Children's Services
Wiltshire Council
County Hall
Wiltshire BA14 8JN