As part of our digital transformation, we have taken the next step in cashless catering and introduced facial recognition to enhance the student lunchtime experience and allow a complete contactless meal service.
Facial recognition offers students the ability to collect and pay for school lunches without the need for any physical contact, providing an entirely contactless point of sale. It's a quick, simple identification method that allows students to select their meal, look at the camera and go whilst eliminating any contact during the purchase.
The intuitive technology enables our dining staff to quickly identify the student's ParentPay account and are instantly adjusted, which means students no longer need to carry a card or touch the scanners at the point of sale.
For more information about Facial Recognition, read our Frequently Asked Questions.
If you do not consent to your child using the Facial Recognition System, your child will be able to continue to use their lunch card at the till point when making purchases. Please note replacement cards will continue to be charged at £1 and can be ordered through the ParentPay system.
What are the benefits of switching to Facial Recognition?
- Contact free
- Quick payments
- Faster lunch service
- No need to carry a card or touch scanners at the point of sale
- Safe and secure
Covid-19 has been a catalyst in making this decision, with fingerprint biometrics posing an additional risk of spreading the virus. Facial Recognition will also save students and administration staff invaluable time with quick contactless payments and a faster lunch service.
Simply select, look and go
With facial recognition, students simply select their meal, look at the camera and go, making for a faster lunch service whilst removing any contact at the point of sale.
School meal payments are instantly reflected in the student’s cashless accounts in the same way as fingerprint identification.
Contactless identification method
Students no longer need to touch the scanners at the point of sale or carry a card.
Biometrics authentication is the automatic recognition of a living being using suitable body characteristics. By measuring an individual's physical features in an authentication inquiry and comparing this data with stored biometric reference data, the identity of a specific user is determined. There are many different biometric features that can be used for authentication purposes. These include finger image, facial recognition, signature, iris, retina, DNA, or other unique characteristics.
Once a characteristic has been chosen, the next stage in the Biometric process is authentication. A biometric feature is saved onto a database. Once the data has been stored, a new scanning of the biometric feature is taken. If the comparison is positive, access to the appropriate application is granted.
The history or biometrics
Biometric technology is now being used at many locations around the country, including banks, supermarkets and now even schools and colleges are adopting this increasingly popular technology.
Whilst the use of biometric recognition has been steadily growing over the last decade or so, these past couple of years have seen an explosion in development, interest and vendor involvement, particularly in mobile devices where they are commonly used to verify the owner of the device before unlocking or making purchases.
We are delighted to offer this fast and secure identification technology to purchase our delicious and nutritious school meals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Useful information and frequently asked questions on facial recognition and biometrics.
What is facial recognition and how does it work?
Facial recognition is a category of biometric technology that maps an individual’s facial features (such as the length and width of the nose, the distance between the eyes and the shape of the cheekbones) mathematically and stores this data as a faceprint template. This faceprint is then later used as a basis for comparison with data captured from faces in an image to identify an individual.
Facial recognition is now used for a multitude of applications, from security to payments. Currently, the most commonly utilised method of facial recognition is unlocking mobile phones, where users can unlock their devices by simply looking at the camera.
Why is Leverhulme Academy Trust using Facial Recognition?
Leverhulme Church of England and Community Trust have used biometric data (in the form of fingerprints) since 2019 to quickly and securely identify a user on the cashless system to pay for their school meals.
Facial recognition retains the speed and security benefits that are available with fingerprints but eliminates the requirement to physically touch a scanner making the purchasing of school meals completely contactless.
How is the data stored?
Facial recognition data is a unique string of characters known as a faceprint template. This data is encrypted using AES 256 and is stored on a school server within the secure school network.
Do you also store a photo alongside the faceprint template?
We do store a photo along with the faceprint template. The cashless system has always stored a user’s photo as this is used as an added verification by the canteen staff.
How secure is the use of facial recognition?
We only employ the use of this technology at the Point of Sale as this is attended and operated by an authorised member of staff.
A parent/user has previously granted permission for the use of fingerprints, do they also need to grant explicit permission before using facial recognition?
If the parent/user has previously granted explicit consent for the use of fingerprints, then they have consented to the use of special category data Biometrics under GDPR.
A parent/user does not wish to grant permission for the use of facial recognition, how would they access the system?
Facial Recognition is a future proof authentication method for our cashless catering systems. If a parent/user does not wish to grant consent, they can purchase a card as an alternative method of identification.
A parent/user previously granted permission but now wishes to withdraw. How easy is this to do and what happens to the data?
Should a parent/user withdraw consent, their permission status within the system can easily be updated to ‘Denied’. When the permission status is updated to no longer be ‘Approved’, any faceprint template data will be automatically removed as part of this process.
How are payments made?
Making payments to the school hasn’t changed. As a cashless school, all payments must be made via the ParentPay online secure payment system.
How does ParentPay help you?
- Gives you the freedom to make payments to school whenever and wherever you like
- Stops you having to write cheques or search for cash to send to school
- Gives you peace of mind that your payment has been made safely and securely
- Helps with budgeting; payments are immediate, there is no waiting for cheques to clear
- Payments for many of the larger trips can be made by instalments
- ParentPay is quick and easy to use
How does ParentPay help Harper Green School?
- Reduces the administrative time spent on banking procedures
- Keeps accurate records of payments made to every service for every student
- Reduces paper waste
- Allows for easy and quick refunds to be made back to the Parent Account
- Improves communication between the school and parents concerning payments
- Offers a more efficient payment collection process, reducing the amount of money held on school premises
The ParentPay website has guidance notes available for you should you need them. This includes help with updating your username/password, paying for school meals, how to make payments, and how to add/merge child accounts. Click here to go to the ParentPay website.