School meals at Alder Community High School are provided by Chartwells


Special dietary information

Please contact the school office if there are any specific dietary requirements we need to be aware of. 

Packed lunches

If students prefer, they can bring a healthy packed lunch but this should not contain fizzy drinks.


Cashless Catering and ParentPay

At Alder Community High School we use a biometric cashless catering system so that students can purchase their lunch and break-time snacks without the need to carry cash. Incorporating the latest technology, controlled by IMPACT software it reduces the risk of lost money and does not require students to carry a card or remember a PIN, it allows the system to recognise each individual student using their biometric information (fingerprint), hold individual cash balances, record cash spent, cash received and record where money is spent on the food on any specific date and time of day.

The student simply places their finger on a scanner at the point of sale; a display will show the student’s name, class and current balance held on the system. The selected food items will be entered into the system from an itemised keyboard and the amount spent and the new cash balance will show on the display.

Parents or carers need to put money into their child’s account in advance. Any amount of money can be paid in and the money spent on food and drink deducted on a daily basis. No cash is accepted at the till points in school. A daily 'spend limit' of £4.15 is automatically programmed into the system. This can be increased or decreased for an individual student by contacting the school office.  The cost of a lunchtime meal deal is £2.75.

Money can be paid into an account in two ways:

  1. The preferred method is online via ParentPay with a debit card or credit card. ParentPay activation letters are emailed to parents as part of the admission process. Contact the school office if you require a duplicate.
  2. Students can top up their account using cash at one of the two payment machines (one is situated in the main corridor near reception and the other is in the dining hall). The payment machines accept notes and £2, £1, 50p, 20p and 10p coins (1p, 2p and 5p cannot be used).

No student will be refused a school dinner because they do not have enough credit on their account.  In this situation the student should make a member of staff aware so that arrangements can be made.


Free School Meals

If you are in receipt of one of the following benefits your child may be eligible to receive a free school meal:

Your child may be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

As we operate a cashless catering system, free schools meals are issued discretely so that no other students can possibly know that an individual is receiving a free school meal. Even the individual student does not need to be aware that this is the case.   To make an application for free school meals you can complete the form online using the link below or contact the school office.  

Free School Meal Application Form