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Online payment for school meals 'will help to increase numbers'

09/09/2011 Joanna
Allowing parents to pay online for their children's school meals could help to boost take-up, it has been suggested.

Arnold Fewell, founder of, said improving the payment process is likely to have a bigger impact on the number of children opting for school meals than introducing variable pricing.

"That will have a bigger influence when it's easier to pay, because that will also give a time saving for the school. So by paying online, the school can get [a saving of] 15 to 20 minutes a day for one or two staff and that soon mounts up. Obviously, when that is happening [paying online], it is much easier for extra meals to be added - for a child to have a meal here or there, to fit in with a family lifestyle on a particular day," he explained.

With a scheme like ParentPay, the school signs up and parents can pay for everything from school lunches to trips and books online, Mr Fewell noted.

National School Meals Week takes place between November 7th and November 11th this year.

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