New way to pay for lunch at schools in South Wales in attempt to remove stigma for children claiming free meals

Changes to the way school dinners are paid for are being brought in across South Wales in an attempt to end bullying and the stigma children face when claiming free meals. This is from Wales Online

Parents in the Vale of Glamorgan are being invited to give their views on a “cashless catering solution” for school meals, which is set to be introduced from next month.

The new system will mean the current practice of paying for school meals with cash in schools will be phased out. Instead, payments will be made by telephone, online or via Pay Point.

It will provide administrative savings for the council and mean children who receive free school meals will no longer be identified by their classmates.

Similar systems have been, or are being, introduced in Cardiff, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Caerphilly and Merthyr.

The move has been welcomed by Cardiff’s Labour councillor Ramesh Patel, who has long campaigned for such a system to be introduced.

Coun Patel slept rough behind a derelict house in Riverside for three months as a toddler after his family emigrated to Cardiff in the 1960s. And although he was entitled to free meals at Fitzalan High School in Leckwith, he would slip home at lunchtime to avoid being seen to claim free meals.

“Children will often go hungry because they want to avoid the stigma, which is more hurtful than anything else,” he said.

“When I was a child, I would go home rather than have free school meals. I told my parents that I didn’t like school meals.

“A cashless system removes the stigma and should be introduced across South Wales.”

Cardiff council said its secondary schools were moving towards providing a cashless payment system.

More at:  New way to buy meals at schools

If your school has already introduced a cashless payment system like this has it had an impact on the uptake of free school meals? What else has helped? Please share in the comments or on twitter… 

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Categories: Wales.


  1. Scarsbrook_T

    SchoolsImprove works for us, other systems also allow you to track kids with food allergies or restricted diets etc

  2. BalfePaula

    SchoolsImprove I don’t agree with that stigma because I’ve had to be on benefits in between work my kids were on FSM even with teacher mum

  3. Holidaybabe

    SchoolsImprove when I was in school and on free school meals, I would just not eat rather than have peers know. But that was long ago.

  4. SchoolsImprove

    .oneshortarm Our children hated it when same thing introduced but with so many choices I think parents need to know what they are eating

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