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ParentPay and the School’s Debt Policy

ParentPay has been in use at Battling Brook for a few years now and has proved to be easy to use and beneficial to the vast majority of our parents/carers.  Thank you to all who ensure that their child’s account always remains in credit by making regular top-ups on line to pay for both school lunches and visits/activities.

We understand that occasionally, things go wrong.  Perhaps a meal payment* is forgotten or a trip/activity deadline is overlooked.  We also understand that there may be times when deadlines can’t be met due to unforeseen circumstances.  If this is ever the case, please do not hesitate to contact the school office and we will do our best to help.

However, there appears to be a small number of parents/carers who repeatedly accrue debt on their account.  Not only does this result in hours of additional administration time, it can also result in parents feeling ‘hounded’ by the office staff who are merely following school procedure.   Schools are increasingly expected to operate as a business and, just as you would be unable to visit a restaurant without paying, so school cannot allow debt to accrue.  Please ensure that your child’s account is always in credit prior to ordering a meal.

The Governing body has recently reviewed Battling Brook’s debt policy, a copy of which is available upon request. 

With effect from Tuesday 9th January, 2018, the procedure for collecting dinner debt will change slightly and this is detailed below:

  • Dinner debt will be routinely reviewed twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays.
  • On Wednesday (providing a telephone number is registered with ParentPay) a text message reminder will be sent to advise of the debt.  If you receive a text message, please clear the debt as quickly as is practically possible.
  • Any account showing a debt on Friday will be sent a letter via their child.  The letter will stipulate that the debt must be cleared over the weekend. 
  • If any debt remains on the account when reviewed on Monday, one final text message will be sent warning that the account holder has one hour to make a payment.  Failure to clear the debt will result in your child only being offered a ‘light bite’ lunch, consisting simply of toast or a sandwich plus a piece of fruit, at a charge of £1 to the account.
  • Unless the account is in credit by the following day, no further meals will be offered.  You will be required to either provide a packed lunch for your child to eat at school or, alternatively, collect your child to give them lunch at home.

Obviously, we hope that this situation will not arise and would hope that in the case of true hardship, parents/carers will be in touch with the school well before the ‘light-bite’ option is necessary.  This also highlights the need to ensure that your contact details (particularly telephone numbers) are kept up to date with both the school and via ParentPay so that reminders are received!

Also. it has been noted that some parents upload £2.20 to their ParentPay account between 3 and 4 times per week against ‘pupil meal’.  Each time this process of uploading funds is undertaken by a user, a charge is made to the school.  Therefore, after consideration and conversations with other local schools we have decided that in order to reduce the charges to school the minimum amount that can be uploaded at any one time for school meals will be £10.00.  We are sorry if this causes any inconvenience.  However, once the funds have been uploaded then no further payment will be required until the funds have been used.

If at any time you wish to reallocate funds already allotted to school meals, then this is a simple and immediate action that all users can undertake via your account.  This change will only be applied to pupil meals and comes into effect from 1st August 2018.  All other payments remain unchanged.

 Thank you for your support.