School Meals

The catering staff at Longdendale take great pride in the food they produce. Food is cooked on the premises and where possible, ingredients are sourced from local suppliers.

Students are expected to have their meals in school as they can select from a wide ranging menu at competitive prices. A cashless cafeteria system is in operation and each student is registered through the biometric system. Families can pay in advance weekly, monthly or termly by Parent Pay. We aim to be a cashless school so the use of Parent Pay is our preferred method of payment please. The biometric system is exactly the same for students on free school meals and accounts can be topped up in the same way if required using parent pay. Students may bring packed lunches to be eaten in the dining hall or canopy area.

We encourage all students to bring their own water bottles and water stations are available for use as appropriate, however a selection of drinks can be purchased from the canteen during break and lunch times. For health and safety reasons, glass bottles must not be brought into school.

We accept payments online through Parent Pay for items such as lunch/break time monies, school trips and music tuition. Using a secure website called ParentPay parents are be able to pay online using their credit or debit card. We aim to be a cashless school so ParentPay is our preferred method when making payments to the school. 

What are the benefits to parents and pupils?

  • ParentPay is easy-to-use and will offer parents the freedom to make online payments whenever and wherever they like, 24/7
  • The technology used is of the highest internet security available ensuring that your money will reach school safely – offering peace of mind to all parents.
  • Payments can be made by credit/debit card or also through PayPoint
  • Full payment histories and statements are available to parents securely online at anytime
  • Your child will not have to worry about losing money at school
  • Parents can choose to be alerted when their balances are low via email and/or SMS text

What are the benefits to our school?

The more parents that use ParentPay, the greater the benefit is to our school. This can help us reduce workloads for all staff, creating more time to lend to educational support and the smooth running of the school. Using ParentPay also ensures that all financial transactions are safe and secure - helping us to remove costs associated with us having to manage cash securely on the school premises.

How to get started with ParentPay

Once your child starts with Longdendale, parents will receive their account activation details, once these are received the following steps need to be followed:

  • Enter your Activation username and password in the Account Login section of the homepage. NB. These are for one-time use only, you will choose your own username and password for future access during the activation process
  • Provide all the necessary information and choose your new username and password for your account - registering your email address will enable us to send you receipts and reminders
  • Once activation is complete you can go to straight to Items for payment, select which item(s) you want to add to your basket and proceed to complete your payment

If you have any questions, please contact the school Admin Office.

Biometrics Cashless Catering System

Our cashless catering system was introduced a number of years ago and is well embedded within school. The feedback we received about dinner cards are that they can very easily be lost and damaged. With this in mind, and in order to support students with receiving the most effective service in the dining hall, we have introduced alternative ways of registering the students. Moving to the bio-metric recognition system has proven to be effective and we hope all of our families will continue to support us in this development.

Bio-metrics authentication is the automatic recognition of a person’s characteristics i.e. fingerprint. There are many different bio-metric features that can be used for authentication purposes; at Longdendale High School we use fingerprint recognition. Our system uses an image of the fingerprint to create a mathematical algorithm and then discards the fingerprint; only the numbers remain and these cannot be re-interpreted back into a fingerprint image.

Why do you need to take my child’s fingerprint?

By taking an image of your child’s fingerprint we can turn this information into a digital signature which will give them automatic access to the catering service.

Will fingerprints be used by any other agency?

No, the software we use turns your child’s fingerprint in to a mathematical algorithm. The image of the finger print is then discarded. The information that is stored cannot be used to recreate an image of the child’s fingerprint.

How does it work?

When your child places his/her finger on the scanner, the software matches their finger image with a unique digital signature held on the database. All data is kept confidential and safe and is deleted very easily once your child is no longer at the school.


All schools that have this system in place are required to obtain written parental consent for students who use biometric data as an automated recognition system. In order to obtain this permission, you will receive a letter when your child joins Longdendale which will contain further details. Should you have any queries regarding this well established system, please do contact the school office on 01457 764006. 

Free School Meals Entitlement

Students may be entitled to receive free school meals if their parents or guardians receive any of the benefits below:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, provided parents are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by HMRC
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit, provided parents who have applied on or after 1st April 2018 have an annual net earned income not exceeding £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any other benefits)

Students who are paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals. 

If you think your child is eligible for free school meals please click here.

If you are currently claiming free school meals, but don’t meet the new criteria above, your child will continue to receive free school meals until the end of the Universal Credit rollout period. This will apply even if your earnings rise above the new threshold or if you stop being entitled to Universal Credit. The rollout period is currently scheduled to end March 2023. Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, your child will keep their free school meal until the end of their current phase of education.

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