Local Authority: Waltham Forest
- Make counting and reconciling dinner money and chasing parent debt more manageable.
- Become more efficient.
- Remove cash from school by deploying a socially inclusive online payment and debt management system.
- Saved countless hours of valuable finance and admin time.
- Convenient for parents.
- A significant reduction in school debt
Edinburgh Primary School’s income challenges solved by going cashless
Annette House, School Business Manager at Edinburgh Primary, East London, outlined why the school decided to go cashless by collecting online payments:
The school could not justify increasing staffing to resolve the issue, so Annette spoke to other schools with similar demographics and found that many had successfully resolved income collection issues by going cashless.
The Edinburgh SLT decided that removing cash from school by deploying an online payment and debt management system was the clear way forward.
Choosing the right solution
Keen to ‘get it right first time’ Edinburgh appointed a project manager to evaluate whether there was a valid business case to switch to a cashless solution. The figures stacked up – cementing the need to get a solution in place as soon as possible.
Annette worked with the project manager to capture school requirements, before requesting proposals from suitable potential providers. Annette also gained stakeholders buy-in by involving them from the initial requirements gathering stage, reviewing proposals through to attending supplier presentations.
Annette says: “It was important that a future cashless school did not disadvantage any child and should also add value to all stakeholders: whether they are staff or parents. Due to the school’s social demographics, some parents do not always have access to the internet at home or in some cases, personal bank accounts. The solution needed to be socially inclusive and parent friendly whilst also making income collection more efficient for school staff.”
She was convinced how this proven solution could ensure that no parent needed to send cash to school again – helping Edinburgh fulfil a cashless vision.
Annette commented: “I was convinced that offering parents the ability to pay online, see live balances, and obtain alerts combined with offering cash payments via PayPoint – offered total peace of mind.”
Encouraging parents to get on board
It is important that parents are made aware the service exists, and how to use it, whilst also outlining the benefits the school, children and their parents gain by going cashless.
Annette outlined the steps they took at Edinburgh to get parents on board: “Before the launch we drip fed the parents with notices around the school highlighting the advantages of paying online or cash through PayPoint. We ran presentations to the parents from April right through to September – we didn’t miss any opportunities to promote the use of ParentPay, we even had staff wearing T shirts with the ParentPay logo!”
Annette highlighted the importance of planning ahead and how ParentPay has become the one-stop-shop they had envisaged:
Achievements as a result
Annette was clear that there have already been measurable benefits gained since the school went cashless: “We have easily gained the benefits we thought we could at the outset. We have saved countless hours of time by no longer dealing with cash. Parents can access balances 24/7 and get text and email alerts; helping ensure school debt has gone from thousands to less than a hundred pounds most weeks!”