Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has rolled out a new online payment facility which allows parents, guardians and carers to make secure online payments to their local school.
The system can be used to select and pay for school meals as well as school trips, photographs, uniforms, sports equipment, residential trips and of extracurricular activities.
The system is supplied by ParentPay who supply such services to more than six thousand schools across the UK.
The initial phase of the project began in October 2014 as a pilot in Selkirk. Over the past 18 months, it has been rolled out across the rest of the region, with the final group of 25 schools in the Galashiels, Eyemouth and Berwickshire high school areas going online during April. All 71 schools in the Borders now have access to the online system.
Councillor Sandy Aitchison, executive member for education said this week: “We live in a world where we are increasingly reliant on the ease and convenience of online shopping and busy parents and carers are no exception. This new system makes the most of the new technology that is available and makes paying for chargeable services considerably easier.
“It has been well received in schools across the Borders with take up rates being extremely high and the feedback being received confirming that parents and carers are very appreciative of the benefits that the system brings. Gone are the days of having to scramble around late on a Sunday evening trying to find the correct change for their young person’s dinner money for the coming week.”
Councillor Aitchison added: “SBC is the first local authority in Scotland to successfully introduce this facility across all of our schools for such a wide range of goods and services, with every effort having been made to make sure that no family is excluded from participating in this process if they choose to. The service is available from a website which means that provided a family can access the internet, they will be able to use the service.”
For families who do not use electronic payment cards, the PayPoint option can be used to allow them to access all payment opportunities offered by their school.
Families can still select and purchase services using the traditional methods.
Julie Adamson and Kerry Mitchell are two parents whose children attend Newcastleton Primary where there has been a 100 percent take up of the scheme. Julie said: “It is certainly much more convenient. For school meals in particular, we no longer have that Sunday night scramble to find change and it’s easier when there are other types of payments to be made as well.”
Kerry added: “I think it’s helpful in terms of encouraging children to take a school meal rather than a packed lunch as they seem to enjoy making their choices online, more so than when it was the old system. It also helps that we have a great cook at Newcastleton who works hard to provide healthy, tasty meals that the kids like which means they are keen to choose from the options available and seem to be starting to eat a lot better as a result.”
For more information about the system, parents and carers should contact their local school or visit: https://www.scotborders.gov.uk/parentpay.