Our Facial Recognition System

As part of our digital transformation, we have taken the next step in cashless catering and introduced facial recognition to enhance the student lunchtime experience and allow a complete contactless meal service. This will speed up service delivery and remove delays due to misplaced/lost cards.

Facial recognition offers students the ability to collect and pay for school lunches without the need for any physical contact, providing an entirely contactless point of sale. It’s a quick, simple identification method that allows students to select their meal, look at the camera and go whilst eliminating any contact during the purchase.

The intuitive technology enables our dining staff to quickly identify the student’s ParentPay account and are instantly adjusted, which means students no longer need to carry a card or touch the scanners at the point of sale.

If you do not consent, your child will be able to continue to use their lunch card at the till point, when making purchases. Please note replacement cards will continue to be charged at £3 and can be ordered through the ParentPay system.

For more information about Facial Recognition, read our frequently asked questions below.


  • Contact free
  • Quick payments
  • Faster lunch service
  • No need to carry a card, enter a pin or touch scanners at the point of sale

Simply select, look and go

With Facial Recognition, pupils simply select their meal, look at the camera and go, making for a faster lunch service whilst removing any contact at the point of sale.

Easy payments

School meal payments are instantly reflected in the pupil’s cashless accounts in the same way as any other identification method.

Contactless identification method

Pupils no longer need to carry any form of identification such as a card or even enter a pin


Biometrics authentication is the automatic recognition of a living being using suitable body characteristics. By measuring an individual’s physical features in an authentication inquiry and comparing this data with stored biometric reference data, the identity of a specific user is determined. There are many different biometric features that can be used for authentication purposes. These include finger image, facial recognition, signature, iris, retina, DNA, or other unique characteristics.

Once a characteristic has been chosen, the next stage in the Biometric process is authentication. A biometric feature is saved onto a database. Once the data has been stored, a new scanning of the biometric feature is taken. If the comparison is positive, access to the appropriate application is granted.


Biometric technology is now being used at many locations around the country, including banks, supermarkets and now even schools and colleges are adopting this increasingly popular technology.

Whilst the use of biometric recognition has been steadily growing over the last decade or so, these past couple of years have seen an explosion in development, interest and vendor involvement, particularly in mobile devices where they are commonly used to verify the owner of the device before unlocking or making purchases.

We are delighted to offer this fast and secure identification technology to purchase our delicious and nutritious school meals.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is facial recognition and how does it work?

    Facial recognition is a category of biometric technology that maps an individual’s facial features (such as the length and width of the nose, the distance between the eyes and the shape of the cheekbones) mathematically and stores this data as a faceprint template. This faceprint is then later used as a basis for comparison with data captured from faces in an image to identify an individual.

    Facial recognition is now used for a multitude of applications from security to payments. Currently, the most commonly utilised method of facial recognition is unlocking mobile phones where users can unlock their device by simply looking at the camera.

  • Why are Little Lever using Facial Recognition?

    Little Lever School have used biometric data (in the form of fingerprints) to quickly and securely identify a user on the cashless system to pay for their school meals.

    Facial Recognition retains the speed and security benefits that are available with fingerprints but eliminates the requirement to physically touch a scanner making the purchasing of school meals completely contactless.

  • How is the data stored?

    Facial recognition data is a unique string of characters known as a faceprint template. This data is encrypted using AES 256 and is either stored on a school server within the secure school network.

  • Do you also store a photo alongside the faceprint template?

    We do store a photo along with the faceprint template. The cashless system has always stored a user’s photo as this is used as an added verification by the canteen staff.

  • How secure is the use of facial recognition?

    We only employ the use of this technology at the Point of Sale as this is attended and operated by an authorised member of staff.

  • We already have permission to store a person’s photo, do parents/users need to grant explicit permission before using facial recognition?

    Yes. Before a user is allowed to use Facial Recognition software, they must give explicit permission to do so.

    This permission status is recorded and set within the system and only users that have had their permission updated to ‘Allowed’ would be able to use Facial Recognition. If this status is set to ‘Pending’, or ‘Denied’, the system will not allow the use of Facial Recognition.

  • A parent/user has previously granted permission for the use of fingerprints, do they also need to grant explicit permission before using facial recognition?

    If the parent/user has previously granted explicit consent for the use of fingerprints, then they have consented to the use of special category data Biometrics under GDPR as the type of biometric data is not explicitly mentioned.