Our academy’s catering provider is now Cucina.  The name describes their approach of sharing what they know about food with the students, by giving them a sense of being in the kitchen and watching them prepare fresh, great tasting food. Cucina’s delicious well balanced food has been well received by our students and staff alike; so has the more modern and efficient cashless system which shows top ups instantly.

Biometric Payments

We no longer use a lunch card system and have moved to a paperless system which will reduce the need for lost replacements and costs therein.  This system is also cashless which allows for parents to top up via ParentPay. This allows for quicker serving times and shorter queues. The system recognises each individual pupil, holds their individual account balances, and records money spent and received. It records where money is spent, on what food, and on any specific date, at any time of day.

This system uses finger biometric payments which works by looking at skin patterns on the finger or thumb. During the enrolment process the software captures a digital signature of the student’s fingertip or thumb – these images are broken down into data points, similar to reference points on a map.  The system then turns these into an alphanumeric string and the images are discarded. The alphanumeric string is then encrypted and stored on a secure server.  As only an alphanumeric string is stored, the system is safe and secure and the data is of no use to anyone except for the purposes for which the system is designed.

Each student will create a finger biometric. A scan of the finger is taken and a template created (a string of encrypted numbers based off the finger scan). The rest of the finger image is discarded which makes reverse engineering the fingerprint from the data stored impossible. Students will then be able to use their finger biometric to identify on the system and authenticate any purchasing.

The student simply places their finger on the Biometric reader at the point of sale. A display will show the server the student’s name and current account balance held within the system. The selected food items will be entered into the system from an itemised keyboard, while the amount spent and the new account balance will show on the display.

Online payments allow a Parent/Carer to ‘log-on’ to a web portal, ParentPay, using a secure username and password, and ‘top-up’ their child’s account using debit and/or credit card payments.


Please see below all menus available for both breakfast and lunch times from Cucina – meals are nutritious, tasty and reasonably priced and we even offer free porridge every day to students from 8am.

Free School Meals

Parents of students who already receive a free school meal at their primary school should email freeschoolmeals@kent.gov.uk to advise them of their child’s new secondary school.

Parents without email should telephone 03000 416464, which will take you through to a KCC contact centre. You should then ask for Free School Meals. New parents can apply online or telephone the above number.

Apply for free school meals

£2.35 is allocated to a student’s card each day for the purchase of items included in the meal deal ONLY (such as main meals, jacket potato + filling, pasta, fruit, sandwiches, dessert of the day and meal deal drinks). Parents may wish to give their child extra money to top-up in addition to their FSM allowance, which can then be spent on non FSM/meal deal items (such as cakes, biscuits, ice creams, non-meal deal drinks, and breakfast items such as hot paninis, sausage/bacon rolls, etc.).