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Watch our recent webinar and supercharge your school's cashless catering system with Infinity+ Cashless. In our recent webinar, 'Introduction to Infinity+ Cashless', Explore the benefits of seamless integration, powerful reporting, easy menu management, and fast Chip & Pin payments.

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Healthy Eating Week 2020: why nutrition must be a priority in schools after lockdown

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In recent few weeks, stories of how schools have managed to reopen to all pupils safely have dominated education news outlets, with discussions on how most of these pupils have been eager to return to school, excited at the prospect of returning to a regular learning routine.

 

Whilst classroom learning is a crucial aspect of this routine; it is essential to consider how a positive lunchtime experience affects a student's learning ability. As today marks the start of the British Nutrition Foundation's Healthy Eating Week, we're looking at why nutrition must be a key priority for schools as the start of a new style of learning begins.

 

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Importance of school meals during lockdown

When schools closed in March, this brought a period of unrest and disruption to the routine of many, especially to younger children who were still getting used to the regular school routine and the benefits that it brought.

 

Providing pupils, especially those eligible for free school meals and whose parents/guardians were made redundant, with a regular supply of nutritious meals was crucial for education professionals. It highlighted the fantastic work done within the sector.

 

One example of this was the tireless effort put in by headteacher Zane Powles to hand-deliver 7,500 free school meals to his students in Grimsby. Another prominent case of the fight to provide children with free school meals was by footballer Marcus Rashford. He successfully called for the government to reverse a decision not to provide free school meal vouchers during the summer.

 

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Those admirable efforts to help struggling families during lockdown show the importance of school meals and how schools can provide a vital service in keeping pupils well-fed with delicious and nutritious meals.

 

According to the National Food Strategy, the crisis of child food poverty is only growing, with up to 1.5 million more children in England eligible for free school meals. Therefore, when many pupils rely on their free school meal as their main meal of the day, especially after months when pupils may have experienced limited access to healthy food, this heightens the need to provide pupils with nutritious food during lunchtime.

 

While many factors affect a child's learning ability, providing them with a healthy lunch after months of uncertainty will be crucial to make up for time lost in the classroom.

 

Government regulations

Government regulations state that food served in schools and academies in England must meet standards that require the provision of good-quality meat, poultry or oily fish, fruit and vegetables, bread and other cereals and potatoes.

 

Drinks with added sugar and crisps, chocolate or sweets are banned in school meals and vending machines, as well as a limit of no more than two portions of deep-fried, battered, or breaded food a week. These regulations ensure that all the main food groups are covered, providing pupils with healthy food to keep their energy levels up and equip them with the tools to learn.

 

The new school lunchtime experience

Since schools reopened, the lunchtime experience differs by each school, with some schools operating on a 'packed lunch' only basis. Whether the school or parents provide lunches, other schools opt for pupils to each lunch in the classroom, and other schools offer pre-order services from the canteen, ensuring pupils can still safely access hot school meals.

 

Pre-order software, including AMI's Transact offering, allows pupils to pre-order their lunches ahead of time, reducing the need for queueing in the dining hall and therefore ensuring social distancing measures are abided. Pre-ordering software is becoming increasingly popular amongst schools across the UK. It is a vital drive in keeping children well-fed at lunchtime during the new age of social distancing rules in schools.

 

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Value of hot school meals

Vital government regulations over the content of school meals mean that each pupil eating a hot school meal has access to at least one nutritionally adequate meal during the day, including those eligible for free school meals. On the other hand, packed lunches do not need to abide by these regulations, with research finding that only 2% of packed lunches meet school food standards (Evans et al. 2020).

 

Some may argue that packed lunches can be nutritionally balanced, like hot school meals. However, due to the lack of regulations over the content of lunchboxes, focusing on hot school meals is the most effective way of ensuring schools meet all the necessary dietary requirements for children and offer a safer option for pupils suffering from food allergies.

 

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"Serving a hot, nutritious daily meal to pupils would mean that parents, schools, and their caterers would have more faith knowing that children are getting the food that they need.

 

For many vulnerable children, their hot school meal is the only meal they have in the day. A more straightforward (and healthier) food offer would go a long way to ensure pupils eat food that meets the mandated school meal standards rather than being lured away by the daily temptation of their favourite food. " Jeanette Orrey, co-founder of Food for Life.

 

As we mark the beginning of Healthy Eating Week, putting hot school meals on the menu during school lunchtimes will be a key driver in providing pupils with consistent, nutritious food as they settle back into their new school routine. And judging by the increase in schools switching to cashless payments and a ‘grab and go’ style of lunch service, pre-ordering software will be the future of the Covid-19 friendly school lunchtime experience.

 

To learn more about how you can get involved in BNF Healthy Eating Week, visit: https://bit.ly/366CYBh.

 

How

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ami Education attends the 2023 Schools & Academies Show

The Schools & Academies Show is an exciting event that brings together education professionals, school leaders, and decision-makers across the UK. The show serves as a platform for showcasing innovative solutions, such as cashless catering, and sharing best practices in the education sector.  

Amidst the buzz and enthusiasm, ami Education had the pleasure of exhibiting at the event alongside Tucasi, payment and administration software providers. 

 

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Infinity+ Cashless and Chip & Pin live demonstrations

At the Schools & Academies Show, ami Education proudly showcased the Infinity+ Cashless catering system, revolutionising cashless processes in UK and international schools.

The live demonstrations highlighted the seamless and efficient point-of-sale experience, impressing attendees. This smart system manages student accounts and processes orders at the point of sale effortlessly, providing a convenient and secure dining experience. Visitors learned about the extensive reporting suite, offering insights from free school meal usage to catering reports and discovered how to harness this data to streamline operations and reduce administrative tasks.

Furthermore, ami Education debuted their highly anticipated Chip & Pin technology, which received a positive response at the event. Popular amongst sixth forms and secondary schools, attendees experienced the contactless solution and appreciated the availability of multiple payment methods. Attendees saw first-hand how ami Education’s Chip & Pin terminals optimise the dining experience and empower educational institutions to streamline operations and provide a seamless payment experience.

 

  “Our POS software is evolving with features such as Chip & Pin and additional features. But the next big thing we’ve got to do now is go cloud-based.”

Tony Reeves, General Manager. 
 
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Infinity+ Order receives positive engagement with attendees 

Alongside the Infinity+ Cashless & Chip & Pin demonstrations, ami Education was excited to showcase its cutting-edge Infinity+ Order pre-order school meal app at the Schools & Academies Show. The demonstrations highlighted how students could seamlessly check balances, browse menus, and conveniently pre-order their meals from their mobile phones.

 

This revolutionary app transforms how students order their meals, ensuring efficiency and convenience. With Infinity+ Order, pupils have easy access to a wide range of menu options, the ability to pre-order meals in advance, and the flexibility to customise their choices based on dietary requirements or allergies. 

 

The Infinity+ Order app empowers staff to efficiently manage meal preparation and reduce food waste by accurately anticipating meal demand. This topic was very relevant at the show due to the current challenges schools and academies face. The app lets pupils control their dining experience, ensuring they receive their desired meals quickly and conveniently.  
 
“Schools are starting to like the pre-order solution, as they can allow pupils to pre-order up to three weeks in advance. Pupils only have to go to the till point and collect their meal.”

- Tony Reeves, General Manager. 

 

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ami Education’s participation in the Schools & Academies Show at the London Excel was met with excitement and enthusiasm.  

The Schools & Academies Show served as an excellent platform to showcase our solutions, and we are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to positive change in school catering. ami Education remains dedicated to driving innovation, fostering positive experiences, and propelling the education sector forward. 

Tony To gain further insights into the exciting world of ami Education, watch our exclusive interview with Tony Reeves, our General Manager. In the interview, Tony delves into groundbreaking innovations, transformative approaches, and the future of cashless solutions in education. This interview provides a deeper understanding of our commitment to advancing education institutions. 


If you couldn’t attend the event but still want a demonstration, don’t worry!
Book a demo with our team today to learn about implementing cashless catering, pre-ordering or Chip & Pin software in your school. Our team are here to provide all the information and support you need. 

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Join ami Education at the Schools and Academies Show 2023

We are delighted to announce that ami Education will be showcasing our Infinity+ cashless catering product suite at the upcoming Schools and Academies Show in Excel, London, on May 17th.

Explore Our Infinity+ Cashless Catering Product Suite

We are excited to join forces with school admin and online payment provider Tucasi at stand G16 to demonstrate our integrated cashless and online payment solutions for schools and academies.

During the event, we will showcase our Infinity + cashless catering product suite, including brand-new Chip & Pin payments and pre-order meal app, designed specifically for secondary school and sixth-form students. Attendees will benefit from a first-hand demonstration of our cashless software.


“We can’t wait to team up with Tucasi to bring our integrated cashless solutions to the Schools and Academies Show. As one of the key events in the education calendar, the show will offer an excellent chance to provide real-time demonstrations of exciting new developments from ami Education and, importantly, connect with professionals and find out more about their school needs and discover how we can support their development plans.”

-Tony Reeves, General Manager at ami Education.

Discover the Latest Cashless and Online Payment Solutions

The Schools and Academies Show is a great opportunity for schools and academies to discover the latest technology and products for the education sector. At ami Education, we are excited to showcase our unique product offering which combines our Infinity+ cashless system with a comprehensive reporting suite, pre-order and payment options, and fast speed of service, all fully integrated with Tucasi’s SCOPAY online payment app.

Whether you want to streamline your cashless payments, improve your catering service, or simply want a faster, more efficient payment system, our solutions are tailored to meet the needs of schools and academies of all sizes.

 

Book Your Ticket

You can book your free event ticket for the Schools and Academies Show here. If you are attending the Schools and Academies Show, visit our team at stand G16 to learn more about our unique cashless and online payment solutions.

For those who cannot attend the show but would like to learn more about our cashless solutions, please book a demonstration with our team.