PARENTS will be able to pay money into schools online if a new system is given a go-ahead.

Education bosses are looking to reduce the need for cash handling within schools and there is currently no way for parents to get money to their child’s school online.

Cashless catering machines are used in secondary schools exchanging cash for credit to a card for lunch in dining halls.

But West Dunbartonshire Council says the system is a burden on staff and other local authorities have moved to online payments.

In a report to the educational services committee on Wednesday, it states: “The process of collecting monies in schools is entirely manual and typically falls to teachers to receive funds from pupils, such as for school trips, and then pass the cash to administrative staff for further recording and subsequent collection for banking.

"Cumulatively, the amount of time which teachers can spend collecting cash from pupils and passing to school office staff is an unnecessary administrative burden.

“While the use of a ‘cashless’ catering system for school meals in WDC secondary schools has brought about some efficiencies, the job of handling, processing and banking hundreds of small cash transactions every year comes with a cost and significant time implication for catering staff.”

In the new system, parents could pay for school meals, uniforms, school trips or supplies.

Council bosses estimated transactions at three primaries and all five secondaries in the area to compare to other councils.

The cost of cash uplifts is currently £21,418 a year. Existing cash payments would continue for a time but the council estimates they could save £15,000 a year by switching to online payments.

There would be a cost for bringing in an online system and this would be met using funds already going to cashless catering.

The report concludes: “The procurement of an online system will give staff greater visibility of all payment transactions and will provide more efficient working arrangements for all aspects of school funds management.

“The reduction of time spent on cash handling will have a positive impact on the workforce based in schools by reducing bureaucracy and has the potential to generate a cash-releasing efficiency.”