Service Times

  • Break: 10:50 - 11:10
  • Lunch: 13:10 - 13:50

Cashless Catering

Our catering service is totally cash free. Each student is issued with a personalised smart-ca­rd, free of charge, which can be used to purchase food from the canteen at break and lunchtime. Parents can credit their child's account in one of three ways:

  1. ParentPay - ParentPay offers parents the freedom to top-up their child’s account at any time, quickly and easily, with a debit or credit card. All parents have a secure online account which is accessed with a unique user ID and password. An electronic record of the payments can be viewed online at any time.
  2. PayPoint at local stores - Parents who prefer to continue using cash can top up their child’s account in local PayPoint stores. Those parents choosing the PayPoint method can apply to receive a payment card through the post. Payments made by this method can also be viewed online by logging onto ParentPay. Please note, payments made by PayPoint may take up to two days to be credited to your child’s account.

Students who are entitled to free school meals will have their daily meal allowance automatically added to their catering account card. Parents of those students who wish to add to this amount can also top up the account by using any of the above methods.

Leavers Balances: At the end of each academic year we will check account balances for all leavers. If we have not received authorisation to refund balances or to transfer to a siblings account by 30th September the account of the leaver will be closed.

Click here for ParentPay Frequently Asked Questions.

If you have any queries regarding cashless catering system, please do not hesitate to contact the school office on 01376 321813.


The opening of AH Cafe has enabled us to introduce changes and we have gone to great lengths to improve the meals we offer and to remove any stigma associated with free school meals. Our new cashless catering system ensures your child can use their entitlement without other students knowing that they are taking free school meals.

Free School Meals

- You will be given exactly the same card as all other students.

- You will have an allowance of £2.20 per day added to your card and you will be able to visit the dining hall at break and lunchtime. If you do not spend all of this daily amount in one day, the remaining amount is not carried forward to the next day.

- If you want to spend more than £2.20 per day your parent/carer will need to top-up the card. Any money that has been topped-up by your parent/carer will remain on your card until it is spent by you.

Parents/Carers receiving the following benefits are eligible to apply for free school meals:

  • Income support or income-based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit with an annual taxable income of less than 16,190
  • Pension Guarantee Credit
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

You are not eligible if you receive any amount of Working Tax Credit.

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Alec Hunter Academy - Living for Learning, Learning for Life

Address: Alec Hunter Academy, Stubbs Lane, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3NR | Telephone: 01376 321 813 | Email:

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