by Paul Smeaton
FORGET sorting hundreds of brown paper bag filled with loose change and adorned with the handwriting of nine-year-olds, primary school tuckshops are going high-tech.
At least five primary schools in Ipswich have adopted an online ordering system designed to simplify tuckshop day for parents while also giving them more control over their children's diet.
The Flexischools system allows parents to pre-order tuckshop meals online or by mobile phone app and pay via credit card, BPay or direct deposit.
Ipswich Grammar, and Girls' Grammar Schools, West Moreton Anglican College, Westside Christian College and St Augustine's College have all adopted the system for their junior school tuckshops with some schools looking to add other options like online uniform ordering in the future.
Ipswich Girls' Grammar has been using the system for more than 18 months and tuckshop convenor Laurie Robinson said it had revolutionised the way the tuckshop operates.
"At the beginning of 2011 the school changed the lesson timing and morning tea break was moved up by 40 minutes," Ms Robinson said.
"We were in a panic because on a Friday we would get so many orders it took two people over an hour to process them.
"So we looked into Flexischool and we haven't looked back since."
Parents or children order by 8.30am and the system then creates order labels for each child as well as item lists for tuckshop staff.
The system is run by an external company meaning junior school ordering has become a cashless process.
Parents can order by day, week, month or even fill in a standard repeatable order.
But as happy as the parents are it's the tuckshops, many of which rely on volunteer help that are reaping the greatest benefit.
"Last Friday we had 169 orders and all we had to do now is print labels," Ms Robinson said.
"First for the bags and then an items list for the cooks and staff that fill the bags."
- Parents order meals for their children online or by phone application.
- Orders can be once only, weekly, monthly, even annually.
- Tuckshops can become a cashless operation.