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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 November, 2003, 07:27 GMT
Online menus for pupils
A BBC mock-up of a school pupil choosing school dinners from a computer
Pupils are enjoying picking meals online
Youngsters in Lancashire may soon be able to order their school dinner by computer before the start of the school day.

A pilot scheme has been running at Lostock Hall Community Primary School, in Preston, and it is hoped the system will be introduced across the county.

The system will be on trial from next week at a second school - Morecambe and Heysham Westgate Primary.

The indications are that the system is proving popular, with an 80% increase in pupils choosing their school lunch.

Children aged six and over at the school are able log on to the computer system before the start of the day and order their lunch.

The new system also means parents will be able to pay for meals daily instead of just weekly and they will also be able to pay by cheque.

'Youngsters excited'

The pupils are provided with their own pin number to credit their account when they pay the money into a till which is linked to a computer in the school kitchen.

Lancashire County Council said the system meant schools would not have to spend as much time dealing with paperwork and would also give parents greater flexibility.

Margaret Fleming, from the council, said: "The children have been very excited about the thought of using a computer to order their lunch.

"There will be an extra responsibility for the children to choose balanced meals which we hope they will learn from.

"It also means that food is not being wasted as we are only cooking exactly what is ordered.

"We will monitor how the system goes in both schools, but computerised systems have proved a real success for other authorities, so we would like to see this developed in more Lancashire schools in future."

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