Setting up group meal patterns (SIMS)

To enable the ParentPay Dinner Money™ module to automatically tick the attendance screens, you can allocate meal patterns to groups of pupils. This feature is ideal for users that have multiple pupils that retain the same regular pattern, for example they always take a meal five days a week or they always take a meal on the same day(s) each week. Meal Patterns will not work for schools that have pupils who have an irregular meal arrangement.

Group Meal Patterns are usually actioned during the setup stage or at the beginning of an academic year/term. However individual meal patterns can be added as and when required.


Setting up the Meal Pattern Group


Firstly all of the pupils who have a school meal need to be recorded as such in SIMS Section 9 – Additional information. This will ensure every pupil that takes a school meal is automatically included in the meal group within ParentPay.

If you need to update your SIMS data to reflect the school meal data make sure you run MIS:Sync to refresh the data within your ParentPay site.


To edit the group

  1. Click on People > Groups
  2. Select search criteria Pupil
  3. Select search criteria Meal
  4. Select group School meal
  5. Click Edit Group

  1. The list displayed on screen will reflect the data held within your SIMS system. If you identify an error you are able to edit this group as necessary.
  • To remove a pupil from the group untick the box next to their name and click Save.

  • To add a pupil to the group, go to the Find people to add section
  • Select group 1: Pupil
  • Select group 2: Enter the year group/reg group of the child you wish to add or select All and click Search
  • Tick the box next to the people you wish to add and then select Add to group.

  • You will see that they will have been added to the People in group section and you will need to select Save

  1. You are then ready to create the meal pattern for the group.


To create a meal pattern

  1. Go to People > Groups
  2. Select search criteria: Pupil
  3. Select search criteria: Meal
  4. Select group: School meal
  5. Click Create group meal pattern

  1. Either un-tick any pupils that the meal pattern you are creating does not apply to, or leave all pupils in the group ticked.
  2. Select Choose time: Lunch time
  3. Select Choose type: your relevant Pupil Meal type
  4. You then have two options:
  5. Create a Monday to Friday pattern; or
  6.  Select the pupils that have meals on a specific day(s) ie. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
  7. Select Start date: this must be a date in the future
  8. Select End date: choose either an Open ended pattern, which will continue to mark attendance until the pupil leaves the school or you end the pattern, or choose to enter a defined end date
  9. Tick the box to consider closing days

Please note: You will have to ensure that you have entered term dates and closure dates under Settings > Manage Calendar > Manage Term dates to ensure that the meal pattern does not populate on days when the school is closed


  1. Click Save and you will have created your pattern

Please note: Meal patterns cannot overlap - if they do the system will warn you and ask you to confirm in order to overwrite the information