School meals: cashless catering

How do I apply for an Accord/National Entitlement Card? 

The Accord/ NEC is used within the school meals system that operates at all Primary and Secondary schools as the way to place an order and/ or pay for meals.  For pupils in P1 to P5 there is no need for a card as meals are provided free of charge. For pupils in Primary 6 who do not have a card we will provide them with a card to use in school and let you know the card number as this is the number to quote when making a payment online towards your child’s meal account.  Pupils in P7 and those in secondary school need an Accord/ NEC to use the catering facilities in the school.  To apply for an Accord/National Entitlement Card simply follow the link below to complete the online application form.

For those pupils in P6 and P7 who already have an Accord/NEC for free bus travel you can use this card number to make payments for school lunches, and you keep the card for use on the bus.  For those pupils in secondary school, the card is kept at all times by the pupil and can be used for free bus travel, Young Scot, proof of age and to use in school catering service.

What happens after I apply for an Accord/National Entitlement Card? 

The card will be sent to the home address and once your child has the card, it’s theirs to keep and the unique number on the card is the reference number you use to top-up the card online for school meals. Therefore, it’s important that the application needs to be completed as soon as possible.

For Primary school pupils who have an Accord/ NEC for free bus travel, this card should be kept by them for use on the bus and a separate card will be provided for them to use solely in school to order their lunch.

For more details please view our information sheet. 

How do I top up my child's Accord Card? 

The Accord/ National Entitlement Card is used by pupils at all of Aberdeen City Council's schools to pay for healthy and tasty meals and snacks. Topping up your child’s card couldn't be easier and can be topped up online. This method is safe, secure, and convenient and means that your child no longer needs to take money to school.

Primary school meals cost £2.20 and £2.45 for Academy; you can top up online at the following:


Please allow up to 48 hours for the payment to be processed.

Alternatively, money can be taken to school and loaded onto the card at one of the load terminals if your child is in Secondary School, or by a member of the Catering Team in Primary Schools. If you wish to pay by cheque, this can be taken to the Accord Administrator at the school. Cheques should be made payable to 'Aberdeen City Council'.

Make an enquiry about Cashless Catering

You can make an enquiry about your child’s cashless catering card or account for the following:

  • If you have an enquiry about the card balance
  • Transfer a balance to another card
  • Request a refund
  • Request your card number

Free school meals

Did you know that you could qualify for free school meals? You may be entitled to free school meals if you or your parents/guardian receives one or more of the following:

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC) but not working Tax Credit and your parents/guardians income is less than £16,105
  • Both maximum Child Tax Credit and maximum Working Tax Credit and your parents/guardians income is under £7,330
  • Asylum Seeker support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Seeker Act 1999

The HM Revenues and Customs website provides further information on Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.

You can apply for free school meals online. Once your entitlement for free school meals is verified, £2.45 will automatically be loaded to your Accord Card each day so you can pay for food and drink within the school. Each secondary school will determine when the £2.45 is available to spend, as some schools will allow it to be spent at any point in the time, but others may restrict this being spent at times other than lunchtime. Your secondary school will be able to confirm this.

The process is totally confidential and nobody can tell by looking at your Accord Card that you receive free school meals.

How do I know the balance in a school meals account?

You can check the balance of a school meal account at any time using our ‘School Meal Account Balance’ service. 

To access this service, you will need to register for or login to an online account. This is a quick process. Once complete, you should enter your child’s Accord Card number and their school into the balance checker system and their balance will be confirmed.

For help with Accord Cards

Contact us
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