Yellow label | FAQs | NCFE

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Yellow label FAQs

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Yellow label is a traceable external assessment dispatch service provided by Parcelforce Worldwide and the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) which allows you to arrange high security collections to return papers to NCFE at no cost to you. It’s available for general qualifications and some other selected qualifications, including Functional Skills and T Levels.

Where a qualification is eligible, it means you no longer need to make your own arrangements for the secure return of completed assessment papers, and instead can arrange a collection with Parcelforce Worldwide using a pre-paid label supplied by NCFE

NCFE is pleased to offer this service for the following external assessments*: 

  • T Level Qualification core exam papers (paper A and B) 
  • paper-based Functional Skills assessments  
  • Level 1/2 Technical Award V Certs (new for summer 2024 series and beyond) 
  • further qualifications may be added to this list in the future. 

*Other paper-based assessments which are not eligible for the Yellow Label service should continue to be returned by a secure courier service arranged by centres, using the white returns label in the assessment pack. Assessment papers must never be returned by standard Royal Mail post. 

  • Where a qualification or assessment is eligible, you must prepare for this collection by packing all assessment materials (including completed papers and the invigilators’ register) into the grey envelopes received with the papers. Please then store these in a secure location within your centre until they’re collected by ParcelForce Worldwide. 

    You should: 

    • check that envelopes are securely sealed 
    • store packages securely until the courier arrives 
    • ensure all relevant colleagues are prepared for the collection and packages are clearly identified and ready to collect 
    • complete the dispatch log before the ParcelForce Worldwide driver arrives. 

Further details can be found here. 

Scheduled collections 

If you have timetabled Yellow Label eligible exams on three or more days during any week in the summer exam series (May to June), your centre will automatically have daily scheduled collections. 

Parcelforce Worldwide will contact you before the start of the exam series to arrange a mutually convenient two-to-three hour time window to collect your exam scripts. This will be tailored to your centre’s closing time and Parcelforce Worldwide’s schedules. 

Functional Skills and other unscheduled collections 

On days where you have daily scheduled collections (see above), you can hand over Functional Skills yellow label packages at the same time, and don’t need to book a separate collection. 

If you have on-demand Functional Skills paper-based assessments, or any other yellow label eligible assessments taking place on days where you do not have daily scheduled collections, you’ll need to book an ad hoc collection to return these exam scripts. 

To do this, contact Parcelforce Worldwide exams helpdesk to arrange your ad hoc collections, using the Parcelforce Worldwide website or by calling 0344 561 7998. 

Collections can be arranged up to 14 days before your first exam and need to be booked at least 24 hours in advance. You’ll be given a booking reference number for each ad hoc collection, which you should note on the dispatch log for your reference. 

NCFE is not responsible for arranging or managing the collection process. You must contact Parcelforce Worldwide directly on 0344 561 7998 if a driver does not arrive.

If a yellow label is lost or has not arrived within the allocated time, you can contact NCFE at [email protected]. to apply for a replacement. Labels are valid for two weeks from the date they’re produced. You shouldn’t request these more than two weeks before the examination date.

Replacement labels are dispatched within three working days. If the exam is less than a week away, we may email the labels to you instead, to print yourself.

No. All packages must be labelled individually so that the STA can track and trace them through the Parcelforce Worldwide system. Make sure you’re using the correct labels by checking the ‘label printed’ date and destroying any old labels.

No. All packages must be dispatched individually so that NCFE and the STA can track and trace them through Parcelforce Worldwide system.

If you’ve used the wrong pre-addressed yellow label, you should contact NCFE at
[email protected] immediately.

We’ll need details of the assessment papers that you’ve sent and the yellow label details, including the unique consignment number along the barcode.

You can track each package or consignment of assessment papers by using the unique consignment number noted on the exam dispatch log. Trace your package by logging onto the Parcelforce Worldwide website and then entering the unique consignment number.

Parcelforce Worldwide will only collect packages from centres that have a registered National Centre Number (NCN). You won’t be able to arrange collection from an alternative address without an NCN.  

If external assessments are administered on an alternative site, arrangements will need to be made for papers to be returned securely to the main site for collection by Parcelforce Worldwide. 

Our approvals team is working to ensure all existing centres have a NCN and will be requesting them in bulk for these centres from OCR. Therefore, no immediate action is required from you. Moving forward, new centres will be supported in acquiring a NCN on approval application.

The National Centre Number database is managed by Oxford Cambridge and RSA (OCR). Details on how to request an update can be found on their website.

Please note, when you access the OCR website looking for details on the NCN register, you may find details on centre inspections. Where NCFE applies for an NCN on a centre’s behalf, these inspections will not apply as we only request entries to the “higher NCN”
register which doesn’t require inspection (potential inspection by NCFE Assessment Audit Advisors may still apply and is unaffected by the NCN process).

If you already have an NCN, you may have an entry on the “standard” register, meaning an inspection applies. If you update your own details with the NCN, you will also need to tell us (via [email protected]) of that change so that our records match.

PLEASE NOTE: Yellow Label is not available for centres without a National Centre Number (NCN), centres operating outside of England, and Overseas BFPO schools.