Parcelforce gets 'Top Marks' for exam paper delivery

20 Nov 2018 3 min read

From John O’Groats to Land’s End, we’ve worked hard to deliver and collect exam packages over the years.

Parcelforce has spent over a decade collecting exam papers from schools and colleges, delivering them to markers across the country – on average our driver’s handle 41 million individual papers each year. The results are in for the 2016/17 academic year:

  • Roughly 8,000,000 test papers were delivered to centres in England
  • 814,000 in Northern Ireland
  • 669,500 in Wales
  • 394,000 in Scotland
  • More than 4,000,000 Key Stage papers were handled, with a further 26,000,000 scripts for Yellow Label Service collected over the summer
  • Our dedicated exam helpdesk based in Milton Keynes handled 12,000 calls with 0 abandoned calls

Eddie Kane, Head of Contract Management, oversees the operational delivery of the papers. He says: “The exams we deliver range from Key Stage 1, so children around seven years old, to late teens and adults studying for their A-levels. It’s a big job for everyone.”

Parcelforce works with the Department of Education in England, the Scottish Qualifications Association, the Welsh Joint Education Council and the Northern Ireland Education Authority, with our drivers reaching more than 20,000 schools and colleges across Britain.

Throughout the summer, there are young people sitting exams up and down the country, and it’s a really stressful time for them,” Eddie adds. “My children are grown now but I have grandchildren who will start on their Key Stage tests soon. Everyone knows a child who’s sitting exams each year. It’s so important that we get it right. Part of the strength of Parcelforce is the relationship between our drivers and the schools. It’s a key part of their role and they’re doing a fantastic job at it.”

We caught up with four drivers in locations across the UK to see how they’re getting on:

Jack Gallagher, one of our permanent drivers since February, loves being on a first name basis with the schools he reaches on his route. Based at the Derry/Londonderry depot in Northern Ireland, he reaches around five secondary schools a day. He explains: “You have to take your time with the items because it’s such sensitive material, but we do our best.”

Rob Cullen loves meeting new people as part of his role as a Preston Driver, and in particular loves delivering and collecting exam papers. He works with three senior schools in his area for a year and explains “it’s such an important part of our job and the schools are confident in using Parcelforce because we’re trustworthy and a secure network.”

Swansea Driver Jonny Ace believes the exams contract is the most important one Parcelforce has. “We understand how much pressure these kids are under and if we lose a parcel they’ll have to re-sit something that would be really stressful for them. We don’t want that to happen” he says. Jonny reaches several rural areas in Wales on his route, delivering to between 10-15 schools and colleges a day. “Everyone is so friendly and we’ll have a cup of tea if there’s time. Building that customer relationship is really important.”

For Inverness Driver Brian Holmes, collecting exam packages and delivering them to the right locations is a vital part of Parcelforce’s role. He explains: “We’re aware that we have people’s futures in our hands, and we don’t want to mess that up for them.” Having worked at the company for 25 years, Brian reaches two schools during the busy summer months – Lossiemouth High School and Elgin Academy in Moray. “You get to know everyone really well,” he adds “It’s got to be done to the letter”.

Stay posted for more sneak peeks at the fantastic team shaping the future of our business.

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