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     Major milestone in the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board (PDQB) qualifications project, with the launch of the Scottish Qualifications Authority’s nationally validated versions of the PDQB’s Piping and Pipe Band Drumming awards at the Radisson Hotel, Argyle Street, Glasgow.

     The launch was opened by members of George Watson’s College Pipe Band and the introduction of the new awards was fully supported in a video message from Mike Russell MSP, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Culture. For the first time ever we now have national standards for Piping and Pipe Band Drumming which are recognised jointly by the SQA and the 5 PDQB partners - The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, The Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming, The College of Piping, The National Piping Centre and the Piobaireachd Society.

     The SQA awards reflect the same requirements of the syllabus which was published when the PDQB qualifications were introduced in 2007 but the qualifications will now be known as National Progression Awards (NPAs) and Professional Development Awards (PDAs) within SQA’s national qualifications structure. There are 5 levels of NPA in Piping and 4 Levels in Pipe Band Drumming, each level covering both Solo Performance and Theory; and there are two higher levels of PDA in Piping, each also covering both Solo Performance and Theory. All have a level and credit points within the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).

     The following chart shows the new structure in relation to the previous PDQB levels and the NPA, PDA and mainstream school/higher level qualifications within the SCQF:

     The qualifications will be available only through the 4 PDQB Examination Centres, all of which have been approved as SQA Centres. The Centres are:

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association

The Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming (for Armed Forces personnel only)

The College of Piping

The National Piping Centre

     In future candidates must register for the examinations with one of the Centres and the Centre will appoint the Examiners/Assessors. All assessments will be conducted under PDQB/SQA procedures. The Certificates for successful candidates will be issued by SQA reflecting their national status. Candidates may take the Performance and Theory Units of the qualifications separately and these can be certificated separately by SQA. To achieve the full qualification at each level, however, candidates must achieve a pass in both Performance and Theory Units.

     RSPBA courses leading to the PDQB/SQA qualifications will continue to be organised at Branch level in line with past practice. It will be the responsibility of the Branch to register candidates with RSPBA Headquarters (i.e. the SQA Centre). Some adjustments are being made to the PDQB syllabus to reflect the new titles etc and further details will appear on the RSPBA and PDQB websites in the near future.

     Work in developing a new Pipe Band Studies Certificate is also still in progress by the PDQB and details of this award will be publicised as soon as possible.

Syllabus  Level 2 (Chanter)  Level 3 (Chanter)  Level 4 (Bagpipe)  Level 5 (bagpipe)  Level 6 (Bagpipe)