SSPDT was formed with the belief that pipe bands are much more than a musical pastime; they develop life and employability skills and attributes such as teamwork, shared and individual achievement, resilience and perseverance, self confidence, camaraderie and a sense of discipline and dress. In time they open doors to travel through competition and cultural exchange. Pipe bands are also a source of pride and focus for schools and communities.
We aim to advance the arts, heritage, culture and community development by encouraging young people in Scotland to take up the chanter, pipes and drums; and by supporting the development of school pipe bands. In doing so, we support young people to broaden their education, in particular their musical and social skills.
Much of our work builds on the programme in Prestonpans, East Lothian. Here pupils are offered free piping or drumming lessons from the age of eight or nine in a cluster of primary schools that feed into Preston Lodge High School. A senior and a junior band now perform regularly for the school and community; the young people have achieved a wide range of SQA qualifications; they travel widely; and compete in the World Championships and other leading competitions.
Notably all pipe band members who have graduated from the high school since 2012 have achieved positive destinations in higher education, work or training. Read more about Preston Lodge High School Pipe Band.
The full impact of the programme is described by Head Teacher Gavin Clark.
We encourage piping and drumming in state schools leading to the development of pipe bands by working in partnership with organisations such as schools, local authorities and other partners. We work pro-actively with partners to identify and develop programmes that respond to local priorities.
We organise and fund the world’s largest competition for schools. The Championships encourage the formation of school pipe bands with taster grades for schools with no competing experience as well as providing a forum for schools competing at the highest level. The Freestyle category showcases the versatility of the pipes and drums in combination with other instruments.
We support pipe band programmes in state schools by awarding cash grants, offering guidance and lending bagpipes to eligible organisations.
We aim to deliver high quality programmes that meet national standards, that help young people gain accredited qualifications, and that support professional development for instructors.