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.
The Trust aims to advance education the arts, heritage, culture and community development by encouraging young people in Scotland to take up and play the chanter, pipes and drums; and by supporting the development of school pipe bands. In doing so, the Trust supports young people to broaden their education, in particular their musical and social skills.
Much of SSPDT’s work and vision builds on a programme that has been underway since 2007 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. You can read more about Preston Lodge High School Pipe Band.
The full impact of the programme is described by head teacher Gavin Clark.
The Trust encourages piping and drumming in state schools leading to the development of pipe bands by awarding cash grants and by lending instruments to eligible organisations such as schools, local authorities and community pipe bands. SSPDT generally match-funds free tuition that takes place during the school day for pupils from the age of eight or nine years in clusters of primary and associated secondary schools. The Trust responds to applications for support. SSPDT also works pro-actively with partners to identify and develop programmes that respond to local priorities.
SSPDT organises and funds 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.
State school pupils have few opportunities to learn the pipes or drums compared to other instruments. Fair Play for Pipes advocates for balanced provision of piping and drumming tuition in Scotland’s state schools on a par with other instruments.
SSPDT aims to deliver high quality programmes that meet national standards, that help young people to gain accredited qualifications, and that support professional development for instructors.
SSPDT funds pipe band programmes in state schools in partnership with local authorities, schools and other partners.
We also provide cash grants and loan instruments through an Open Grant Fund.