Examination Centres & Assessors

All PDQB examinations (assessments) must be arranged through one of the five official PDQB Examination Centres and the issue of SQA or PDQB Certificates to successful candidates can be arranged only by the Examination Centres. Candidates must be registered with one of the PDQB Centres before an examination can be arranged. The relevant Candidate Registration Form can be obtained from one of the PDQB Centres or downloaded for submission to the Centre from the attached link.

It is also the responsibility of the Examination Centre to appoint Assessors from the PDQB-approved list to conduct PDQB examinations. Applicants cannot arrange an examination direct with an Assessor.

The five PDQB-approved Examination Centres are:

The College of Piping
16-24 Otago Street
G12 8JH
Tel: 0141 334 3587
Email: college@collegeofpiping.org
Website: http://www.collegeofpiping.org

The National Piping Centre
30-34 McPhater Street
Glasgow, G4 0HW
Tel: 0141 353 0220
Email: reception@thepipingcentre.co.uk
Website: http://www.thepipingcentre.co.uk

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association
45 Washington Street
G3 8AZ
Tel: 0141 221 5414
Email: pdqb@rspba.org
Website: http://www.rspba.org

The Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming
Inchdrewer House
299 Colinton Road
EH13 0LA
Tel: 0131 310 5561

Tri-Service Cadet Force Pipes & Drums Centre
Grant House Building 2
Redford Cavalry Barracks
Colinton Road
EH13 0PP
Tel: 0131 441 1705
Mob: 07947361741
email: piping_drumming@armycadets.com
Website: https://armycadets.com/become-a-cadet/what-youll-do/piping-and-drumming/


Note: The Piobaireachd Society does not have the infrastructure to sustain its own Examination Centre and is content for its candidates to be examined through any of the official Examination Centres.

Applicants can apply to take PDQB examinations directly if they feel that they have the relevant knowledge, understanding and practical ability. Alternatively they can apply to undertake training programmes run by the partner organisations. Guidance will be provided by the Examination Centres.

Assessments for all PDQB Certificates involve both Theory and Performance (practical) examinations. With the exception of the Performer’s Certificate, candidates must obtain a pass in both the Theory and Performance sections before the full qualification can be awarded (although in the case of the SQA National Progression Awards and Professional Development Awards, the Theory and Performance Units can be certificated separately). Full details are available from the Examination Centres.

Under no circumstances can PDQB Tutors or Teachers, who are also approved PDQB Assessors, conduct assessments for candidates they have taught.

Possible Additional SQA Centres

It may be possible for other educational organisations to apply to the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) for approval to deliver the National Progression Awards in Scottish Bagpipes and/or Scottish Pipe Band Drumming, and the Professional Development Awards in Scottish Bagpipes. Any organisation interested in applying to SQA for approval to become a new Centre for these qualifications will first require to obtain a Letter of Support from the PDQB, and will also require to meet the following criteria:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board (PDQB) qualifications structure and syllabi.
  • Provide details of the planned teaching/instruction arrangements; number of Assessors and Internal Verifiers to be used; and the qualifications and experience of these Assessors and Internal Verifiers.
  • Confirm that only approved PDQB Assessors and Internal Verifiers with knowledge and experience of PDQB qualifications will be used.
  • The relevant application form to PDQB for the required Letter of Support can be downloaded by clicking here.


PDQB-approved Assessors are currently based in the following countries:

  • United Kingdom
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • Northern Ireland
  • Oman
  • United States of America
  • Germany

It is possible to arrange PDQB examinations virtually anywhere in the world but the initial approach must be made to one of the four official PDQB Examination Centres listed above. The PDQB may from time to time consider the appointment of additional approved Assessors should the need arise.

PDQB Assessor Criteria

All Assessors will be appointed by the PDQB and only approved PDQB Assessors may
conduct PDQB examinations. The minimum qualifications and experience requirements
for applicants for approval as a PDQB Assessor are:

National Progression Awards and Profesional Development Awards in Scottish Bagpipes (SCQF Levels 2 – 8):
SCQF Level 8 (Scottish Bagpipe) or PDQB Level 6 Certificate (Piping) or Institute of Piping Level 6 Certificate (Piping) or RSPBA Advanced Certificate (Piping).

National Progression Awards and Profesional Development Awards in Scottish Bagpipes (SCQF Levels 2 – 6):
SCQF Level 6 (Scottish Bagpipe) or PDQB Level 4 Certificate (Piping) Institute of Piping Level 4 Certificate (Piping) or RSPBA Intermediate Certificate (Piping).

National Progression Awards Scottish Pipe Band Drumming (SCQF Levels 3 – 6):
SCQF Level 6 (Pipe Band Drumming) or PDQB Level 4 Certificate (Pipe Band Drumming) or RSPBA Intermediate Certificate (Drumming).

PDQB Bass/Tenor (Levels 1 – 4):
PDQB Bass/Tenor Level 4 or RSPBA Intermediate Certificate (Bass/Tenor).

Applicants must also have a recognised track record in teaching Piping or Pipe Band Drumming.

Application Process:

  • All applicants must be sponsored by one of the PDQB partner organisations (PDQB/SQA Delivery Centre)
  • Applicants must complete the PDQB Assessor Application Form and submit through the sponsor PDQB organisation to the PDQB Secretary

PDQB Assessor Responsibility:

  • Conducting assessments as directed by the sponsor PDQB/SQA Centre
  • Organising candidate briefings
  • Observing and recording candidates against assessment criteria
  • Questioning and recording candidates against assessment criteria
  • Authenticating and judging evidence as appropriate
  • Marking assessment papers and deciding assessment results

For further information contact Jim Campbell, PDQB Secretary:
Email: james_g_campbell@yahoo.co.uk
Tel: 07890 521 375