FAQ

Hopefully this section will answer some of most frequently asked questions, if you cannot find an answer to your question here please contact one of our accredited examination centres.

The PDQB and its Role

Why set up the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board?

The PDQB was established in 2006 under a Partnership Agreement drawn up by the College of Piping, National Piping Centre, Piobaireachd Society, Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming, and Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association to certificate the qualifications awarded jointly by these 5 organisations.

Does the PDQB have a management structure?

The PDQB comprises two representatives nominated by each of the 5 partner organisations. The Partnership Agreement provides for the Board to be chaired by one of the members, who is appointed on a rotational basis; and it has a Secretary/Treasurer who is appointed under the same procedure. The PDQB also has authority to co-opt short-term specialist advisers.

What is the role of the PDQB?

The objectives of the PDQB, on behalf of the 5 partner organisations, are to:

* set standards for a unified qualifications structure for playing, teaching, examining and adjudicating the Great Highland Bagpipe, Pipe Band Drumming, Pipe Bands and Drum Majors;

* jointly design, develop, quality assure, assess and certificate qualifications in the unified structure;

* approve centres for awarding qualifications in the unified structure;

* liaise with the Scottish Qualifications Authority regarding national accreditation of these qualifications and alignment to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF); and

* approve PDQB instructors and assessors nationally and internationally.


Examinations - General

Do I have to start at SCQF Level 2 for all of the Piping and Pipe Band Drumming categories of PDQB qualification?

No. Except for the Pipe Band Studies Certificate, applicants can take an examination at any level provided that they are confident that they have the knowledge, understanding and practical ability. At each of the higher Levels, however, candidates will be expected to be able to answer questions related to, or meet the practical requirements of, the syllabus for the lower Levels.

Is it necessary to participate in a training course before taking the examinations?

No. Applicants can apply to take the examination directly if they feel that they have the relevant knowledge, understanding and practical ability. Applications must be made through one of the official PDQB Examination Centres and all candidates must be registered with a Centre. It is the responsibility of the Centre to arrange the examination and appoint the Assessor. Under no circumstances can Tutors or Teachers, who are also approved PDQB Assessors, conduct assessments for candidates they have taught.

Each of the Examination Centres offers a range of training programmes which lead to the PDQB examinations. The timing and structure of these programmes vary between Centres. Details can be obtained direct from any of the Centres.


Recommended Reading Material

Are there recommended manuals or other reading material applicable to the PDQB examinations.

Yes please check our Bibliography link on the site for recommended reading.


Examination Centres

Why are there only 5 Examination Centres?

The Piobaireachd Society does not have the infrastructure to sustain its own Examination Centre and is content for its candidates to be examined through one of the other organisations. The other 4 partner organisations (The Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming, The College of Piping, The National Piping Centre, and The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association) as well as the Tri-Service Cadet Force Pipes & Drums Centre are approved as PDQB Examination Centres through which all PDQB examinations must be arranged in the interests of consistency and quality assurance.The Army Cadet Force, which is responsible for the Tri-Service Cadet Force Pipes and Drums Centre, is an Associate Member of the PDQB.

Can I take PDQB examinations through any of the 5 Examination Centres?

Examinations can be taken by anyone through the College of Piping, National Piping Centre or RSPBA. Examinations arranged and conducted through the Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming are for Armed Forces personnel only and through the Tri-Service Cadet Force Pipes & Drums Centre for Cadet Force personnel only.

Can I take examinations outwith the 5 Examination Centres?

Examinations can be conducted at a location which suits the candidate provided that the site meets PDQB standards. However, examinations can only be arranged through one of the 5 PDQB Examination Centres and candidates must first register with one of these Centres. Certificates can only be issued through the official Examination Centres, and only the official Examination Centres can arrange an Assessor to conduct PDQB examinations.

If I live outwith Scotland how do I arrange for an examination?

Contact the National Piping Centre, The College of Piping or the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association in writing, by telephone or by email and the Centre will make arrangements for registration and for the examination to be taken at the Centre or in another country by an appointed Assessor. The Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming and Tri-Service Cadet Centre are predominantly only open to members of the Armed Forces and Cadets respectively.


Refunds

Will candidates who fail any of the examinations have the examination fee refunded?

Unfortunately refunds will not be possible as the administration costs and the Assessor’s fee would still require to be met.


Currency and Quality Assurance of PDQB Qualifications

What is the status of the PDQB qualifications?

All PDQB qualifications are supported jointly by the 5 partner organisations and represent common standards and quality assurance.

The Piping and Pipe Band Drumming qualifications are now validated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and are certificated jointly by the SQA and PDQB as National Progression Awards in Scottish Bagpipes or Scottish Pipe Band Drumming or Professional Development Awards in Scottish Bagpipes (for higher Levels of Piping) within Scotland’s national qualifications structure. These qualifications represent national standards in both theory and performance.

How will quality be assured between the Examination Centres and the Assessors?

Each of the PDQB Examination Centres is required to maintain strict standards laid down by the PDQB, and each Examination Centre is responsible for ensuring the consistency of the standards applied by its Assessors for all PDQB qualifications. Each Centre must undertake regular audits to ensure consistency of delivery and assessment.
Occasional joint audits will also be conducted between the PDQB Centres.

Each of the PDQB Examination Centres has been approved by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) to offer the National Progression Awards in Scottish Bagpipes and Scottish Pipe Band Drumming, and the Professional Development Awards in Scottish Bagpipes. The PDQB Examination Centres must adhere to SQA quality standards for administering and assessing these examinations. The SQA undertakes audit checks (external verification) on a regular basis.

How will the Piping and Pipe Band Drumming qualifications be certificated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)?

All candidates for the National Progression Awards in Scottish Bagpipes and Scottish Pipe Band Drumming, and the Professional Development Awards in Scottish Bagpipes will require to register with one of the PDQB Examination Centres. It will be the responsibility of the Centre to arranged the examination and to appoint the Assessor. The Examination Centre will notify the results to SQA and the SQA will issue the Certificate to successful candidates.

How will the Piping and Pipe Band Drumming qualifications relate to qualifications in the national education and training system in Scotland?

All the PDQB qualifications will be at sub-degree level. Each of the National Progression Awards and Professional Development Awards will have a Level and Credit Points within the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) (see relationship chart on Home Page).


Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework

What is the SCQF?

The SCQF is a Scottish Government-supported initiative which promotes lifelong learning. The Framework describes courses and learning programmes which lead to qualifications, helps develop and identify progression routes, and allows individuals to make the most of opportunities to transfer Credit Points between qualifications. The SCQF has 12 Levels which reflect the progressive complexity of learning and Credit Points are used in each Level to quantify learning outcomes and give them a value or currency. SCQF Credit Points relate to the number of hours required to achieve a qualification. Each SCQF Credit Point equates to the learning outcomes achieved through a notional 10 hours of learning.
Full details of the SCQF can be obtained on www.scqf.org.uk

How will the SCQF help individuals with PDQB qualifications?

Linkage to the SCQF adds to the status of the qualifications and identifies the relationship with other qualifications in terms of learning outcomes and complexity. It may also be possible for individuals to transfer credit, where relevant, between PDQB qualifications and other music qualifications, as well as assist progression to higher level qualifications associated with Piping or Pipe Band Drumming (i.e. degree level qualifications taken through the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly RASMD)).

National accreditation and SCQF linkage should also facilitate credit links between PDQB qualifications and national systems in other countries.


Relationship between PDQB Qualifications and former Institute of Piping/RSPBA Qualifications

Do the qualifications previously offered by the Institute of Piping and the RSPBA still exist?

These qualifications no longer exist. Only the PDQB / SQA qualifications are now available from the 5 Approved Centres.

Will the former qualifications retain any status and currency?

All Certificates issued under the previous Institute of Piping and RSPBA systems will be accepted by the PDQB partner organisations as equivalent to the relevant level of the new awards. Details of the equivalencies can be obtained from the Examination Centres.