PDQB Content

RSPBA – PDQB – SQA. Education Pathway

The Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board (PDQB) is the certificating body for a range of qualifications offered jointly by The Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming, The Tri Service Cadet Centre, The National Piping Centre, The Piobaireachd Society and The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA). Qualifications are currently available in Piping, Pipe Band Drumming and in the teaching of these instruments.

The PDQB qualifications in Scottish Bagpipes and Scottish Pipe Band Drumming, which are validated and certificated jointly by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and PDQB, are available nationally and internationally through 4 PDQB Examinations Centre’s.

Contact with the PDQB can be made through one of the approved Examination Centre’s.

The PDQB comprises of two nominated representatives of each of the 4-partner organisations and its objectives are to:

  • Set standards for a unified qualifications structure for playing, teaching, and assessing 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 center’s for awarding qualifications in the unified structure.
  • Liaise with the Scottish Qualifications Authority regarding national accreditation of some of the relevant PDQB qualifications and alignment to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF);
  • Approve PDQB Assessors nationally and internationally.


The PDQB was formed in 2006 as a result of a project initiated in November 2004 by the RSPBA and the member organisations of the Institute of Piping (Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming, College of Piping, National Piping Centre and Piobaireachd Society), to create a single structure of certificated qualifications in Piping, Pipe Band Drumming, Pipe Bands and associated areas. The new structure, which has been introduced progressively since 1 January 2007, was achieved by integrating, and further developing, the qualifications formerly offered by the RSPBA and the Institute of Piping.

** Please note that there has been a substantive review and re-alignment to the Syllabus regards Snare Drum and Bass / Tenor Drum, this information has been updated to the PDQB Site during 2019/2020.

The RSPBA offer this education program through the RSPBA Pipe Band College and further information regards Syllabus and Examination Profiles can be found by clicking on the links below.

RSPBA Pipe Band College

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