Last chance for youngsters to pipe up for Championships

The Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships attracts more than 700 young people from around 120 schools.

The Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships attracts more than 700 young people from around 120 schools.

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Time is running out for schools across Scotland to get their entries in for the world’s biggest schools pipe band event before the final deadline for this year passes.

The Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships – which attracts more than 700 youngsters from around 120 schools – was established to encourage the formation of school pipe bands.

It features taster grades for youngsters with no competing experience, as well as providing a forum for schools competing at the highest level.

The closing date for applications for this year’s competition in Edinburgh in March is on January 20.

Alexandra Duncan, Chief Executive of The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust (SSPDT), who organize the event, said: “We are delighted to be hosting the Championships once more and have already received a huge number of entries.

“With the closing date for applications fast approaching we are encouraging anyone wishing to compete to visit our website (http://thechampionships.org.uk/enter-championships-2017/) and enter now.

“Our Trust aims to protect the heritage of our national instrument but more importantly we aim to help improve outcomes for school pupils which will hopefully change lots of young people’s lives for the better.

“Piping and being part of a band develops a wide range of life and employability skills including teamwork, individual and shared achievement, discipline, commitment and self-confidence as well as musicality.”

The SSPDT have also revealed plans to double its vital funding through its schools programme to allow pupils in Scotland the chance to learn the pipes and drums on the same basis as other orchestral instruments.

In its first year, more than 1000 pupils in Scotland – in 93 state schools from 13 local authority areas - received tuition under schemes funded by the SSPDT, which totaled around £275,000.

But the charity has said it is prepared to invest £500,000 in tutors and loaning instruments in 2017 to ensure even more young people can be taught.

Alex continued: “It is a shame that the vast majority of our young people are not offered the chance to learn our national instruments in schools.

“We are pleased to be working closely with local authorities who are increasingly seeing the benefits of offering piping and drumming alongside other instruments in schools.

“We are delighted to see the programme grow and for new pipe bands to be formed to become a focus of pride for schools and communities.”