Regretfully, the organising committee of the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships have taken the difficult decision to postpone to 2023.  Below is an outline of some of the rationale behind the organising committee’s decision. We hope you understand and very much look forward to seeing you in 2023 at the next event.

What are the Covid-related possibilities if we hold a national schools event?
A national event of this kind, that attracts pupils, staff, and parents from schools in Scotland, who then return to their schools, risks being a ‘super-spreader’ and runs counter to school and LEA efforts to mitigate the effects of Covid, and to keep staff and pupils learning in schools rather than self-isolating at home, or having to learn from home because of staff shortages. A single case identified at or immediately after the Championships could have a ripple effect out to many schools. School attendance continues to be very disrupted, affecting learning, and we don’t want to undermine this further.

Why can’t the Championships take place during school term in a school as usual with very stringent Covid mitigations?

An indoor event in a school, during school term, that attracts visitors from all over Scotland, is not possible because of Covid cleaning/ turnaround from a Sunday to Monday.


Could a public venue such as a concert hall be used? 

For this sizeable indoor event more than 30 classrooms plus several public spaces are needed for bands, tuning, performance and spectators, so a public venue is not suitable. 


What about holding the event in a school during the holidays so that there is a pause before pupils and staff return to the venue? 

We tested the idea of postponing the Championships to the start of the summer holidays to allow for Covid cleaning in the school and a period of time before pupils and staff return to schools – but according to majority feedback from tutors this would not be feasible. 


Could the Championships be outdoor instead? 

An alternative outdoor event would have to take place from May onwards for better weather.  One factor, amongst other considerations, is that this period coincides with the school exam and assessment diet.  There is a risk that there is Covid transmission at the event or during travel, and overnight stays, and quite a high probability that one or more people attending the event will have a positive Covid test after the event.  Whether or not this is connected with the event, there would be contact tracing and potentially a ripple effect into other participating schools across Scotland, causing pupils and staff to have to self isolate pending Covid tests, during a critical exam or assessment time, when more than ever, they need to attend school.


There are other national sports and other cultural events going ahead.  Why is the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships any different? 

We recognise that there are national gatherings in places like sports stadiums and at concerts, and we recognise the positivity associated with being able to look forward to, and enjoy events in company.  However, we are a charity that works hand in hand with schools, at the heart of education and learning. Whilst there are many benefits to running a national competition including wellbeing and raising morale, on balance our conclusion is that we should postpone. 

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