Curriculum Input Award – Struan Toyota Dundee & St Paul’s Roman Catholic Academy

How was the partnership formed and how did the project come about?


Struan Toyota, a car dealership based in Dundee, contacted DYW about wanting to work with young people. The offer was circulated to local schools and St Paul’s RC Academy was one of the schools who jumped at the opportunity.


Just before summer 2018 a meeting was held in school with Andrew Woodward (Service Manager), Gary Birse (Master Technician) and Anna McFarlane (PT DYW). Struan Toyota was keen to support young people in local schools under the DYW banner.


St Pauls RC Academy was very keen to take the business up on this offer as it was felt that if S3 Physics pupils could see the relevance of what they were learning in the subject to a real life situation, it would help motivation, future uptake in the subject and attainment. With this in mind, the engagement began leading to the creation of a successful partnership.


What activity took place?


Over a period of a few months, Gary and the Physics Department worked together to devise a lesson which would give S3 pupils a balance of background, theory and practical work. Gary then delivered a workshop which covered a number of topics which are taught in Physics and explained how they are used in a contextualised way in the workshops.


This included:

  • Vehicle diagrams that technicians use when cars come in for repair
  • Circuit symbols, demonstrating that the Electricity topic covered is of real, practical use in the outside world
  • Electromagnetic spectrum and how automatic windscreen wipers work
  • Diagnostic equipment he brought in so that pupils could use to identify faults
  • Oscilloscope – used to draw a graph of an electrical signal, any changes over time.
  • Boards from different vehicles
  • Old car handbooks


In addition to all of this, Gary shared his ‘story’ with the pupils, recalling with them how he has made the position of ‘Master Technician’ in a relatively short space of time, through sheer hard work and having a really positive work ethic and problem solving skills.


Outcome of the project


Both the school and business were very pleased with the pupil’s input and plan to build on this for session 2019/20. The relationship between the two opened further opportunities and one of the pupils in the National 5 physics class went on to do 4 month’s work experience at the garage, for half a day per week. This allowed him to gain further skills in a workplace setting.


This project has taught the S3 Physics class involved a lot about what it takes to become a Master Technician as well as how the curriculum meets those needs. Due to the success of this project it motivated one of the pupils enough to go for work experience. This type of engagement and partnership will lead to higher motivation in class leading to higher attainment.