Coronavirus, lockdown and restrictions – words that sound all too familiar to us now.

However, for one West London Principal, the future of 2021 looks bright.

Maintaining a positive, hopeful mindset is key to staying happy and healthy – something that Juan Delgado, Principal of Park Academy West London, is promoting.

Mr Delgado is encouraging students to use lockdown as an opportunity to reflect on their education journey and its significance in their lives.

With the future looking different now to how it did a year ago, the West London Principal hopes that his students learn from this and embrace the change, recognising opportunities for their own futures and careers.

Below, Juan shares his hopes for a brighter 2021 and the silver linings that are to come.

A deeper respect for education and human interaction

“There is always something to learn when faced with adversity and a challenge and something I hope that students learn is how human contact and the relationships we have with each other are critical to our survival. Being away from school because you have no choice puts into perspective what we should be doing on a daily basis. For students, it is a reminder that school is a community. It is a place where you learn and gain insight and develop your knowledge but it is also a place that helps you to decide what you become in the future. It is important that we remember that from all perspectives, education transforms lives.” 

Juan Delgado, Principal of Park Academy West London

Greater career ambition

“I hope that over time students spend time thinking about what they want to achieve in the future and the career paths open to them. As a school, we will be arranging remote careers meetings but the current climate gives us a real opportunity to think about what jobs and employment may look like in the future. It is a great opportunity to think creatively about how technology, different working practices and styles can lead to students creating a role for themselves in the future.” 

More opportunities for trips and activities

“I can’t wait to see the opportunity for trips and activities return in a school setting and for students to start to experience once again the chance to learn new things and expand their minds. Students learn so much when they see the world in action and when they experience something that is unusual to them. Taking students out of their comfort zone is something I look forward to again.”

A stronger sense of community

“Finally, I hope that all of our community has learnt that when people are in need, we pull together. We saw this so clearly with the students at Park when they sprung into action supporting our local Yiewsley and West Drayton Foodbank and really demonstrated what positivity can achieve. It is easy to dwell on the negative when all you see around you in the news and media is gloom, but let’s remember that students on a daily basis show how brilliant they are and how they are always willing to put others first. I hope that we continue to harness this and not dwell on the past, and insist on a ‘can do’ attitude.”