Title ID 8249Collection ID799
TitleA Village Network
Genre/TypeProfessionalTelevision companyInstitutionalNon-fictionActuality/Factual
KeywordsBroadcasting Charities Children Education Ethnic Groups Schools Youth Youth Organizations
RegionalEast Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionBBC Radio
ProducerAnne Tenant
Commissioning bodyBBC Radio
WriterMargaret Horsfield
NarratorMargaret Horsfield
FormatN/A Sound
Duration48min. 53sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A broadcast by BBC Radio from 1985. Journalist Margaret Horsfield visits the Pestalozzi village at Sedlescombe, East Sussex.


The recording begins with the end of a radio play entitled "Women are Fools". After a short excerpt from the 4 o'clock news the radio presenter introduces the Pestalozzi programme.

Margaret Horsfield introduces the programme with the sound of Pestalozzi pupils playing football in the background. She highlights the different nationalities of the pupils and how the village is arranged. The Tibetan children are heard praying as the presenter describes their shrine room. One of the Tibetan boys is interviewed about his time at Pestalozzi. After the history of the village is briefly explained, Thai and Nepalese pupils speak about their experiences of Pestalozzi. Indians, new arrivals at the village are heard eating at their national house. Their housemother speaks about their arrival in the UK. The presenter describes the setting of the village and the presenter then interviews the deputy warden, Bill Mountain; he explains the ethos of the village and how children are selected. A Tibetan child talks about how his family decided that he should attend the village and his perception of the village before he arrived, that it would be almost the same as India. The presenter highlights that the children are not alone when they arrive and that they have their housemothers for support. The role of the housemother is explained and the Nepalese housemother explains how her children cope with living at the village. The Nepalese children can be heard singing as the housemother explains that she and the deputy warden spoke to all of the parents when the children were interviewed. The presenter explains how children and families keep in contact and Bill Mountain emphasises how crucial the family links are.

Domestic routines are explained to the sound of children busily working in the background. The presenter highlights the difficulties in adjusting to a British diet; one of the pupils explains the sorts of food they are not accustomed to eating. A class can be heard learning English at the village, before the presenter explains how the children attend Claverham School. The headmaster, Christopher Thompson talks about the pupil's abilities and how they compare the native children. He also explains the insight they bring to taught subjects, such as history and geography because of their backgrounds. A pupil talks about attending the school, and how he no longer feels 'different' from the other children. The presenter argues that the Pestalozzi pupils are different in that they have been selected to attend the village. A former pupil talks about his experiences of Pestalozzi and how it has influenced his life since. The presenter explains that on Saturdays children learn practical skills; the noises of children working can be heard in the background. She lists the types of the work the children do; focussing on a practical IT session and a group extending the metal workshop, talking to the children involved. Elsewhere in the village, children are learning to drive a tractor. The presenter talks to Richard Newman about teaching the children about mechanics. Bill Mountain explain how Pestalozzi believes in teaching children practical skills. Peter Core who runs the carpentry workshop, talks about how he trains the children to make useful items, such as pumps and roofing sheets. Bill Mountain continues to discuss the priorities of the children being education and not a high standard of living. Christopher Thompson states that close friendships are build up between the native children and Pestalozzi pupils, but they are the exception rather than the rule, because the Pestalozzi village does not encourage integration with local children. The presenter talks about the coping strategies of the pupils, interviewing a former pupil on some of the difficulties she faced fitting in with the children from Claverham. Other children talk about reunions with their families that tend to occur every three years.

The presenter discusses the issue of returning back home and some of the problems the village faces in respect of this. Bill Mountain explains that they encourage the children to return home, however, some may want to continue in academic pursuits. One pupil explains she wanted to return to her family and help her country. Others speak about how they don't feel they belong in the UK. More pupils speak about how they struggled to readjust to life in their home countries, including local customs and relationships with family. One girl explains how her way of thinking is now different from her family and how this has proved difficult. Bill Mountain talks about how Thai families don't find it difficult to send their children off to get an education. A Thai pupil talks about what he would be doing if he hadn't been afforded the chance to attend Pestalozzi. The programme concludes with the presenter talking about how Pestalozzi is expanding its unique work and with the people of the 'third world' and a Thai boy stating how privileged he is to be at Pestalozzi.

The radio presenter concludes the programme, giving details of its production.