Title ID 86Collection ID343
Title[Patcham House Special School]
Date1974; 1975
CollectionPatcham House Special School
ThemePublic Services
KeywordsAircraft Children Disabled Persons Education Fetes Leisure Time Activities Outings Rivers Royalty Sport Visits Youth
LocalAylesbury Brighton and Hove Patcham Portsmouth Chichester London Reading Chessington Nottingham
RegionalBrighton and Hove Berkshire Hampshire Nottinghamshire Surrey West Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionPatcham House Special School
CameraNorman Clark
DirectorNorman Clark
ParticipantsH.R.H. The Duchess of Kent
FormatSuper 8mm Colour Silent
Duration20 min. 40 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


The headmaster of Patcham House Special School in East Sussex films his pupils on a series of day outings and at sports events - the children have a range of physical disabilities.


The film opens with shots of a garden fete organized by the Friends of Patcham Special School on the school field - children and parents enjoy games and food at the fundraising event. The children ride on a miniature train during a class trip to Chessington Zoo. At the 'National Spastic Games' at The University of Reading, disabled children from across the country take part in track and field events - The Duchess of Kent presents certificates to the victors. After a trip to HMS Victory, the children picnic on the beach at Portsmouth. The annual school treat sees the children aboard yachts in Chichester harbour - on a different occasion they cruise up the River Thames. Shots of the children competing in the Spastics Games at Stoke Mandeville and Nottingham are segued with a display by a Royal Navy Sea King (?) helicopter. The film ends with very dark (indistinguishable) images of a children's Christmas party.

Contextual information

The Patcham House Special School films held at Screen Archive South East were principally filmed to show to parents and Friends of the school, recording the out-of-school activities enjoyed by the pupils. The collection, which also includes [Patcham House Special School: International Spastics Games in Southern France] (1970) and [Patcham House Special School: Holiday to Scilly] (1981), contains images of summer term class day outings, fetes, school sports days and annual Spastics Games. They were filmed by the school's then headmaster, Norman Clark.

The Spastics Games evolved during the 1960s and 1970s when there were significant changes in social and governmental attitudes towards the education of disabled children. The 1944 Education Act, which had established a free secondary education system based on academic results at the age of eleven, did little to encourage integration. Indeed, it proved to cement the segregation between mainstream and 'special' schooling, with each having distinct curriculums. It was not until the 1970 Education (Handicapped Children) Act that all children in England and Wales were given the right to education - it also resulted in the transfer of responsibility for the education of disabled children from Health Authorities to the Local Education Authorities. It was also during this period that sports activities were integrated into the curriculum for special schools and colleges - the ideology concerning the importance of physical activities had been circulating since the formation of The Spastics Society in 1952. Thus the children at Patcham House Special School during the 1970s, whose disabilities included cerebral palsy, spine bifida, muscular dystrophy, heart problems and cystic fibrosis were amongst the first to benefit from these changes in the education field.

Screen Archive South East also holds films which look at life at other contemporary schools - for example, [A Day in the Life of the School] (1970) is an amateur film of Burwood Park School, a secondary school in Surrey for deaf children whilst [Nevill School Sports Events] (1960 - 1971) records sporting events at a mainstream secondary school.

Screen Archive South East houses several other films which record the educational provision for disabled children in the post-Second World War era. Children and staff from Chailey Heritage enjoy a day trip to the beach in Worthing in A Day’s Outing (ca. 1949) whilst Special School. Around & About with the Children of Queensmill Rd School (1949; 1954) features an outing to Bognor Regis for the female pupils of a London school.

Related titles

Related resources


Patcham House

The website for Patcham House (formally Patcham House Special School).


The website for Scope (formally The Spastics Society) "...exists to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. Until then, we’ll be here."