Title ID 88Collection ID343
Title[Patcham House Special School: Sports, Outings and Class Activities]
CollectionPatcham House Special School
ThemePublic Services
KeywordsBeaches Boats Children Disabled Persons Outings Play Recreational Facilities Schools Sport Youth
LocalWorthing Chichester Crystal Palace Reading Patcham Exceat [?] Eastbourne Stoke Mandeville
RegionalWest Sussex Greater London Berkshire Brighton and Hove East Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionPatcham House Special School
CameraNorman Clark
FormatColour Silent
Duration26min. 28sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A compilation of amateur films filmed by the headmaster of Patcham House Special School. Pupils and staff are seen on numerous class outings and competing at the school sports day and at the 'National Spastics Games'. The children have a range of physical disabilities.


The film opens with a group of schoolchildren playing on the beach at Worthing; some of the children are seen paddling in the sea whilst others build sandcastles.

The film cuts to scenes from an annual school yachting trip at Chichester Harbour. The children are briefly seen onboard a yacht.

At Crystal Palace, children are seen taking part in the 'International Spastics Games'. They are seen standing on a podium receiving medals, including one girl from Patcham House. The Great Britain team is seen posing for a photograph.

Another sports event, this time the 'National Spastics Games', is seen taking place at Reading University. Children with varying degrees of physical disability are seen competing in races and other events.

A class from the school visit Brooklands Park, Worthing, before which they are seen briefly on a beach. At the park there are shots of the children in boats on the boating lake; some of the children wave at the camera.

At the school, there are dark shots of the children in class doing art work and playing a card game, followed by a basketball match outside in the playground; a teacher referees.

Brief shot of the children sitting on a river bank at Exceat (?); canoeists can be seen in the background. On a class outing to Eastbourne, there are shots of the children playing on equipment in a playground; adults help the less mobile children.

At Stoke Mandeville, children from the school are seen taking part in the 'National Spastics Games'; children with different levels of of disability compete in various athletics events.

Shots of the children on a class outing to Worthing where they are seen playing on the beach and in the sea.

Back at the school, the children are seen taking part in the school sports day. The children line up to throw javelins, balls and skittles into a target area marked out on the grass.

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.