Title ID 89Collection ID343
Title[Patcham House Special School: Holiday to Scilly]
CollectionPatcham House Special School
ThemePublic Services
KeywordsBeaches Boats Children Disabled Persons Ferries Games Harbours Holidays Parks Youth
LocalSt. Mary's
RegionalIsles of Scilly
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionPatcham House Special School
CameraNorman Clark
FormatColour Silent
Duration14min. 22sec.
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 camping holiday on the Isles of Scilly. The film includes aerial shots of the crossing from the mainland and scenes of the children enjoying time in the countryside and on the beach.


The film opens with shots of the children aboard the ferry 'Scilloman' for the crossing to the Isles of Scilly. The ferry is filmed leaving the harbour. Aerial shots follow of Cornish countryside and coast and the ferry making the crossing. The children are seen disembarking the ferry along a gangway, following this the film cuts to the campsite where a meal of sausages is being prepared in a large greenhouse. Out in the countryside the group is seen on a walk, some of the children are being pushed in their wheelchairs; the boys play football on a beach accompanied by shots of rugged rocks on the beach. The group are seen playing a game of cricket, the children are helped by the adults following which the group is seen walking on a harbourside. A small group of the children are seen on a boat out in the harbour, they wave at the camera as the boat returns to the shore. They are helped out of the boat, following which there are shots of the group playing in the sand on a beach and feeding birds. Shots of flowers and shrubs at an ornamental garden; the children feed some peacocks. The film ends with shots of the children at a visitor attraction and making the return journey on the ferry.

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.