Title ID 90Collection ID343
Title[Patcham House Special School: Football; playground; Jubilee; Outings]
CollectionPatcham House Special School
ThemePublic Services
KeywordsAnimals Beaches Boats Children Disabled Persons Docks Games Motor Vehicles Outings Parks Play Rivers Ships Sport Youth Zoological Gardens
LocalPatcham Reading London Singleton Alfriston Worthing Stoke Mandeville
RegionalBrighton & Hove Berkshire Greater London West Sussex East Sussex Buckinghamshire
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionPatcham House Special School
CameraNorman Clark
FormatColour Silent
Duration22min. 58sec.
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, at play at the school and competing at the 'National Spastics Games'.


The film opens with shots of the children playing in the school playground; adults play an informal game of tennis with some of the pupils. Other children play on bikes and tricycles. Out-of-focus shots of boys (a football team?) lined up in a goal, they wave at the camera and a game of football ensues on the school field. Back in the school playground, children are seen at play and there are lengthy but out-of-focus shots of a fancy dress competition at a school fete.

At Reading University, children from the school are seen taking part in the 'National Spastics Games'. They throw skittles, javelins and balls competing against each other.

The film cuts to London where the school children and adults are seen on a boat on the River Thames. Shots of cranes and docks on the edge of the river. Close-up of a container ship's hull bearing the name "Hamburg Express". The children stand next to handrail of the boat looking out over the side. At a park they are seen walking around a small concrete maze.

On another outing the children visit the Weald and Downland Museum at Singleton. This section begins with the children walking through a wood and siting outside a timer-framed house, eating a picnic. There are general shots of the museum, buildings and children exploring the open-air site.

The next section feature the children on another outing to Drusillas at Alfriston. The children are seen watching the animals and birds in their enclosures and playing in the playground on the carousel and old vehicles.

The final school outing featured in the film is at Brooklands Park, Worthing. The children play on the beach and paddle in the sea. They take a ride on the miniature railway and eat ice creams together.

The film ends with scenes from the 'National Spastics Games' at Stoke Mandeville where the children are seen taking part in races on a running track, some of whom are presented with prizes. A happy looking group of children and adults pose for the camera holding up a very small trophy.

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.