Title ID 91Collection ID343
Title[Patcham House Special School: Sport activities etc.]
CollectionPatcham House Special School
ThemePublic Services
KeywordsChildren Disabled Persons Fetes Games Outings Parks Play Recreational Facilities Schools Sport Youth
LocalReading Eastbourne Patcham Worthing Stoke Madeville
RegionalBerkshire East Sussex Brighton and Hove West Sussex Buckinghamshire
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionPatcham House Special School
CameraNorman Clark
FormatColour Silent
Duration25min. 35sec.
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, parents organise a fete at the school and the children compete at the 'National Spastics Games'.


The film opens with shots of children competing at the 'National Spastics Games' at Reading University. Some of them are seen running around a track, whilst another girl walks quickly with a walking stick. The children are also seen taking part in the long jump, whilst others sit and watch.

On a class outing at Eastbourne, the children ride on a miniature train; one of the girls smiles and waves at the camera as the train passes. The group are seen next to the minibus, eating a picnic, following which some of them are filmed in canoes and pedalos on a boating lake. Elsewhere in Eastbourne at an adventure playground the children play on a mock ship, slide and go-carts, with some help provided by the adults.

At the school, a garden fete is seen on the school playing field. Parents (?) arrange stalls around the edge of the field and children take part in a goal-shooting competition. The Sea Scouts marching band are seen parading around the field, interspersed with shots of competitions, including fancy hats, which the children are wearing.

The schoolchildren are seen on another class outing, this time to Brooklands Park, Worthing. They sail in boats on the boating lake, play generally and kick a ball around on a field.

Back at the school, the children are seen taking part in the school sports day, watched by their parents who sit around the edge of the field. The children compete in various events and races.

At Stoke Madeville, the school attends another 'National Spastics Games' where they are seen competing in athletics events.

Returning to the school, the film ends with shots of a small boy receiving physiotherapy; he is helped to walk using a walking frame.

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.