Title ID 95Collection ID343
Title[Patcham House Special School: Small Aircraft Flight etc.]
Date1980 - 1981
CollectionPatcham House Special School
ThemePublic Services
KeywordsAircraft Beaches Celebrations Children Disabled Persons Entertainment Games Motor Vehicles Outings Schools Sport Youth
LocalShoreham-by-Sea Patcham Reading Aylesbury Brighton
RegionalWest Sussex Brighton and Hove Berkshire Buckinghamshire
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionPatcham House Special School
CameraNorman Clark
FormatColour Silent
Duration20min. 3sec.
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. Children and staff enjoy outings and parties in the local area and take part in the regional and national 'Spastics Games'. The school also receives a visit from Forfars bakery who exhibit a special cake at the school.


The film opens with shots of a small boy approaching a light aircraft at Shoreham Airport. The plane is then seen moving off. A large group of the children and teachers/ parents (?) pose in front of the camera on the edge of the airfield. There are brief scenes of three boys posing in school uniform outside the school and some llamas in an enclosure before the film cuts to scenes of the children on a class outing at Shoreham beach. Accompanied by adults, the some of the children sit on a bench, whilst others run around on the shingle beach; the children on the bench wave at a plane as it passes overhead. Watched by some children, an adult writes "Patcham House School" in the sand.

Back at the school, the children stand lined up on the playground wearing decorated hats as part of a competition. They set off in a procession around the playground, some of them being assisted by adults.

At Reading University the children are seen taking part in the regional 'Spastics Games'; and at the 'National Spastics Games' at Stoke Mandeville Stadium at Aylesbury they are seen competing in races on a running track, whilst the other children sit and stand on the field watching.

At the school, the children take part in the school sports day on the school field; children are lined up ready to throw the javelin. Others throw balls, bean bags and compete in races.

The film cuts back to scenes from the 'National Spastics Games'; the children are again seen competing in races on the running track, this time the children are running in a relay race.

At the school there are shots of a highly decorated cake on a table in the playground and a vintage Forfars delivery van. A model carousel on top of the cake is seen spinning as children and adults look at it. The children wave their arms and cheer, as if posing for a photograph. A photographer (?) arranges two children, holding paper plates, either side of the cake.

The film ends with shots of the children enjoying a party at Brighton Square, Brighton. They sit around tables in the square wearing party hats and eating and drinking; the Mayor and macebearer (?) can be seen in the background. An entertainer performs for the children, assisted by a young boy.

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.