Title ID 96Collection ID343
Title[Patcham House Special School: holiday to Scilly]
CollectionPatcham House Special School
ThemePublic Services
KeywordsBeaches Boats Camping Carnivals Children Disabled Persons Ferries Harbours Holidays Swimming Youth
LocalSt. Mary's
RegionalIsles of Scilly
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionPatcham House Special School
CameraNorman Clark
FormatColour Silent
Duration17min. 51sec.
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 scenes of the children playing on the beach, relaxing at the campsite and taking a boat ride in a harbour.


Opening title: "A S(c)illy Saga"; the children are filmed on the ferry crossing to the Isles of Scilly; some of the children are tired from the journey and rest their heads on each others shoulders. Having arrived at the campsite, the children are seen helping the adults to erect the tents. On the beach some of the children and adults are seen playing football, whilst the others play in the sand. Some of the children are seen splashing around in the sea; St. Mary's lifeboat is filmed being launched in the distance. Back at the campsite the children are briefly seen emerging from their tent before the film cuts back to scenes from the beach where the boys continue their game of football; the younger ones play in the sand. A group of children with adults are seen walking along a sea wall; they are helped onto a boat in the harbour. At the campsite the group eat a meal and kick a ball around, some of the boys fix tent pegs in the ground using a wooden mallet. On the beach the children are seen in the sea and there are views of the harbour from atop of a cliff at St. Mary's. Close-up shots of the children pulling amusing faces and laughing at the camera; a group pose for the camera outside one of the tents; they wave enthusiastically. Back at the harbour there are shots of decorated boats in the harbour, as part of a carnival procession. People on board the boats take part in a water fight, throwing buckets of water at each other. The tents at the campsite are taken down and packed away; the children are hoisted onto the ferry from the harbourside; a group standing on the harbourside wave as the ferry sails off.

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.