Title ID 97Collection ID343
Title[Patcham House Special School: Party time etc.]
Date[ca. 1981]
CollectionPatcham House Special School
ThemePublic Services
KeywordsAnimals Boats Celebrations Children Disabled Persons Harbours Law Enforcement Nature Reserves Outings Schools Sport Youth
LocalBrighton Arundel Chichester
RegionalBrighton and Hove West Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionPatcham House Special School
CameraNorman Clark
FormatColour Silent
Duration10min. 39sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A compilation of amateur films made by the headmaster of Patcham House Special School. The film contains scenes of the children enjoying parties and class outings in the local area, a visit by mounted police to the school and an East Sussex Special Schools Sports Day at Withdean Stadium, Brighton.


The film opens with shots of a children at a party in Brighton Square, Brighton. They are seen being spoken to by the town crier; they listen whilst continuing to eat at their tables. After a short while the film cuts to scenes of a class outing to Arundel Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre where the children are seen wandering around and looking at the ducks and other birds. The film cuts to scenes on a coach, the children arrive at Chichester Harbour and pose for the camera, waving. Some of the children set sail on a yacht, assisted by members of the Brighton Motor Yacht Club. The children wave to the camera from another boat alongside. Back at the school, the children crowd around two mounted policeman in the playground; the children feed the horses some apple. The film cuts to Withdean Stadium where the children are taking part in the 'East Sussex Special School Sports Day'. A child throws a ball repeatedly, whilst the other children throw javelins and take part in races. The film ends with more scenes from the school, this time a fancy dress competition indoors (the shots are rather dark as a result).

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.