The Government has ordered an urgent investigation into a crumbling Midland school after pupils made a DVD to highlight it as a "health and safety hazard".

Youngsters alerted Ministers to falling masonry, disintegrating drains and a booming rat population at Joseph Leckie Community Technology College in Walsall.

They say the school is so short of space that pupils have been forced to eat their lunch in the toilet and the situation so dire that youngsters have spent English lessons writing to the Education Secretary pleading for a new school.

Schools Minister Lord Adonis vowed to launch an inquiry after being handed a letter and the DVD.

He said the more he heard about Joseph Leckie, the "more concerned" he was about it.

"The students are concerned and they are quite right to raise the issue with me," said Lord Adonis.

"I will be in contact with the local education authority to see what they have to say about the situation."

The investigation will come as an embarrassment to service firm Serco, which took over control of schools in Walsall in 2003 following a series of damning Ofsted reports.

Pupils claim it is only a matter of time before someone is killed by the school's crumbling infrastructure.

Joseph Leckie pupil Mark Malik, aged 14, said: "The school is falling down.

"The toilets fail. The drainage has started to disintegrate. The school is a health and safety hazard.

"Last Easter a 4x2ft concrete sill fell by the main entrance. If someone had been walking there they would have been killed.

"On my second day I nearly fell through a hole in a classroom and it is still there. We have rats in the classroom and rats in the canteen."

The 66-year-old building was designed to cater for 650 pupils but has more than double that, forcing a third to be taught in temporary classrooms with poor heating.

Lizi Chambers said: "There are about 1,500 pupils in it but the gates are locked at lunchtime and the canteen can only cater for 300. Parents report students are eating their lunch sitting in the corridor and even in the toilet."

Headteacher Keith Whittlestone said millions of pounds needed to be spent to bring it up to an acceptable standard. "We have twisted and buckled window frames, crumbling stairwells and guttering that is falling.

"Once, a cast iron drainpipe fell and hit a boy on the head. If it had fallen from the first floor I have no doubt it would have done a lot more damage to the young man."

Despite Ofsted raising concern over rats on the site five years ago, the problem has still not been addressed, added Mr Whittleston.

Labour has pledged to repair or rebuild every school in the country by 2020 under its £2 billion Building Schools for the Future initiative.

But Joseph Leckie, which this year saw the percentage of pupils hitting the Government benchmark for GCSEs slump to 33 per cent, has been told it is unlikely get any cash for major repairs until 2011.

Councillor Eddie Hughes (Con Streetly), Walsall's Cabinet member for children's services, urged Ministers to find the cash to address the "very poor physical conditions" at Joseph Leckie.