"Dickensian" is the word that springs to mind when one hears pupils and teachers describe the conditions at Walsall's Joseph Leckie Community Technology College.
Rats, falling masonry, broken windows, crumbling sewers and poorly heated temporary classrooms are not the stuff of a modern education system.
To be fair to the Government, it cannot be expected to tackle years of neglect at every school overnight.
Labour's £2 billion Building Schools for the Future drive is aimed at addressing this issue, promising to rebuild or repair every school by 2020.
But the problems at Joseph Leckie have not just arisen. Pupils, teachers and the education authority have been complaining for years.
In June 2004, a pupil from the school embarrassed then Schools Minister Stephen Twigg during a prize-giving ceremony in the House of Lords by confronting him about the state of the site.
This time it was the turn of new Schools Minister Lord Adonis, accompanied by former Schools Standards Minister David Miliband, to feel their anger.
The unsuspecting Minister was victim of a pre-planned guerilla strike by pupils, backed by a lobbying group called Youth Opinions Unite.
But that does not deny the very real concerns raised.
Pupils at Joseph Leckie feel they cannot wait for the Government's time frame for addressing its crumbling infrastructure.
There will be questions asked as to how is it the Government can, in a short space of time, devote £3 billion of public money to a war in Iraq while failing to provide pupils with a safe school?
Headteacher Keither Keith Whittlestone said: "I have been here since 1996 and it wasn't in a good condition then. We spend as much money as we can but it is a bit like putting your finger in a hole in a dam and stopping the water coming through."
Pupils at Joseph Leckie report rat traps in classrooms, corridors and even the canteen.
Mr Whittlestone confirmed the school had a problem with vermin. "There is a brook that runs through the centre of the school," he said. "It is a perfect habitat for rats. When the school is in session you can very often look out the window to see rats running along the service roads."
Noise pollution is also a problem at the school.
"The main teaching block that was opened in 1939 runs parallel to a main road which has become over the years more and more popular.
"The traffic is very heavy and if you have the windows open in the summer students can't hear the teacher and vice-versa. That makes it difficult for students and teachers to do their best."
The school's 36 temporary classrooms also suffer noise pollution, said Mr Whittlestone and its playing field, reached by crossing a busy road, is only usable a few months a year because of draining problems.
Teachers have asked help from Labour MP for Walsall South Bruce George and Jacqui Smith, MP for Redditch who is also a Minister of State for Schools, but to no avail.
"I had a letter from Jacqui Smith signed by Lord Adonis which said there may be some money coming in 2008, but more realistically it is likely to be 2011."
In the meantime it appears the school has no choice but to struggle on in sub-standard conditions that do not befit a modern education system.