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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 September 2005, 14:00 GMT 15:00 UK
Pupils film school's poor state
Joseph Leckie school toilets
Students complained of falling masonry and a rat infestation
Students at a West Midlands school have secured a meeting with a minister after compiling a DVD showing the poor state of their campus.

The film outlines concerns about health and safety problems shared by pupils at Joseph Leckie Community Technology College in Walsall.

They complain of falling masonry, poor drainage, blocked toilets, failed heating and an infestation of rats.

Education Minister Jacqui Smith has agreed to visit the site next month.

The DVD was presented to Schools Minister Lord Adonis on a recent visit to the school.

It's fairly unusual for students to be taking the stance they have
Head teacher Keith Whittlestone

He was also told that a main road running near the main building means it is too noisy to open classroom windows.

Head teacher Keith Whittlestone said: "Fair play to (the students) for taking on a level of responsibility.

"You expect head teachers, governors and local education authority officials to be making this kind of statement.

"It's fairly unusual for students to be taking the stance they have."

Ms Smith has agreed to join officials from Education Walsall, which took over control of schools in Walsall in 2003, for a meeting with students in October.

Privately run

Education Walsall is run by private firm Serco.

Money has been promised for the town's schools under the government's 2bn Building Schools for the Future Programme, but it will not be made available until 2011.

Mr Whittlestone said he was optimistic the meeting could lead to the money being released early, although he believes the school could be beyond repair.

"It would be much more cost-effective to start again to bring it up to an acceptable standard," he said.

Conservative councillor Eddie Hughes, cabinet member for children's services on Walsall Council, said: "The council is committed to making our schools great, but we need more resources and help from the government.

"We cannot tackle the problems at Joseph Leckie alone."

Watch highlights from the pupils' DVD

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